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4 steps … to Safer Browsing with Internet Explorer

1. Blocking Pop-up Ads

The Pop-up Blocker, new to Internet Explorer in Windows XP SP2, can prevent most unwanted pop-up (or pop-under) windows from appearing. The Pop-up Blocker is smart enough to not block pop-up windows that you open deliberately by clicking a link — for example, if you were on a travel reservation site and you clicked a link to open a pop-up window containing your confirmation details, this pop-up window would not be blocked because you opened it intentionally.

When a pop-up ad is blocked, you'll see a notification in the Information Bar, which is also new to Internet Explorer. When you click the Information Bar, you'll have access to the pop-up blocker settings that let you view the pop-up or configure other options.

The Information Bar in Internet Explorer lets you know when it has blocked a pop-up

Click the Information Bar to open pop-ups and change Pop-up Blocker settings

Tip: Read Block Pop-up Windows with Internet Explorer to learn more about what you can do with it — for example, you can adjust the settings to turn off the sound when Internet Explorer blocks a pop-up. You can get more technical background about the Pop-up Blocker on the TechNet site.

2. Help to Protect Your PC from Potentially Harmful Downloads

If a site attempts to download a program to your computer without your authorization, Internet Explorer in Windows XP SP2 uses the Information Bar to let you know. The Information Bar shows up to notify you, and then it disappears when you move on to another Web page.

The Information Bar appears when a Web site tries to download a file that you did not request

To find out what actions you can take, simply click the Information Bar to bring up a context-sensitive menu (as shown in the following image). The menu contains a link to Help where you can find more information about the notification.

Click the Information Bar to see what actions you can take

Tip: To learn more about the Information Bar, read Use the Internet Explorer Information Bar. You can also get more technical background about the Information Bar on the TechNet site.

3. Help to Protect Your PC when Saving Potentially Damaging Files

A file you download from the Web — for example, a game, a picture, or even a program — can be just what you bargained for, or it can be a vehicle for more malevolent intent. For this reason, Internet Explorer has stepped up its scrutiny of any file you begin to download, open, or save from the Web. Internet Explorer checks to see whether the file is the type of file it says it is and provides strong warnings if there are irregularities in how the file describes itself or if there seems to be a potential for harm based on the particular type of file (as shown in the following image). Internet Explorer also offers more concise information to help you understand the implications of opening or saving a file.

Example of an Internet Explorer security warning:

As in previous versions of Internet Explorer, you can see what type of file you are trying to download. In Windows XP SP2, you will also see the size of the file along with what type of file it is.

As in previous versions of Internet Explorer, you can see the source of the download in other words, where the software comes from.

Internet Explorer also offers guidance about the type of file you are downloading. How can I decide what software to run? Link to make a more informed decision about what to do.

4. Block Downloads from Specific Publishers

Some publishers will go to great lengths to have users install their programs. You may have experienced a situation in which you were repeatedly prompted to install a program that you didn't want or didn't trust. Perhaps you even installed the program just to get the prompts to go away.

Now, Internet Explorer helps you to avoid this situation. With a simple click of the mouse, you have the option of automatically preventing certain programs from being installed or run on your computer. This includes an option to block all software from a specific publisher.

Now you can tell Internet Explorer how to handle downloads from a specific publisher.

To block pop-ups even if they are launched when you click a link or button on a Web site:

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. On the Tools menu, point to Pop-up Blocker, and then click Pop-up Blocker Settings.
  3. Select the High setting in the box near the bottom of the dialog box.

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