Cleaning up my Web Browsing

I received a bunch of responses to this post about all the new ads.  I've played around with all of the solutions proposed over the last 2 days. Here are my comments. 

AdSubtract: This app seems to do the best at eliminating adds.  It removed all the animations, sound effects, and even banner and in-line ads as well.  For example: If you go to this page without AdSubtract you'll see a banner add at the top and an in-line advertisement in the text of the article. With ad-subtract its almost a pure text page!  Pretty cool. I'm on the free trial, but the cost would be 30 dollars.  They charge for upgrades over time and  I also get the feeling that my web browsing is slowed while it's filtering and it takes up a valuable 16mb of memory in the task manager.  If this survives days 3-7 of my 7 day trial I'll probably pay up. 

FireFox: This browser blocks pop-up adds and supports extensions that will allow you to select and block specific animations.  Most instances of IE on my machine take up around 20mb of memory, but each instance firefox seems to take up 40.  You also get bit by sites (like channel9) that are built (for better or worse) around IE 6 and have issues in this browser.  So I'll probably uninstall it. 

IE Viewing Options: There are options in IE to disable Animations, Sounds, Videos, etc.  Unfortunately these seem to only block embedded media that is rarely ever used commercially anymore.  But it does come in handy to uncheck this stuff if you should happen to stumble onto a site that decides you want to hear their MIDI intro. 

SlimBrowser: I'm not sure what is so slim about it.  On the first launch it launched two of it's own ads and by default has 5 rows of toolbars! It also surrounds itself with a pretty thick windowframe.  I was able to turn the toolbars off and remove the frame. I'll have to try this out some more because it seems the default setup is poor, but if you customize it you can get some pretty good banner/dhtml filtering going with only a 5mb increase over IE since it basically just wraps the version of IE you have on your machine already. 

It's a tight race between AdSubtract , SlimBrowser , and just living with the fact that web sites need to make money somehow.   


Comments (21)
  1. RohanD says:

    Try NoAds from It works great for me within IE.

  2. Joe Troll says:

    Typical Microsoft comment about anything that wasn’t "invented" (and I use that term very losely) in Redmond. Firefox/Mozilla are two of the best browsers there are. IE, well lets just say everyone whose computer’s I’ve cleaned spyware off of are now NOT using IE after I showed them how it is IE that was letting the spyware on there computer and not something they were doing wrong.

  3. jledgard says:

    Rohan: Does it go beyond pop-ups?

    Joe: Firefox has some cool features. I’ve been most interested in the tabbed browsing. But IMO slimbrowser has a better UI for it. There is also the page compatability issue. I’m not advocating writing incompatable web pages. But the truth is that they exist. The memory usage is a fact on my machine and it’s bigger than the alternatives.

    XPSP2 also defaults to not installing add-ins and gives users an add-in manager to easily see what has been added. You should try it out.

  4. Vasu says:

    Try Proxomitron. It runs as a proxy and you can customize it to filter anything you want. It is also free btw.

  5. Hmmm. Did nobody mention Avant Browser from It’s an IE6 wrapper that does tabbed browsing, popup blocking, and about anything else your little heart could desire.

  6. Ron says:

    My apologies, I should have warned about the (recent addition of) the one-time ad in SlimBrowser. :/ I’d also forgotten how many toolbars and default style it starts with. On the plus side, it remembers these choices between upgrades.

    Feel free to visit the on-line forum and give your feedback. It’s a one-person operation, but new versions come out frequently. The version history page should give a good feel for mix of bug fixes and new features.

  7. Mark Erikson says:

    Just wanted to make a couple comments about Firefox. Yeah, it does take up about ~40MB per instance, but 98% of the time you should only be running one instance anyway, thanks to tabbed browsing. Also, don’t forget that large parts of IE are loaded into memory at startup because they’re integrated into Windows, so if IE starts up faster and appears to take up less memory, that’s because part of the cost is hidden.

    Page compatibility is an issue, unfortunately, thanks to four years of web developers writing to the de-facto standard of IE 4-6 instead of W3C standards. For what it’s worth, Firefox is definitely better at standards-compliance.

    You also might be interested in checking out some of the plugins available for Firefox at , such as Adblock and Flashblock.

  8. adamw says:

    Not to sound like a Firefox zealot, but I currently have 3 windows and 9 tabs open for a grand total of 31meg. (BTW, IE’s "memory usage" is entirely a misnomer, because great chunks of the damn thing is hosted in Explorer whether you want it or not, rendering the displayed value entirely unrealistic).

    Also, if you code and use sites that only work in IE 6, what happens when IE 7 turns up? Coding (or even supporting) "web sites" that are actually "IE 6 Hosted Applications" is a road to disaster. I’d really hate to be on the IE7 team at the moment, knowing full well that I can’t "fix" any of the problems in IE because it will break loads of sites that read MSDN rather than W3C.

  9. jledgard says:

    Adamw/Mark: good point about the memory usage. Unfortunately there is not much i can do about the site compat. Other than know the ASP.NEt team is working on that for their next release. So, at least the tools end should be improving in the near term.

    Ron: No problem. It was just funny that it was my first customer experience with the Slimbrowswer application and it "popped up" something. 🙂

    Garret: Is avent browser the same as slim browser? I’d swear the screen shots look identical.

  10. Troll Cretin says:

    > Most instances of IE on my machine take up

    > around 20mb of memory

    That’s because Microsoft is abusing its illegal monopoly and bundling large chunks of web browser functionality in its core operating system.

  11. jledgard says:

    Not working on the OS/IE team I can’t comment about their architecture. But I did already concede that with a Tabbed browser world that, if additional tabs did not increase the memory usage then it shouldn’t matter since I should only have one browser window open.


  12. AsbjornM says:

    I use this on my smoothwall:

    So I can use the browser I wan’t, with no ads.. 🙂

  13. Josh, I just checked out Slim Browser: it is a different product, but has very similar features.

  14. Saurabh Jain says:

    Don’t forget, VS also acts as a tabbed browser:-).

  15. jledgard says:

    Don’t temp me to file that "The Vs Web Browser does not block popup ads" bug against you. 🙂

  16. AT says:

    iexplore.exe is simply a tiny application hosting Internet Browser ActiveX control.

    If you wish so – you can easily create tabbed interface for it like

    But I do not see any memory benefits creating tabbed interface instead of multiple separate windows. It’s pretty trivial to create multiple windows even inside one process, so IExplore does.

    There is no needs for Microsoft to add more tabs level – they already has tabbed TaskBar ;o)

    Do not be fooled by TaskMan memory consumption. It’s not a real values you must look on, bigger is not necessary worse. Only a few memory is critical for application to run, all other is user to run fast ;o)) Even more – I prefer application use memory I’ve already paid for to save my valuable life time.

    P.S> What I wish added in IE – SpellChecking inside forms I submit, as english is not my native.

  17. Saurabh Jain says:

    Well, I can always suggest it as a VS power toy, especially if you want to use managed code to implement:-).

    Or there is always RSS bandit….

  18. secretGeek says:

    my favourite is the very badly-named ‘CrazyBrowser’ — it’s not unlike AvantBrowser or SlimBrowser, but has some nice keyboard shortcuts built in.

    a good way to find out about new browsers (and aggregators) is by checking the agents in your traffic logs.


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