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Here is how to block ads in IE 11 for Windows 8.1

No one likes ads, even if they are what powers our web economy. The debate over ad blockers is always a tough one, even more so since it even affects our site too. Without the revenue, we do not get money, which means we cannot pay our writers, which means we do not have employees. Still, there are selective uses of ad blocking that is useful, and we will show you how to do that in IE11 for Windows 8.1.

Internet Explorer 11 cannot do traditional plugins like Chrome or Firefox, which is a big gripe for many who would like to use it as their main browser. As a tradeoff, though, IE11 has fewer security issues, and it is gentler on your battery, which is important for tablets, laptops, and the Surface. However, there is a way to block ads within IE11 even without plugins, and it does not involve any hacks or modifications. Yes, Microsoft has given you the tools directly.

Disable ads in Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8.1

  • Open IE11 in Modern or Desktop mode
  • Bring up the Charms bar (swipe from the right)
  • Tap 'Settings'
  • Select 'Privacy'
  • Tap 'Add Tracking Protection Lists'

Following the above steps launches Microsoft's IE gallery, an online repository for their browser add-ons. 'Tracking Protection Lists' is their fun euphemism for ad blocking.

As of August 2014, you can add seven different lists to IE11. You can add one or all; the choice is up to you. One of the more interesting ones is 'Stop Google Tracking,' which gets around Google's circumventing of IE's privacy preferences. Huzzah. EasyList Standard is the same list that powers the familiar Adblock Plus plugin, giving the same ability to IE11 users as Chrome and Firefox.

If you feel bad about blocking a site's only source of revenue, in the address bar you can see a 'buster' symbol letting you know that some content is blocked (see image below). Tapping this symbol brings up a window explaining what is happening, and it gives you the ability to unblock that content, making the world right again. Either way, the choice is yours. Once you have selected your lists, the browser automatically blocks that content going forward. That is all there is to it.

We will leave the choice up to you for which content on which sites to block. Watch the above tutorial video to see how to do this yourself.

Did you know about the built-in ad blocking in IE11 and is it something that you use? Let us know in comments and feel free to share any other browsing tips you have too!

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Reader comments

Here is how to block ads in IE 11 for Windows 8.1

162 Comments

I hope you're (unsuccessfully) trying to be funny. Would your boss tell me how much you make if I simply ask him?

I guess I didn't catch that detail lol. I just noticed the image at the bottom and thought it was desktop IE only. Mah bad......

Yup, especially since AdBlock Plus block all adds, just like on other browsers.

Tracking lists are nice for RT, where you can't install anything on the desktop, but they are still inferior to ABP. They don't block YouTube's video ads for example.

AFAIK, no, not yet. Perhaps as IE11 comes closer together on each, this will transfer over. For now, best to use the "reading mode" to hide ads.

I'm also hoping to see compatability mode come to mobile IE--or at least be able to be controlled by and synced with the desktop/tablet versions of IE11. Some of the sites that I use for work only support up to IE8, and it would be nice to be able to access them from mobile if I'm out of the office.

And it should be noted that on the desktop version you can install adblock which also blocks YouTube ads.
But yes, tracking protection works well too! Combination of both is best in my experience.

Fanboy's list doesn't get updated anymore. Don't believe me? Go to fanboy's website that you linked. Click on the view and look at the dates. They're feb and may 2013.

Fanboy was merged with easylist and is offered through them.

Thanks for the quero list. It blocks some ads that easylist doesn't.

You can also install AdBlock Plus on IE.

And I wonder why sites like yours can't use non-intrusive ads instead? If so, maybe you wouldn't be blocked?

I dont mind ads embedded in websites, although I'm not sure if those bring in revenue. The only ones I dont like are the ones that open a new window. Nobody wants that.

I cannot stand video ads! I'll deal with stuff happening at the top or sides, but when it makes noise, all hell breaks loose until everything is blocked.

I was just doing research on this and thinking about installing adblock because a couple of websites I go to are ad crazy! Thanks for the tip!

I have been using these lists for a while now on my desktop IE. Surprised that no one was talking about it. It did not work on the Modern IE 11 for Surface 2...has that changed? Because that would be just swell 8D.

If you setup tpl for the desktop IE11, then the Metro IE automatically blocks the ads. Just tested on my Surface RT and on Vmware virtual Windows 8.1.

Just tested it on the Surface2...IT WORKS! Sweet! Yes the Modern IE was doing a good job at blocking some content, but it did nothing for the in-text ads...doing this removes all those pesky ads. Fantastic. Thank you MS.

