AntiAdware blocks download wrappers and adware on popular websites

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 30, 2015

Depending on where you download your software from, you may get nasty surprises in form of adware with it.

This is done to increase revenue for the site's parent company at the expense of users visiting it.

Some sites give you options to opt-out of using the site's custom installer while others don't.

What makes things even more problematic is that offers come in all forms and shapes. There is no general procedure to follow to avoid installing adware as installers may require that you uncheck boxes, click on cancel or none, click on continue instead or perform other operations that are often not obvious and hidden to increase installs.

A whole industry has been created that is creating tools to remove adware from user systems or block it outright so that it never lands on computers in first place.

AntiAdware is a so-called userscript that protects you from installing adware from dozens of popular sites that are known to throw adware installers or offers at you. A list of supported sites has been posted on GitHub.

The list of supported sites includes cnet, filehippo, softonic, sourceforge, sendspace, afterdawn, several Google domains or Adobe's Reader and Flash Player download pages.

How it works depends largely on the site in question. Checkbox offers are removed on most sites for instance so that offers don't get downloaded with the installer when you hit the install or download button.

This is for instance the case on Adobe's website which displays an offer to install McAfee security software by default when you click the install button to download and install Flash Player or Adobe Reader.

On most download sites, it skips download wrappers automatically so that the software itself is download directly to the computer.

While it is doing a great job at that, it is important to pay attention to the process to make sure it works on the site you are on.

In addition, it is important to note that the software itself may still include adware offers as the script does not take care of those.

Firefox users need to download and install the Greasemonkey extension for the browser or the latest nightly version of Scriptish before they can install AntiAdware.

Google Chrome users are encouraged to download and install Tampermonkey first before they install the script in the browser.

Closing Words

AntiAdware is a useful script as it protects you from adware offers and download wrappers on dozens of sites. While it is certainly possible to bypass all these offers manually instead, it may not be a bad idea to add another level of protection to the process.

Less tech-savvy users may benefit from this the most. If friends or family download from these sites regularly (and install adware on their systems because of this that you may have to clean), then you may want to consider installing the script on their systems along with other helper tools like Unchecky to limit exposure to these threats.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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