Stop program referring to website

Comodo 6.3
Vista 32 bit

Sometimes when you uninstall a program it opens a browser to the program webpage to ask why youb uninstalled or advertise a newsletter. How can that be stopped?

As far as I can discover if there is an internet shortcut in the file in C:\Programs\Files that apparently that calls firefox and since firefox is an allowed program it will go thru the firewall. You can only block an exe

https://forums.comodo.com/firewall-help-cis/blocking-internet-access-to-everything-inside-a-certain-folder-t100409.0.html

Would the second post at above link do it? Block everything inside a folder?

This seems to be a hard one, you want to block all uninstallers from opening a website in firefox, the issue here is that CIS doesn’t have anything to detect if it’s an uninstaller or not and I suppose you don’t want to add every single uninstaller to a file group since that would be tedious work and would need updating every time you install a new program.

The instructions I give in the link you reference wouldn’t work because in this scenario the uninstaller wouldn’t ask for internet access, FireFox would. So what you’d need to do instead is to edit HIPS so that the rule the uninstaller goes under says to block launching/accessing firefox.exe… if that makes sense?

So you don’t want to create a firewall rule, you want to create a HIPS rule, the problem is that uninstallers could be located pretty much anywhere so the file group would need to include pretty much the whole computer and if you set it to block access to firefox.exe then you essentially block every program from accessing firefox.exe unless you specifically specify to allow that specific program to start firefox.exe… so you see why this is an issue, either you block every specific uninstaller or you block the whole computer and allow specific programs, either way it’s probably going to be tedious work.

And then you have those uninstallers that launch a specific browser rather then the system default, so even if you block all programs from launching or accessing firefox.exe they could still access internet explorer, so you’d have to add that to the blocked programs too.

Unless someone else has a better idea it’s going to be some work, personally I’d say it’s more work than it’s worth, but if you still want to give it a go then I can help with more specific rules depending on which route you want to go (i.e block all and allow specific or allow all and block specific)

Edit: Also, you’ll need to enable HIPS for this I believe.

Also some if some uninstallers can’t open the browser they’ll return and error code and abort the uninstallation process.

That too, so in my personal opinion I’d say it’s easier to just close the tab the uninstaller opens.

OK thanks not worth it

I’ve had this happen plenty and I’ve got a fix for it - it’s not only uninstallers, but all kinds of programs just pop open your web browser at different times. It’s especially common practice to have their help options do this.

These programs launch your web browser one of 2 ways. Some just flat out call on Internet Explorer directly. Block that and use another web browser.

The other way they launch your web browser is by just “running” “http://theirsite.com”. Do you know how Windows lets you associate a program with a file extension? Like “mp3” files are usually associated with Windows Media Player, but if you have something you like better, like WinAmp or VLC, you can associate mp3s with that. You can do the same thing with protocols like http. Years ago I wrote a little .bat file and associated it with “http” and “https”. My little batch file just brought up a console window that said "a program just tried to access “http://blah.blah.com”. I’d then copy/paste that into my web browser, or just ignore it and close up the Window.

A friend wrote a far slicker little program he named WebFunnel for handling this a lot better - it tells you what prog launched it and auto-detects all the common web browsers and asks you which of them you’d like to open it with. It even has some “ignore and always ignore requests from that calling program” type options.

So, my “default web browser” hasn’t been a web browser in any sense of the word for a very long time :slight_smile:

Some just flat out call on Internet Explorer directly. Block that and use another web browser.
for me they call firefox but i want to keep it. They have a shortcut in the C:\Programs files folder

Can you post the code for your bat file please .where is WebFunnel? Thanks

My old .bat file is not what you want. What you want is WebFunnel. I talked to the guy about putting it up for download years ago but he never had any interest in it, and it’s a pity b/c I’ve never run across a utility like it… though surely someone else has made one.

FYI, I couldn’t find my old .bat file, but it surely looked a lot like this:

::::::::::::::::
@echo Something wants you to view this in a web browser:
@echo.
@echo %*
@echo.
@pause
::::::::::::::::

WebFunnel’s a great default webbrowser b/c it shows you all your web browsers as buttons and you just click on the one you want to open the web page with (or just close it w/o viewing the web page).

That extremely simple .bat script I’ve typed in up there just shows you the URL. To actually go to it you’d have to copy/paste it from the console window (aka DOS box) it brings up into an actual web browser. This makes for a very poor “default web browser” by any sane person’s standards :slight_smile:

The next step is to associate it with the “http” protocol. In WinXP it makes sense, just look in Control panel: Folder Options: File Types and find the “URL: HyperText Transfer Protocol” and the “HyperText Transfer Protocol with Privacy” and associate it. I DO NOT RECOMMEND that anyone does this. It works fine, and the next time you launch your regular web browser it would probably ask if it could be your default web browser again and if you said Yes, that would undo these steps. Still, unless you’re comfortable mucking about with your computer, don’t bother. Or try it in a VM.

I looked in Win8.1 and it’s nuts. The protocol associations are in sane place, but there’s no mention of HTTP and I don’t think I saw MAILTO either. I guess they make you edit the registry to change these things these days.

You could definitely liven up that .bat a bit - have it just ask you if you want to open it in Firefox and then put in the call to Firefox. You’d end up with an uglied up, featureless version of WebFunnel that pretty much only worked on your computer, but it’d be easy to do.

I’ll look the WebFunnel guy up and see if he minds if I post it up here.

Note all those “[at]” strings in my .bat script lines above should be at-signs. The message board here’s converting them; probably to make it hard for a bot harvest email addresses from these pages.

I can see them? ???

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Thanks.i do not understand does the bat file only run if the program tries to refer to a website, is that what you mean?

That’s exactly where I was looking and I didn’t see HTTP and HTTPS!
I’ll look again later; maybe those went away when I crazily removed IE to see what would break. This is just an experimental Win8.1 box for me.

[at]David, I probably crammed too much into that post.

I’m not sure which of my many, rambling points you’re asking for clarification on, but a program (even a .bat file) will run if it’s associated with the “HTTP” protocol and something tells Windows to open a URL with that protocol. When you see things talking about your “default web browser”, this is what they’re talking about.

That .bat I’ve typed in is rather silly and impractical, but it’s an OK proof-of-concept.

I got in touch with the WebFunnel author and he put a copy on Dropbox:
Dropbox - WebFunnelSetup.zip - Simplify your life

Inside the zip file is:

  • an installer that installs some pre-reqs
  • updated copies of the program.exe and help.chm files that you should copy over the installed ones

It doesn’t litter your Desktop with an icon, so once installed, run Start: All Programs: WebFunnel : WebFunnel
and then go to “File Associations” and check the HTTP and HTTPS protocols and whatever else you like, then click OK.

You can test if by clicking Start: Run, entering something like “http://sometest.com” and pressing Enter.

It’s pretty self explanatory. Just click on the program with which you’d like to view that web page. Or if it was some obnoxious program trying to send you to a web page you didn’t want to go to, just close it. Note it tells you which program launched it.

You can go back into the Options to add specific custom actions - I have one that calls the Youtube-dl script and another that actually just changes the URL protocol from HTTP to HTTPS. Note you can right-click on the buttons for some additional options too.

I believe the help file is pretty up to date too. It’s pretty feature rich for something someone wrote basically for himself!

Note: it doesn’t work on Win8 yet - MS doesn’t let users pick their own programs for handling protocols for some reason. You have to do some registry hacking to add each one. There’s a pretty long article about it aimed at devs here: Default Programs - Win32 apps | Microsoft Learn

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??? Microsoft…