 

^ This

The only reason I don't use my Surface as much as I'd like to, because the ads and pop ups dramatically affect IE stability and loading times. I'm excited to try this out when I get home now.

A way to still make money while making it so adblock won't block it is to use non-intrusive ads. If you follow the guidelines that Adblock Plus puts out, they can whitelist you guys.

If you continue to use annoying ads, especially on the forums, well, people will continue to you AdBlock.

For PC and x86 tablets you can also use adfender. It's a standalone program, it blocks every ad in every browser installed, no more need to use browser plugins

Really do not like what IE 11 on Lumia 1020 has turned into :(
Getting NSUR running and downgrading to 8.0 to get cyan and get rid of update 1.

Just because we are Microsoft people doesn't mean we have to hate on Chrome. Chrome is an excellent browser. If it wasn't for Chrome, we would still have crappy HTML5 speeds. And with all its extensions, it makes it excellent.

You should note that some editors on WPC use Chrome. Just because you are a Microsoft fanboy, doesn't mean we have to hate everything Google. I use Chrome and love it.

I used to use chrome exclusively after firefox became bloated and memory leaking, but I feel the tables have turned with chrome now being the worse option and firefox and IE being far better to use.

Plus even though I've been doing this for years now, I now refuse to go back to google products until they A) stop being anticompetetive and refusing to support windows users and B) stop forcing me to use a google+ to use youtube.

I use Chrome and Safari on my Mac. I love the extensions in Chrome, and the fluidity of Safari. Chrome 64bit is finally coming soon, so excited! And Safari on Yosemite? It's really nice. IE is by far the WORST with extensions right now, and still has the lowest HTML5 speeds, and HTML5 is the future.

Personally I'm not a fan of extensions, I like the fact IE has TPL lists because the only extension I use in Chrome and Firefox is adblock. Extensions are just more crap slowing things down and causing more issues.

I am not a Microsoft fanboy. I'm a Google despiser. Google is the worst company in the tech industry because they are the biggest hypocrites ever: propagating this "Do No Evil" mantra for years and years while they secretly and illegally harvest data from customers and non-customers alike (case in point, see the infamous Wi-Spy case where they were found guilty and fined heavily). They are a terrible company, they're products and services are overrated, and that's before you factor in that the only reason those services exist is to spy on people and monetize them. Google sucks and so does Chrome.

@unstoppable. he isn't wrong, Chrome spies on you. It sends all your meta to the Googleplex.

I used to be a paid Google Apps purchaser. I've spent time in their offices talking to them

Trust me, Google are a _very_ different animal to MS who contrary to what most idiots on the Internet think are a very reputable comapny. Once you get into the realms of legal dialogue with these companies you will really understand why they are different.  Which of course most people won't. Sad really it would be a real eye opener for them.

I used to use chrome when it first came out, but stopped because it seemed to go downhill some time afterwards. I still have it installed just in case, but that thing gets more resource hungry than opera running with 20+ tabs for days; no exaggeration. I thought something was up until I read the reports of chrome artificially messing with windows 8 to slow it down. Sorry google, that's not how you keep customers.

These TPLs have never worked for me. The ads make it right through no matter what I do. This is the only reason I haven't ditched Firefox

You're probably using NoScript as well I presume? That will cutoff Flash and Java based stuff too which normal ad-blockers (AdBlock+ or the TPLs here) typically don't cover entirely. So no it won't help with those as much.

Some ads do get through, yes, but it's a very small number. The majority get blocked.

If not a single ad gets blocked for you, then something is wrong on your end. After adding a list, make sure it's also enabled.

WPCentral is by far the worst offender when it comes to ads that I actually visit. Any place that actually has pop-up ads isnt worth going to anyways, but I have a fairly powerfu gaming rig and I do use IE as my main browser but WPCentral just totally makes my browser crawl.

I would think there'd be some better way, I mean, every other place manages too without stuffing the screen so full with ads that gaming rig with 4ghz under the hood goes to crawl, why can't WPCentral? :D

There is a lot of optimization left that we are investigating for IE11.

And I can easily name a few other sites that are worse. One is even in this article :D

I mostly agree, and there have been way too many times that WPCentral brings the browser to its knees, sometimes to the point of crashing it. That is generally my cue to leave the site and go elsewhere, like back to work. But, like Daniel says, it is easy to find sites that are worse than WPCentral.

