How to Get Rid of Adware

By Woody Schuldt

  • Overview

    Adware, also referred to as spyware, can slow down a computer and burden a user with a constant onslaught of advertisements. These programs watch and record Internet activity on an infected computer and sell the information to reputable advertisement agencies alongside not-so-reputable individuals. While they are not usually designed to do so, they have the potential to steal sensitive information such as credit card and social security numbers. Removing these programs is vital to keeping a healthy computer.
  • Removing Adware with Ad-Aware

  • Step 1

    Download and install Ad-Aware's free version from Lavasoft. You'll find the link in our Resources section.
  • Step 2

    Allow the program to download updates. Restart your computer immediately if prompted to do so.
  • Step 3

    Run Ad-Aware. Click the green circle in the center to begin scanning your computer.
    How to Get Rid of Adware
  • Step 4

    Click "Scan Now" and wait for the process to complete.


  • Step 5

    Press "Take Action" at the bottom of the menu to remove the adware from your computer.
  • Removing Adware with Spybot Search and Destroy

    • Step 1

      Download and install Spybot Search and Destroy. You'll find the link in our Resources section.
    • Step 2

      Run the program. Navigate through the Spybot Wizard. You will be prompted to backup your registry and search for updates, both of which are essential.
    • Step 3

      Click the "Check for Problems" button on the main Spybot menu. Wait for the scan to complete.
    • Step 4

      Review the files listed as adware. Make sure they are not programs that you frequently use or wish to keep. If they are, remove the check next to their name. Otherwise, make sure all the checks remain in place to remove the unwanted adware from your computer.
    • Step 5

      Click "Remove Selected Problems" to delete the adware
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Tip: Use both Ad-Aware and Spybot Search & Destroy one after the other. Both applications have unique libraries of spyware, and using only one will usually leave some malicious software untouched.
    • Tip: Run these programs at least once a week as basic computer maintenance. Spybot Search & Destroy even has an option to schedule a scan for when you're away.
    • Warning:
    • Some free programs install adware as a form of payment. If you remove the adware, it's likely that the application will stop working.

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