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How do I Remove Adware?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2016
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It is sometimes possible to remove adware manually by accessing the “Add/Remove” software section of your computer. Some of the less aggressive forms of adware come with uninstall packages. If the software cannot be deleted manually, however, an antivirus or adware cleaner will be required. It’s also important to check that no lasting changes have been made to your computer after removing adware.

If you need to remove adware, the first step is to disconnect from the Internet. This will prevent any data being transmitted between the adware and another computer and will sometimes make it easier to uninstall the offending program. If you’re connected to a wireless network, right click the “Network” icon in the taskbar, and select “Disconnect.” Computers connected to the internet via an Ethernet cable can be unplugged from the phone socket or router.

You don’t always need sophisticated programs to remove adware; sometimes the software can be uninstalled manually. While some adware programs are very good at hiding, others will show up in the standard “Add/Remove” software section of a Windows computer. If this is the case, to remove the software you simply need to ask Windows to uninstall it for you. To access this part of a Windows computer, go to “Control Panel” and then “Add/Remove Programs,” where you’ll see a list of software currently installed.

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Once you have removed adware manually, restart the computer so all changes can take effect. Some adware will appear in the “Add/Remove” list, but will not be completely uninstalled. Be advised that advanced adware may leave traces of the software on the computer so that it can reinstall itself at a later date.

If you cannot remove adware manually, you usually need to use an antivirus scanner. Boot into safe mode before you run a scan, if possible, because this will increase the chances of the adware being removed completely. It’s usually a good idea to perform a full system scan with your regular antivirus as well as another scan with at least one adware cleaner. Adware cleaners specialize in detecting and removing this type of software and may pick up problems that a regular antivirus program doesn’t.

After you remove adware, verify that the software hasn’t made any changes to the way your PC works. Check, for example, that the hosts file has not been edited because this can cause your computer to redirect to undesirable websites. This file is located in different folders depending on your operating system.

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