I really respect Daniel and the rest of the team for publishing this article, knowing they will probably take a bit of a hit on ad revenue. If nothing else, it is acknowledgement that there is a performance problem due to the ads, and that they are working on improving the situation.

It's really hard on WP -- clicking on an article brings up so many ads, the article is "below the scroll", and as I try to scroll down (swipe up), it seems to "stutter" in that it registers my finger movement as a tap or two, and opens one of the ads on the screen instead.

FYI I've had some trouble in the past with the Stop Google list and playing back embedded Youtube videos on some sites. That being said these ad blocking lists are a really great feature of modern IE that a lot of users unfortunately don't know about.

This just happened to me. Does anyone know how to turn off a list once you added it? I'm assuming it's the fault of the google list (I added them all). Video embed has been severely impacted on numerous websites for me.

The only way I could get back to that dialog box was to open up "Manage add-ons" in desktop IE, which happens to share the same dialog as Tracking Protection.

you can do it just fine with IE11 there is adblock plugin for it, the article should be clear about this, this trick is only useful for the modern IE11, which is the only way to block ads on RT tablets btw

The only problem that I have seen with this that some sites embed tracking into their GUI interface. Then then, things like dropdowns and radio buttons stop working. You have to realize what's happening, curse the developer and then stop the blocking for the site.

Does this also block ads from youtube? Frankly, that's the main place I want to block ads..... F*ck you Google

Since the app is apparently not letting me edit my comment, I was referring to the video ads that start before each video.

The one that Daniel mentioned, I don't know, tbh. I thought judging by your rage, that meant this doesn't block it. Anyways, I love ABP. Works best on Chrome, as IE uses old Extension technology.

There's nothing wrong with the "extension technology" IE uses. It just doesn't provide all the necessary browser hooks to block the various types of ads that for example AdBlock Plus for Firefox can (like those YouTube ones).

If you're old, have problems with technology, and employ a reaosnably knowledgable PC repair tech, you shouldn't bear the brunt of ads.

That said, at 25, and with a developed sense of selective web-viewing, I can easily ignore ads while providing website creators with ad revenue.

But yeah, what you're saying makes sense, pun intended.

Yup, I use this feature. Problem is that you run into pages that doesn't render properly once in a while. Youtube is one of them with some of those blocking lists. I am currently using the "EasyList". It doesn't block as many as other lists but it doesn't seem to get in the way either.

I don't like ads but I can live with them as long as they don't cause pop-ups, pop-unders, overlays or auto start videos.  Static ones I just ignore.  The problem is when there are so many of any type that they slow page load times down.  This should be a concern for any webmaster as page load time has an effect on search result positioning.

WPC could learn at least to trim ads that are duplicates (i.e. I see five U-verse ads from Adsense that are exactly the same).

Non intrusive ones like suggested things to click that are related to your search in Google and Bing are fine. AdBlock Plus does not block non-intrusive ads (they are whitelisted by them first) by default, however you can block all ads, but that's a dick move, tbh.

One small note: Sites don't get money for displaying ad on your screen i.e. how many times it has been displayed. Sites get money for amount of clicks on the ad. If you are immune to ads like me and never click on them, then what's the problem with disabling them completely?

that's not true. Depending on what the ad provider is selling to its customers, they can also pay for only displaying ads. This may not be the most common case, but it occurs. e.g. YouTube pre-roll ads pay off just by being presented ("impression" is the key word here) – and pay even more if clicked ;)

You never click on them because nothing worth to you showed up. When something is worth to you, it will get your attention and you might click the ad thus supporting the website.

It's unfortunate that it doesn't work as good as AdBlock Plus on Firefox and Chrome (the IE version, although it was recently updated, doesn't work as well. On Google ads for instance).

If I could have both AdBlock Plus working like Firefox and DoNotTrackMe I'd be using IE all the time!

Because IE doesn't have some of the features to have that button be displayed and those options, unfortunately, even though every other browser ABP provides their stuff for can do it, even Safari...

Thank you so much for this! Sure, blocking ads is nice. However what this did for me, was to improve the performance of my Surface 2 when navigating between websites; especially when using the back swipe gesture. I recently realised that Javascript/advertising scripts were killing the performance and started blocking domains based on my "own" solution, but this is much better. And the performance gains are definitely there.

nice! This is even working for IE11 on Windows 8.1 RT! AdBlocking was the only thing I really was missing on my Surface 2 so far. ahhh I can't believe it :D

In case anyone else is scratching their head trying to figure out how to get back to the "get more lists online" function (because once you set it up, the menu option only toggles between "Turn on" and "Turn off"), it's in the "Manage Add-ons" menu item (desktop-mode IE, Tools menu).

