How Do I Remove Adware?
Manual Adware Removal
To remove programs that you know are adware, you can try to do so manually. Although more malicious adware programs won't show up in your program list, some less intrusive adware may. In this case, you may be able to remove it through the uninstall function of your computer. For Windows users, you can do this by going to your control panel (in "Settings") and selecting the "Add/Remove Programs" function. Once in this application, you will see a list of programs. Click on the program you believe to be adware and click on "Remove." You should restart your computer afterwards to make sure all changes required for the adware to be removed are complete.
Unfortunately, most of the time removing adware is not this easy. For starters, how can you know for sure that a certain program is adware? How do you find out which program is the adware causing you trouble if you don't have any clues to begin with? How do you remove adware programs that don't appear on your program list? In addition, even if an adware program appears on your program list and you can uninstall it, in some cases not all traces of the program are actually removed. In this case, you should use an anti-adware program or adware cleaner.
Adware Removal Using an Adware Removal Program
Don't rely on your anti-virus program - you may want to check out our section on adware cleaners.
Start by downloading the latest updates for the adware cleaner program that you are using. This will ensure that the program is up to date on what adware to look for and how to find it. Most adware and spyware removers will have an "Update" button you can click on to download the latest information for their files.
Next, you want to exit all browser windows and programs that you have running. This includes email. You should also disconnect your computer from the internet.
Once everything is exited and you are disconnected from the internet, run a scan using your adware cleaner. This means that your adware cleaner will look for suspicious files on your computer and report back to you. To run a scan, press the "Scan" button.
After the scan, allow your adware cleaner to remove any adware it finds. But before this, turn on any immunization options to help protect your computer against these adware programs in the future. This option is normally denoted by a button called "Immunize."
After you run a scan using your adware cleaner the first time, restart your computer and run a scan again. Let the program remove any additional adware files. If suspicious files were found during the second scan, restart your computer and run the adware cleaner again. Keep repeating the scan-restart-scan process until your adware cleaner cannot find any more adware.
If you repeat this process three times and your adware cleaner keeps finding new adware, or if your cleaner cannot find any more adware but you think there's something left, you may want to try running a scan in your computer's "safe mode." When you start up your computer in "safe mode," only the most essential processes can activate. This will prevent adware from activating in the background and trying to hide itself while your adware cleaner scans for it.
When all adware is removed from your computer, you can start undoing any damage or setting changes it may have caused.
Sometimes adware and spyware programs can become so embedded in your system that this can become too complex for you to deal with yourself. For example, your computer may not start up or even open its internet browser anymore. In these types of cases, you may want to contact a local computer technician who knows how to fix the problem.
The prevention of adware is better than the cure. You might want to learn about adware prevention so you can protect your computer from adware threats in the future.
Adware Removal Complications
Because adware is often used by the producers of free programs (freeware) to make a profit, the adware in effect sponsors the freeware. This being the case, many freeware programs will not work if your remove the adware that came with them. So if your freeware is more important to you than the annoyance and other problems associated with adware, you may choose not to remove it.
Sometimes you don't know for sure if a freeware program will stop working until you remove its adware. But there is a way to test whether removing adware will affect your freeware. Most adware cleaners give you an option called "Quarantine". This means the adware cleaner will not permanently delete adware files right away. Instead it will disable them and put them in a folder to be deleted later. This allows you to run programs after adware removal and make sure everything still works with the suspicious files removed. You can then go back into your adware cleaner and delete the suspicious files permanently. Or, if something is not working properly with the adware files quarantined, you can restore them. This lets you test the effects of adware removal on your programs without actually removing it.
However, if you choose the quarantine option and everything on your computer seems to be working well after the cleaning, make sure and go back into your adware cleaner and delete the adware files permanently.