How to block those ANNOYING banner ads, tracking cookies, and a lot of adware/malware/trojan downloaders from bogging down your computer.

Picture of How to block those ANNOYING banner ads, tracking cookies, and a lot of adware/malware/trojan downloaders from bogging down your computer.
(first instructable - let me know what you think... but be nice!)

If you are like me, while browsing the net, you've come across thousands of banner ads. Generally, I am the type of person, that if I want to buy something, I'll google it, find it, and purchase it. I rarely if ever actually pay attention to those annoying bandwidth wasting banners that appear on almost every site.

I don't care that I'm the 1,000,000th visitor to a particular domain, especially since I was the 1,000,000th visitor to the same domain, just yesterday! I don't want to buy generic Viughra, and I don't need to enlarge my hoohah.

Come on, there has got to be an easy way to prevent this garbage from hitting my computer.

There is! And it is surprisingly simple to do - and it's free!
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Step 1: The HOSTS file.

Picture of The HOSTS file.
This is accomplished by using the HOSTS file. The HOSTS file contains the mappings of IP Addresses to host names. The file is loaded at Windows Startup, and Windows checks the HOSTS file BEFORE it looks to your ISP to find the site. Editing the HOSTS file prevents access to the outside sites by redirecting traffic back to your own computer.

* It can block applications (viruses, trojans, downloaders) from accessing specific sites, by redirecting any (would be) outgoing communication back to your own computer, preventing it from accessing whatever material it was trying to get.

* It also blocks the ad servers from tracking your movements - in many cases the banner ad would open a separate connection to your computer, which is active even after you leave the banner's page. This connection reports all the cookies you send, even to other unrelated sites. Yikes!

* It can speed the loading of pages, by skipping the animated GIF files, hit counters, annoying ads, and can block data miners from ever seeing your IP address, and tracking you on the net.

Quick disclaimer:
Please note: While this is a simple treatment, this is NOT the final cure. Think of this as another level of protection, but not an independent cure.
Also note: If you have a virus, this will NOT fix your problem. Get an antivirus program, and keep it updated. I use Kaspersky Antivirus, they have a 30 day trial before you buy. I'm not here to sell anything for anyone, but find a reputable antivirus company, and keep your virus definitions UPDATED. New malware comes out hourly... literally.

However, if you HAVE a virus, like a trojan, it will keep connecting to the trojan's site and downloading copies of itself (or other malware programs) to your computer, like the trojan downloader (or that pops up and falsely states that your computer is infected (it is, but it is the actual virus that is causing the pop-ups), and tries to get you to buy their software to remove it (it won't), you can use the HOSTS file to block the website that the trojan downloads from. Adding this address to the HOSTS file can help keep the trojan from reinstalling after your REAL antivirus removes it. The HOSTS file will cut it's communications, and the antivirus will kill it off. So even though this won't FIX the virus, it can stop its spread, and help avoid the next one!
locofocos6 years ago
Easy way = open command prompt and type

What does that do???
(removed by author or community request)
I weep for anyone who doesn't use ABP.
RedFlash ferrix5 years ago
Same here
Derin ferrix5 years ago
I made someone weep for me. I'm awesome.
yep thats the best so is firefox
jchar775 years ago
Ad Block is the best thing ever!!!!!! With only a few websites added, I have managed to reduce the ads coming down by HALF!!!!! (Now I'm looking for websites with ads to block!) :D
tinyelefant5 years ago
This is the reason I switched to Ubuntu.
101Admin6 years ago
I made a discovery! My computer has gone through 3 viruses 2 i made and accidently ran, but any way, when I go to hosts it is completly empty! Noda NOthing there! Should I re type this stuff?
gena6266 years ago
dude its pretty corny> the way you talk...
walllm6 years ago
Use Spybot S&D. It's immunize feature does the very same thing, with a comprehensive list of bad sites, without all the work. Spybot is free (supported by contributions).