The author of the popular ad-blocking program for Windows AdMuncher announced some time ago that he would turn the commercial program into a free one in the near future.
That day has come and as of today, AdMucher is available as a free download to everyone.
Unlike many ad-blockers, it is not running in a browser in form of an extension or add-on but as a standalone program on the system. The benefit here is that it will block advertisement and other unwanted contents independent of the browser that you are using. In fact, it is not limited to browsers as it can block ads in other programs as well because of that.
It does so for a list of default filter targets that include popular web browsers but also other programs such as Winamp or Feed Demon.
The downside here is that it has to run in the background whenever you want to make use of it.
After you have downloaded AdMuncher from the developer website and installed it you will notice that it works out of the box just fine.
Open any browser and you will notice that ads displayed on websites won't be displayed anymore after the installation. While the default rule it ships with has not a 100% hit rate, it is catching a lot of ads by default.
You can check the default filter list in the program at any time. It lists more than 16,800 filters by default with options to add filters of your own or disable the default filter list completely.
New filters are added in the program window as well. This too is different from ad-blocking extensions which usually allow you to block objects that you encounter in the web browser right away which is more convenient.
A filter consists of a keyword, url or text, and a filter category that you can select. Available are filters to block urls or popups on select addresses, remove scripts or images, or add scripts or CSS code to pages.
The program keeps track of every connection and displays information about it in the log. There you find all urls listed that match filters and options that the program provides you with but also options to display other information which can be useful in creating new filters in the application.
AdMuncher ships with a large set of options that influence connections and contents on websites as well. Among the many options that you find there are preferences to block music and sound, background images, or the auto-reloading of sites triggered by the site itself.
The program leaves small text-only adverts alone by default which you can modify there as well to block these types of ads as well.
Another interesting option that you find there is to select programs that you want it to work in. This can be useful if you notice issues in a program as you can remove it from the list of supported programs or add a program to it that is not supported by default.
AdMuncher can also block other unwanted programs such as adware or spyware from running on the system.
You can download the latest version of the program from the developer website. It is compatible with all supported versions of Windows.
AdMuncher is an ad-blocker that runs independent from any web browser which may make it interesting to users who want ads blocked in all programs and not just a web browser.
The same can be achieved by other means, for instance by adding hostnames to the hosts file to block them on the system but that is not nearly as convenient and you don't get customization options with this all or nothing approach.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.