According to Internet Security Systems, spyware or adware is a general term for a program that surreptitiously monitors your actions. While they are sometimes sinister, like a remote control program used by a hacker, software companies have been known to use spyware to gather data about customers. On your computer, a good rule of thumb to determine if you have spyware or adware is to monitor the number of pop-up ads that you receive when are you surfing the Internet. To help remove these malicious programs from your computer, the following instructions will guide you through the 3 step process of keeping your computer free from spyware or adware.
Step 1 : Downloading and Installing Ad-Aware
You may obtain the latest version of Ad-Aware by downloading the application for free.To download the Ad-Aware application:
1) Go to http://www.download.com/
2) Search for Ad-Aware SE Personal
3) Under the Search Results, click on the Download Now link next to Ad-Aware SE Personal. You should see a dialog box appear on your screen. Choose the option to save the program to your disk and when prompted, select to save the program on your Desktop.
4) Locate the aawsepersonal file on your desktop and double click on it to start the installation process.
5) Accept the Terms of the Agreement and follow the defaults settings when presented with options and after the program finishes installing you will be presented with a screen similar to the one below:
Make sure that none of the boxes are checked and click on Finish.
Step 2: Updating Ad-Aware
Launch Ad-Aware by clicking on the shortcut icon.
You should now see a screen that resembles the following:
Click on the Check for updates now link (Highlighted in the red box in the image below)
Click on Connect (Highlighted in the red box in the image below)
If you see a screen that indicates the availability of a new definition file, click on OK to download and install the new update. When the update has finished downloading, click on Finish
Step 3: Scanning and Removing Spyware
After ensuring that you have the latest updates, you can now scan your computer for the presence of spyware or other malicious programs.
To start the scan process, launch Ad-Aware and click on the Start button (Highlighted in the red box in the image below)
On the screen that appears, make sure that Perform full system scan is selected and then click on Next (Highlighted in the red box in the image below)
The scan process will take about 15 minutes to run. Once the process has completed, you will hear a distinct sound and also notice a flashing bug along with an overview of the various critical objects recognized. Click on Next to begin the process of removing the detected objects.
You will now see a list of objects that were identified as spyware on your computer. To remove a specific object, click on the small checkbox next to the object. To remove all objects, right click on any object, choose the Select All Objects option and then click on Next
You will see a box appear on your screen that asks for your permission in removing the number of objects that were detected. Click on OK to remove the objects.
Once the objects have been removed you may close the Ad-Aware application. It is generally advisable that you run Ad-Aware about once a month or when you begin to notice an increasing amount of pop-up ads.