MICROSOFT HAS SAID it will change the way it classifies adware and will begin blocking unwanted adverts by default in three months.
Taking effect on 1 July, the new objective criteria will mean that the Redmond firm will automatically stop any adware detected and notify the user, who can then restore the program if they wish.
At present when a Microsoft security product detects a program as adware, it alerts the user and offers a recommended action. If they don't respond, the security product will let the program run until the user makes a decision. The updated criteria essentially means that come 1 July, when one of Microsoft's products detects adware, it will immediately stop the program and the user will be notified.
The new objective criteria are as follows: "Programs that promote a product or service outside of their own program can interfere with your computing experience. You should have clear choice and control when installing programs that open advertisements.
"The advertisements that are opened by these programs must: Include an obvious way to close the ad; include the name of the program that created the ad.
"The program that creates these advertisements must: Provide a standard uninstall method for the program using the same name as shown in the ads it produces."
Microsoft added that programs that do not follow these rules will be detected as adware and immediately removed from the user's machine.
"We want to give our customers choice and control regarding what happens with their computers. To that end we have recently undergone some changes to both the criteria we use to classify a program as adware and how we remediate it when we find it," Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC) security expert Michael Johnson said in a blog post.
Microsoft has chosen a 1 July, 2014 deadline because it wants to give developers three months to comply with its new rules.
The firm will only consider classifying a program as adware if it runs on the user's machine and produces notifications promoting goods or services in programs other than itself.
"If the program shows advertisements within its own borders it will not be assessed any further," Johnson added, explaining that using advertising as a form of payment is also an acceptable practice. "We are more concerned with the advertising that interferes with our customer's Windows experience without giving them choice and control over it," he explained µ