Do Not Disturb for Chrome blocks annoying things on the web

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 16, 2014
Updated • Aug 22, 2018
Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

The web can be annoying at times. Sometimes on purpose, at other times not on purpose but with the same end result.

Think about popups for instance, screen overlays that ask you to subscribe to a newsletter, or auto-playing videos or media files on websites.

Not all annoyances are clearly visible on the other hand. Most users may not even realize that they are being tracked, and that data that they enter on websites and their activities are being used to profile them.

Update: Do Not Disturb is no longer available. A comparable extension is not available at this point in time. You could install uMatrix which blocks script execution by default,

Do Not Disturb

The Google Chrome extension Do Not Disturb looks on first glance much like the popular Disconnect extension.

Disconnects concentrates on third-party scripts that run on many websites to trigger irritating features such as ads or media. Do Not Disturb on the other hand does not do that.

While Disconnect works fine in blocking third-party scripts, it does not do anything against annoyances running on the server of the site you are on.

do not disturb chrome

It does not catch popups, screen overlays and other annoyances that originate from the website itself.

Do Not Disturb blocks a variety of items on the active page and displays the overall count of blocked items in its icon in the Chrome toolbar.

So what is the extension taking care of?

  1. Potential Content Overlay.
  2. Potential URL Hijack.
  3. Content Widget.
  4. Data Miner / Consumer Survey.
  5. General Annoyance.
  6. Prestitial Page Attempt.
  7. Pop Up / Pop Under

While some do not require explanation, others do. Unfortunately though, there is no help file or explanation what each item covers.

It is easy enough to determine for pop up and pop under items, but there is no information about general annoyance for instance and what is included here, or what prestitial page attempts are (the latter is an ad unit that is displayed before the actual site that you are about to visit).

Content Widgets are related posts or "from the web" posts that are displayed on websites. They are powered by companies such as Outbrain or TAboola, and often not related to the web page you are on.

So how well does this blocking work?

It worked quite well during tests but is not a catch-all solution. It will block quite a few items on many web pages, but you may still be exposed to elements that it did not block.

I have not tried it in conjunction with Disconnect or another third-party script blocker, but it is likely that you can improve the blocking significantly if you run both extensions at the same time in Chrome.

A whitelist is available in the options that you can use to put sites on the ignore list. Websites that are on it are not affected by the extension at all.

The only other options you have here are to disable the extension for the time being and to disable the blocking of content widgets on websites.

Closing Words

Do Not Disturb is an interesting extension for Google Chrome that can help you block annoying items that you encounter on the web.  It won't protect you from all annoyances but it does remove quite a few of them.

software image
Author Rating
5 based on 1 votes
Software Name
Do Not Disturb
Software Category
Landing Page

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  1. Anonymous said on February 8, 2024 at 9:13 am

    hey Martin/Tom,
    please upgrade the comment system to something more suitable to 2024-5, that is more well protected against annon hijacking the thread to hate talk.
    we are loosing a lot of good products because you website is as updated as 1991. you have the responsibility. if you can not manage it yourself, please use reddit to manage the talk and use their embedded api in your website, the community will handle it itself, and you can embed the sub-reddit in your website as an iframe or via their API. it is both more secure and require less work from you guys to maintain. a lot of commets are faking names of actual developers in order to escalate the hate talk, presenting a fake response as if the actual developer said it, those often screen-snapped and presented in company meeting as facts.
    and that’s not good journalism.

  2. Anonymous said on November 1, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Thank you, everyone–the original article was helpful, as was the subsequent discussion.

  3. Matthew said on January 31, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Apparently Google got paid off…they are no longer supporting this extension on their store. Something about it violates Chrome’s Web store policy. (*coughBULLSHITcough*) I use Ad Blocker Pro and it seems to help, but lately (coincedently) with the latest update from Chrome, I’m getting more ‘Aww Snap’ windows like when chrome first started. Also getting more pop-ups and pop-unders (ones that won’t let you close out without taking creative measures, and keep trying to force install software onto your machine) telling me my Adobe is out of date, or Chrome needs updated (all my software auto updates so I know its not out of date), and this is not porn sites I am visiting, these are news sites, links embedded in legitimate sites like ebay or amazon, etc…I can’t even write a post on Facebook without getting an ‘Aww Snap’ window.

  4. Dwight Stegall said on April 17, 2014 at 10:00 am

    I’ve forgotten whether it was PCWorld or PCMag that used to have a very annoying newsletter sign up popup that wouldn’t go away unless you signed up for their newsletter. It covered the content so you couldn’t read it.

    Things like this are very easy to get around. I use the Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox. I disabled all JavaScript and reloaded the page so I could read the content. Then re-enabled JavaScript when I was done. Another way would be to use a Stylish script to hide it with display:none !important.

    1. Zeus said on April 21, 2014 at 9:12 pm

      Yeah, it’s a shame when websites are too obnoxious like that. I remember there was a very fine horror movie review site, respected in the community. Their writing was quite high quality, and when I came across their reviews, I enjoyed reading them. The problem is, every time I looked at their homepage for updates, a HUGE blue banner would slowly drop from the top of the screen, nagging me to follow them on Facebook. I couldn’t find a way to stop it (short of disabling JavaScript, which broke the rest of their site), so I just shrugged and moved on to greener — less blue banner — pastures.

      If they had just dedicated a static portion of their site to plugging Facebook, I never would have minded. But the fact that, for one glorious second, everything was fine, and then the Facebook nagware slowly lowered itself over the page’s face. I couldn’t stand it. :D

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on April 17, 2014 at 11:32 am

      While annoying, displaying such a prompt to users is very effective as the sign up rate is much higher than from traditional newsletter sign up options (e.g. sidebar form).

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