Whether you’re searching for information or browsing on your favorite shopping site, pop-ups are everywhere. There are many different types but one thing you may not know is that they’re not all malicious.

’ll go over the different pop-up types you may see, why they exist, and how you can use Microsoft Edge to protect yourself from those that are malicious.

Pop-up window types

You may have seen different types of pop-ups while browsing and not even realized it. Here are a few of the different types you may see:

  •  Push notifications: your browser may ask for you to allow/deny notifications

 pop-up notification opt-in

  •  Email or paid subscription forms: a site may create a pop-up window asking you to enter your email, so you can receive promotions, updates, or content from that site. You may also see ones asking for an account or a subscription. You may want this for certain sites, but if you don’t want regular emails from that site, close out that popup by selecting the X in the upper right-hand-corner.

pop-up newsletter

  • Live chat requests: sites may ask if you need help or want to speak with a representative. Some may be official, and others could be fake. It depends on the site you are browsing.

pop-up device help

  • Always use caution if you are on an unfamiliar site or one that has persistent pop-up windows.
  • Browser action notifications such as when you are downloading a file or bookmarking a page.

  • Scam/malware: Scam pop-up windows are frequently disguised as warnings to people instructing them to click to fix an issue, or to remove a virus. These are designed to coerce people into giving money to fake tech support or to damage the user’s computer. Many times, these pop-up windows have legitimate looking branding making it difficult to identify if it’s an official warning. Malware, also known as malicious software, is designed by its nature to gain access and steal personal information or damage your device in some way. Pop-up windows are a popular vehicle for these viruses because they are seen frequently on sites.

 In many cases, it can be hard to tell the difference between pop-ups that are there to help and those that can harm your device. To stay safe, use caution when browsing and know the tools you can use to protect yourself.

Why do pop-ups exist

 Pop-ups exist for a number of different reasons. Some are designed to protect the user. For example, where your browser prompts you to run or save a file being downloaded, allowing you to cancel it if it’s something you don’t trust.

Others can be for convenience, such as giving you the option to allow or block notifications. If you need to be updated as soon as something happens, this function can come in handy. Prompts for a subscription to a newsletter can drive customers to stay connected and keep up-to-date on all the latest news from that site.

Protect yourself with Microsoft Edge

The first way you can protect yourself is to make sure your pop-up blocker setting is enabled within Microsoft Edge.

Navigate to the menu icon at the top right of your browser, then select Settings.

Pop-up settings

 Next, select Privacy and Security, scroll to the bottom and turn on Block pop-ups.

This will make sure that Microsoft Edge actively blocks pop-ups from appearing. Please note however that some pop-ups may continue to appear, because of your security settings may be at the medium default level. The only way to stop all pop-ups is to select High: Block all pop-ups. Another tactic you can use to keep yourself safe is to clear tabs after closing Microsoft Edge. By default, it will restore the tabs you were looking at when your device is re-started. But stubborn pop-ups may continue to reappear. If you prefer to clear pop-ups when closing Microsoft Edge, follow these steps.

Follow the steps outlined above to get to Settings, then select Choose what to clear.

Pop-up clear browsing

 On the next page, select Tabs I’ve set aside or recently closed, and turn on Always clear this when I close the browser.

Clear browsing tabs

Turning these settings on will clear any tabs you have open once you close out Microsoft Edge.

Extensions

Consider using an extension to block pop-ups. Although they can't prevent all pop-ups, they can help block many of them. Some websites that rely on ad revenue may request you turn off the extension before you can visit the site.

To download extensions, navigate to the menu icon at the top right of your browser, then select Extensions.

Download extensions

The following page will have a list of extensions that you can Get. If you would like to browse through more, you can scroll to the bottom and select Explore more extensions.

Extensions list

Turn on Defender SmartScreen for Edge

You can use the App & browser control settings to configure your Windows Defender SmartScreen, which blocks and warns against unrecognized apps and files as well as malicious sites.

This option takes multiple steps: Please watch this video to learn how to turn this feature on.

Verify that you’re on a secure website

When browsing, Microsoft Edge will confirm that a website is secure by displaying a lock icon next to the address bar. To see info on the website and the encryption, select the lock icon.

Pop-up website security

 This will allow you to see information about the website and will tell you if the connection is encrypted. You can click to view the certificate or learn more about site trust. If a site is not secure, you will see the following icon. When clicked, it will show information about the site.

Pop-up website not secure

Pop-ups can be a scary thing, but not all are bad.

 In instances where a malicious pop-up does appear, you can make use of the previous tactics to better protect yourself. Stay safe out there and happy browsing!