IE8: Ad blocking with the InPrivate Filter

With my most recent piece, I've been hearing that much of what is holding people back from using IE8 is the lack of an Ad blocking feature.

Perhaps not widely known, but IE8 actually contains a great Ad blocking feature built-in, it's called "InPrivate Filtering". The InPrivate Filter (enabled by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+F) is intended to block content that may potentially share your information; thankfully advertisements are one such example of said content.

It should be noted that the InPrivate Filter is 'smart' in the sense that it can and will (if enabled) automatically detect content which appears with a high frequency on websites that you visit. In this regard, the Filter learns as you use the web and can detect what is an advertisement or of similar content, and take action accordingly. By entering the 'Manage Addons' window, you can select how many websites a piece of content must show up on before it is flagged, at which point you can then determine whether you want to block or allow such content.

For example, if out of 10 website you visit, IE8 sees that a URL is repeated (i.e. blahblah.advertisingsite.net), on 3 different websites (you can change this value) it will show up in your list, at which point you can choose to block it. You may also just tell IE to automatically block such content.

Given the functionality of the InPrivate Filter, it seems that all that is required is a "Subscription List" containing the locations of advertisements for the filter to function as other Adblock applications. This is similar to a "Block List" in Adblock Pro and equivalent software. With such a list, it should be possible to simply block certain locations outright without relying on IE to learn from your browsing habits.

To Enable InPrivate Filtering

In IE8, under the "Safety" button ensure that "InPrivate Filtering" is enabled. You can tell it is enabled by the checkmark that will appear next to the text.

Directly under that button you will see "InPrivate Filtering settings". You now have a list of content that has been flagged by IE8 based on the frequency it has shown up. The default frequency is "10", meaning that in order for a piece of content to be flagged it must appear across 10 websites. You may change this frequency in the appropriate box to a minimum of 3 or a maximum of 30.

On top of the box which lists said content, you have a couple of radio buttons. The first, "Automatically block" will simply block outright any content which matches the criteria of appearance on 3 (for example) or more websites.

With regards to a subscription list that will block advertisements outright without having to 'learn' your browsing habits, I am in the process of searching for such. I have stumbled across this link where someone has compiled an XML file of the blocked URL's from Adblock Plus.

In order to Import these URL's into the InPrivate Filter, you must enter your "Manage Addons" window, accessible via Tools > Manage Addons. Click the InPrivate Filtering button, followed by Import and then locate the XML file. The result should be IE8 blocking content from said providers outright, without the need to learn via your browsing habits. Doing so has blocked about 99% of the advertisements I see while browsing with IE8.

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42 Comments

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What I'm really confused about how is how Neowin outright censors anything to do with adblocking in the forums, yet there's a complete front-page guide right here on how to block all ads.


Why not just install Privoxy and then set your LAN proxy settings to 127.0.0.1 port 8118 and thats it, Ads are yesterday!

Also The Registry key which enables Filtering can make IE 8 even faster in Page Loading cause it doesn't rejects at the Rendering state, but before this @ the loading network part, so faster Loading.
Yes, IE 8 is so damn fast.

Now we just need someone to write an IE addon to automatically download, convert and update the Imported InPrivate Filter XML rules from AdBlock's and we're all set.

This was the first thing I noticed when I saw it in IE 8, and I immediately thought "ad blocking?". I even posted about it here in the forums, good article!

Just tested it, and sadly flash ads don't seem to be blocked, and unlike ad muncher the ad space isn't cropped.

Wow this is awesome have been looking for something like this for awhile now IE8 is definitely my favorite browser. Only thing is I have Vista on my laptop and it works fine on there, but I have Windows 7 on my desktop and can't seem to import the xml file there is not import option. I'm thinking it has something to do with the version of IE8 on Windows 7 oh and I have build 7000 too. If anyone knows what might be causing this id appreciate any help thnx

It just enables Inprivate Filtering ( either use by the "smart" engine or by xml list ) and you don't need to be @ Inprivate mode to have Adblocking

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Safety\PrivacIE

And Add a dword "StartMode" value 1

COMPLETE SOLUTION ! FORGET Inprivate, Filtering Enabled is all you need !

Credits go to a friend of mine..

THAT is the last thing i needed to make ie8 default. and doesn't the -private force inprivate MODE and not filtering. filtering is all i wanted since i use the imported adblock plus list.

This turns on the IP Filter automatically, which is what this article is about . IP Mode is a wholy different matter.

Also, set the DWORD value to 2 if you want it default set to "Choose content" on startup. This is my favoured choice since that way it won't start randomly blocking things without asking me but will still use the imported XML Filter ruleset.

I'm wondering if somebody will convert all the blocks from Adblock or whatever and import them into InPrivate Filter. Still though, editing the hosts file is probably better for a system.

It's effectively just a dynamic hosts file. AdBlock and other proper ad blockers analyze the HTML and CSS content for common tags, IDs, comments and script to block ads. Far more effective and less likely to break things if maintained properly. Also, domains are cheap, and many advertisers make use of that fact to get around simple hosts file blocking.

Also AdBlock element hiding helper let's you remove the blank space left behind by the removed ads. It's not enough for me to not see ads, I also want to see a webpage how it would look like if ads wouldn't exist at all.

Buendia said,
If it could block flash ads, that would be nice; just like Flashblock for FF does.


You can block flash in IE with IE7Pro.

IE8 has its built-in Flash block, you don't need IEPro:

IE8's Per-Site Control

Internet Explorer 8 allows greater control of where Microsoft ActiveX controls can run. Through the new Manage Add-ons dialog box these add-ons can be restricted for use on specific Web sites.

You can view or clear the list of websites that ActiveX controls are allowed to run:
Tools -> Manage add-ons -> click on Flash add-on -> click on More informations -> click the button Remove all sites.

When a user navigates to a Web site containing an ActiveX control, the user is notified through an Information bar that the control wants to run. When users click this Information bar, a context menu is presented to them. Users can then elect to allow the control for a specific Web site, allow the control for all Web sites, disallow the control, or get more information about the prompt.

Or you could just use a hosts file from somewhere like MVP Hosts and block adds system wide as well as defending yourself from botnets and the likes without slowing any of your browsers down.