I only mention it because it took me a bit to figure that out...

wow, this is great! Or great for my research on online ad blocking. Many people have different views about blocking ads. Please take this 10 close ended survey to help my research.

Be advised that using the Google blocker list will break YouTube embedding on sites you visit. I recommend only using the two Easy Lists as they are effective without breaking many sites.

This is one reason I like Rubino's pieces.  He totally lays it out there without any BS.  'Yes, we need to make money, and we all hate ads, so I'm going to show you another trick to customize your experience, if you want to do it.'

That's probably my biggest complaint about Windows Phone--I like tweaking things the way I want to tweak them. Tweak tweak tweak.

Anyway thanks for the tip.

I've tried this, it reduces adverts and is a great free option but its not as good as Adguard (if you're prepared to pay for it)

Wow that's pretty neat! Actually now I don't have to use chrome anymore...
That was the only reason I used it from time to time ...
Thanks for the tip!

Neh.... Still prefer Firefox with the adblock. No performance issues nor security problems. TPL don't work 100% like adblock does. And why can't I select text on my mobile IE11 when viewing this page? IE just sucks.

Hopefully WP will be able to do it on IE mobile sometime in the future, I'm sick of seeing ads telling me to open a Gmail account -.-

When you add the lists don't add the Trust-e list. The tracking list can block sites and can also allow sites through. If one list blocks a site and another allows it, the add will come through. Trust-e is a site sponsored by web advertisers and most of the list is about allowing so called trusted sites (those who pay Trust E) through. It is the only list that is composed of trusted sites while the other lists entirely consist of sites that they think should be blocked. If you want to see what I mean, right click on a TPL and chose more info to see the list. Trust E is the only list that has a + next to a bunch of web addresses which means it is allowing those sites. All the other list have just minus in front of the web address.which means the site is blocked. 

It is an interesting debate, however, they're some sites that have ads everywhere and deserve to get blocked, I only unblock the ads from certain websites that I know have good intentions or I want to support (this site as an example)

WooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooW

AMAZING! Great and huge thank you Daniel!

One of my main gripes with IE 11 is gone now!

Can anyone help me do this on desktop? I have 8.1 and IE 11 but mine doesn't look the same as video. When I click settings, I get: Control panel, personalization, PC info and help but no "privacy" option as Daniel shows in video. Thanks!

Same issue. I just Bing'd iegallery and when the page loads you can see the personalization lists.  Just click the term and they will all appear

I didn't know about this. I'll ad block some sites. Mostly YouTube videos from people that think it is ok to monetize their 1 video with 20 views after being on YT for 5 years. Maybe porn sites. Although lately I've been using my phone for that.

I been using day one when this exist. Sometime I turn off for certain site and situation but turn back on when done. I ser this on every computer I owned and to brothers and sisters PC too.

I initially used Chrome but then I researched what hypocritical thieves google are so I switched to Firefox. Although I do use IE a lot especially because several websites in India are optimized for IE and don't work on the thieves' Chrome.

Hi Dan, thought you might like to know that quite a lot of people don't have a problem with ads, they have a problem with ad networks that follow them around the web building profiles on them.

So when you're defending your own use of ads on the site, please don't fall into using the false dichotomy of "ads / no ads" or  "money / no money" - it's your choice to use ad networks that track and profile, rather than ones that don't.

I'm from the UK and that feature where is states "Block Google Ads" doesn't exist. In order for it to work you have to change the region in the top right of the screen, once that happens, the list will refresh and you get to add the block google ads. Adding one more ad blocker to my list always helps on the war on ads haha :)

 

One thing you will find when you set this up is a lot of the comment systems web sites use will also be blocked I have found.

Already knew this, but using a HOST file blocks ads EVERYWHERE, in and out of web browsers lol Can't wait for a Windows Phone ablock!

Have two sites: one subscription-based and one ad-supported. See which gets used most. I for one would pay to avoid ads and ensure the site gets revenue to stay in business.

Internet Explorer 11 cannot do traditional plugins like Chrome or Firefox

I don't know how you define "traditional plugins", but perhaps you should clarify that this statement holds true only for Modern IE, not desktop IE.

In the wpcentral app i always get an add of a datingsite. However the girly is quite nice but still dont like those particular adds.

MS should make adblockcs for all google sites by default to pay for what google did for the youtube app..that woould be owesome. then they use that to market for a cleaner web experience