Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

IE gets a popup blocker… finally

You may or may not know that the next release of IE will block popups. What’s more is that users won’t have to wait until Longhorn comes out to be able to use it – it’ll be included as part of next year’s Windows XP Service Pack 2 update along with a much needed beefup of ActiveX security.
You probably know by now that IE isn’t my favourite browser but I’m actually glad Microsoft has done this, if only to show a big middle finger towards sites which use popups. According to the aforementioned CNet article, 85% of web users don’t have any software blocking popups (presumably that includes people using alternative browsers that include popup blockers already as standard). It is a pretty big figure, but think of it this way – that will include people not savvy enough to install a popup blocker, those that don’t know that such software is available, and those that cannot install them because they use a machine at work or college where installing software may have been disabled. And that must account for a lot of people.
Having Microsoft integrate popup blocking into the most widely used browser on the internet is therefore a Very Good Thing™. Of course, the downside is that there is one less reason to dump IE altogether and switch to an alternative browser, but at its current rate SP2 won’t be ready for at least another 6 months, during which time it’s likely that Mozilla 1.6 and Firebird 0.8 (at the very least) will have both been released, and no doubt Opera Software will churn something new out. Why wait 6 months for a feature that almost every web browser offers already? Go on, change your browser, you know you want to… >:-)


  1. I wish FeedReader would start using Mozilla’s or Opera’s rendering engine. I register as an IE 6 user on your radar right now probably, although you would never see me use that for normal browsing.

  2. Actually, as far as I know you appear just as ‘FeedReader 0.whatever’. I’ve not checked but I think that’s how it has appeared in my logs.
    I think the problem is that IE is so much easier to insert as an object in a program – just about every Windows machine has it and most development environments support it. However, if someone creates a widget that can interact with the Gecko Runtime Environment (which can be installed separately of Mozilla) then I’m sure at least some people would use it.

  3. Show up as FeedReader ?? Interesting. Thanks. I don’t have my own web server, so I’ve never actually tested this. All I know is that the engine is IE’s.
    Thanks for the info!