How to Remove Adware

We’ve had reports from Members about annoying pop-up ads appearing on their computers while browsing the web. These pop-up’s are certainly caused by malicious software called adware.

Some adware programs can monitor your Internet surfing to target the websites that you log on to, and then generate automatic pop-up advertisements based on your viewing habits. They are also called spyware, and are more difficult to track and find. Adware is often included automatically without you knowing it when you download from certain Websites and free applications. When you click on a link to download a program, you often unwittingly give permission to download adware or spyware. Media companies pay publishers of freeware programs to include adware in their free downloads. These programs run in the background when you are online, and they can slow down your computer and affect its performance.

How do You Remove Adware?

1. Backup your important files.
In case something goes wrong, a backup will retain your most important files. Copy the files to an external hard drive if possible, although burning them onto a CD or DVD can work just as well. Backing up your registry is recommended as well.

2. Download and install the adware removal software of your choice.
Adware removal programs are specifically designed to target thousands of known adware infections that could be embedded into your system and safely removes them. We recommend AdwCleaner.

3. Prepare the computer for adware removal
Disconnect your computer from all networks, including the Internet and all Local Area Networks. Isolating your computer from networks will prevent re-infection.

4. Restart your computer and boot into Safe Mode.
For most computers, Safe Mode is accessed by holding the F8 keys during the booting sequence. Check your computer’s manual for specifics.

5. Start up your adware removal program.
You may be notified that there are updates available. If so, you should accept and download the updates. Once downloaded, the updates should install themselves immediately.

6. Perform a full scan.
A full scan will scan all of the files in your computer and flag any anomalies that it finds. This is the most comprehensive scan available.

You may be asked to select which drives in your computer you would like to scan. If you know which drives are infected by adware, then feel free to select only those drives. If you are unsure which drives are infected, it is recommended to select all drives. Note that the more drives you select, the longer the scan will take.

7. Wait until the scan is complete.
The total duration will depend on your computer’s speed as well as the size of your drives and how many drives you selected. For really slow computers, the scan may take upwards of an hour.

8. View the results of the scan when the scan is complete.
You will see a list of all the files that were detected as adware. Select all of the ones you’d like to remove and choose to remove them. Some adware removal programs may describe it as “Quarantine.”

9. Reboot your computer.
Depending on the type of adware that was removed, you may be forced into rebooting your computer. Even if you are not forced, it is recommended that you do.

Sometimes an adware or malware problem can be so deeply infected in your computer system that a clean install and full wipe may be the only viable and practical option. If you believe that your computer is heavily infected, consult a computer expert for assessment.

Sources and further reading
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