How to Remove Adware from my Computer

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Advertising software (Adware), as its name suggests, is designed for the purpose of delivering unsolicited advertising materials to the user in an aggressive, annoying, and intrusive manner. Similarly categorized as malicious software (Malware) like viruses, spyware, and worms, it is distinguished by its concentration on the delivery of targeted advertising contents which may be relevant to the user but not expressly requested by the user. It is entirely possible that it may cause breakdown in the infected machine and may be installed together with other Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA). Due to the distinct differences among these malicious programs, there is a possibility that despite the presence of an anti-virus program, it may not be capable of detecting and removing adware components installed in the machine.

Materials Needed:
- Anti-adware program
- Internet connection
Step 1
The most telling sign of an adware infection is the proliferation of pop-up windows and similar container formats hosting advertising contents. To remove these unnecessary computer files, it is important to initially disconnect from the Internet (if applicable) either by turning off the modem or unplugging the connection to the device from the back panel of the machine. This is done to stop the sending of more ads to the infected machine.
Step 2
Close all open browser windows including email clients.
Step 3
Delete all Temporary Files by clicking on the 'Start' button and selecting the 'Accessories' option.
Step 4
From the 'Accessories' Menu, choose the 'System Tools' and click on the 'Disk Clean Up' category. This will scan the hard drive and allow the user to view files which may be removed from the machine. Make sure that the Temporary Internet Files, Offline WebPages, Recycle Bin, and Downloaded Program Files are checked. Click on the 'OK' button to confirm changes.
Step 5
Also delete Temporary Internet Files by opening the Control Panel and clicking on the Internet Options category.
Step 6
Once the Internet Properties window appears; click on the 'General Task' tab. In the Temporary Internet Files, select the 'Delete Cookies' and the 'Delete Files' options. By clicking on the 'Apply' button, the changes will be implemented.
Step 7
Proceed by opening the 'Add/Remove Programs' category in the Control Panel. Normally, some adware components have a corresponding uninstall module that allows the user to remove the unwanted program. A reboot may be necessary after the uninstall process.
Step 8
Get an efficient anti-adware utility from a reputable developer. After completing its installation process, initiate a complete scan not only of the entire hard drive but also of the system memory. If possible, initiate the scanning and removal process under Safe Mode to make sure that only bare essentials are running in the machine.
Step 9
Clean, delete, or quarantine any possible threats that may be detected after completion of the scanning process.
Step 10
As an additional measure, websites providing online scanning algorithms may be visited in order to make sure that the system is already free from any adware component.
Step 11
Once the machine has been certified clean of any adware components, go to the Control Panel and select the 'Internet Options' category.
Step 12
In the 'Internet Properties' window, click on the 'Advanced' tab and click the 'Restore' button to remove residual damages. Also, inspect if the homepage and Trusted Sites Zone do not have any unwanted entries. Click on the 'OK' button to save the changes.
Step 13
Visit a reputable website and download a legitimate HOSTS file to make sure that any Internet activity will not be hijacked. This file will overwrite the existing copy in the local hard drive.
Step 14
Reboot the machine. After everything has loaded accordingly, check for updates to your protection software to make sure that the computer system is continuously protected from all existing adware components.