What to do When a Website Won’t let you Leave

We have all gotten stuck on websites before. You visited a website and when you go to leave, a pop-up window comes up and it won’t let you close the site or even go backwards. The website tries to force you into clicking on the pop-up window.

Usually it is a “Do you really want to leave?” or “Click here to install our anti-virus program”. Here is the bad news. Clicking on the “accept”, “ok” or even the “no” or “cancel” button could be a security issue. It may install something that you don’t want. Also, clicking the red “X” on the popup window to close it may not work, or it may be the same as clicking “accept”. Yeah, I know, hackers and spammers are evil.

So what do you do? You can go down to the windows bar at the bottom of your screen, right-click on the internet explorer icon and click on “Close Window”. This works many times.

If this does not work, then you need to hit the “Ctrl-Alt-Del” keys on the keyboard all at the same time. Select “Task Manager”, then click on the “Applications” tab. Next find the line that shows the Internet Explorer page you are trying to close, and click on it once to highlight it. Finally click “End Task”.

It is unfortunate that you have to take so many steps to close a window . Not every pop-up windows on exit is bad. But spammers and hackers are taking every step that they can to trick you into installing their virus programs. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Until next time, surf safely!


25 thoughts on “What to do When a Website Won’t let you Leave”

  1. Re: Mac

    It’s easy to escape this in a Mac. Go to the Apple menu, choose Force Quit and close the program. Same effect as C-A-D. However when you restart the browser, if it’s one like Firefox that’s been set to restore your windows, you need to be quick on the CTRL-W to make the window close before it loads in again, otherwise you’ll just have to do it again. The good news is there are no Mac versions at present for the viruses planted by these scams, so if you get caught by one it’s not a big deal, other than you lose where you were in browsing at that moment.

  2. Couldn’t you just press the homepage button? It works most of the time.

    Also I find this a bit misleading. Yes scripts can run programs but if you are to install a program the familiar dialogue box will appear prompting to you take action: run, save or open. That is if it’s a binary (pre-compiled) .exe program, which I presume are accountable for at least 50% of all viruses. The others are exploited vulnerabilities in java, flash, php and other web languages that are complied on the fly.

    1. The fake online virus scan programs that try to get you to either buy their bogus software or download a malicious program are very prevalent now.

      But you still run into some trapped web pages that, depending on your browser, will not let you leave, even with the home button.

  3. Good information. My opinion of any site that uses the “are you sure you wanna leave” pop up tactic is automatically nil. That is one of the top ten things I hate and is tantamount to trying to hold me hostage. It makes me wonder what they’re trying to plant on my computer before I leave. And the really annoying thing about C-A-D in IE is that all your other IE windows get closed, so if I’m in the middle of something on another site that’s gone, too.

  4. Except on a mac, if you have multiple windows open and you are say in the process of checking out on an ecommerce site, or filling out a form, you lose all the windows you had open with “force-quit” just to get out of one website. Any other solutions?

  5. I could not get out of Safari due to a pop up window that said I had won. I could see a survey in the background and my only choice was to hit yes. I was closed Safari and dumped it off my bottom bar and hope that would cut the link. Nope, I was stuck and starting to panic. Other website advice I was finding via another computer was not helping. You Control W trick was all I needed. So glad to know that now thanks!!!!!!!

  6. Ok. I am aware MAC’s have been plagued by recent viruses. Now I am stuck on a pop-up website that is asking me to accept yes to be part of some survey. The only way I can escape is to force quit but when I log onto safari again the same window pops up and won’t allow me to continue on the web. I have logged off the computer but the same result when I go back onto the web. Any ideas?

    1. Can you change your home page in Safari, and clear the internet cache? I know on the iPad you can just go to the Settings Icon from the main desktop, and under the Safari heading click clear history and cache and it sets the home page back to default.

    1. Hi Greg, thanks for the excellent question!

      They can use several techniques. But many times they will use malicious scripts or applets that run when you open the webpage.

      These scripts can change settings on your PC, redirect you to malicious web sites, install a virus on your system or even give the attacker full remote access to your system.

      This is why I always recommend that user use a script blocking browser add-on like “NoScript” to stop these attacks cold in their tracks!


  7. I was using internet explorer from the start up menu on windows 8, I was searching for a song, clicked on a website then a window opened saying that my pc was arrested for piracy and other stuff, which I know i’m not guilty of, and it’s asking me to pay a penalty, so I knew it was a scam, but when I clicked X to close it, it asked me “are you sure you want to leave this page” and gave me an option of yes or no, I clicked yes and but it won’t let me leave the page… I took your advise to end the task on task manager, I closed all internet explorer on task manager but when i went back to the start up menu and clicked internet explorer, the stupid window is still there. I’m able to use the internet explorer on the desktop using the same computer but I can’t use the internet explorer on the start up menu because of this stupid scammer won’t let me leave the page…. I surely hope you can help me, and thank you.

    1. It sounds like your computer might be infected with most likely a “scamware” virus. There are instructions on the web for removing many of them (at your own risk), but I would recommend contacting your local computer repair shop for advice.

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