Once the hot shit at the advent of the mainstream internet, when everybody had a Geocities site covered with them (this author included) – let’s face it though, in this day and age there are only two uses for animated GIF images; crappy advertisements and/or annoying images on internet forums.
Here’s how to stop them, once or completely:
For a quick stop of all animated gifs on a page, simply tap the ESC key on your keyboard. This works in IE and Firefox.
To disable them completely follow these instructions for your browser of choice:
Firefox – Type about:config in the address bar and get to the configuration page, and then change the value of the string image.animation_mode from normal to none.
Internet Explorer – Got to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced. Uncheck the box in Multimedia group that says Play animations in web pages
Not sure about Chrome or other browsers, as I don’t use them, perhaps Mike has some input on those.