Free Spyware Removal - Its Not As Easy As It Sounds
Nobody wants to pay to remove spyware. At the very least, I don't. The blasted stuff shouldn't be on my computer anyway, so what ever would make me want to shell out cash to get rid of something that I shouldn't have in the first place?
Spyware removal tools come in many different forms, and from many different places. Lavasoft's Ad-Aware is from Sweden, and Spybot: Search and Destroy is from Germany, I think. (Their error messages come up in German, so I have to assume..)
Purchasing adware removal software can even be dangerous, so to speak. If you're buying it from a pop-up then more than likely you're just lining the pockets of the person that infected your machine in the first place. I've had many infested machines have icons for spyware removers magically appear on the desktop. Of course, if you want to actually clean anything, you have to shell out some dough.
If you're going to go it alone, for free, then there are a few tools you'll need. The first is Ad-Aware, as mentioned above. Spybot: S&D is a second excellent choice. The third, and much more advanced (and therefore difficult to use) spyware remover is HijackThis. Almost all scanners will miss various adware items, simply because there is so much produced nowadays so quickly. It's impossible to keep up.
Once you have the aforementioned software downloaded, installed, and updated then you're going to want to boot to safe mode. Why not scan now immediately? Cause the adware is still running. You can't delete a file that's in use. That said, safe mode is less effective than it used to be, but it still may work.
To get to safe mode: Reboot the machine, press F8 repeatedly once it restarts until a menu comes up that has "safe mode" listed. Select it, and press enter. Windows will load nothing but the essentials.
As soon as safe mode is loaded then go ahead and do a full system scan with Ad-Aware and Spybot or whatever you happen to have. Following that, reboot and see how your computer runs. If it still has issues, then HijackThis will be neccesary. In order to use this tool, you'll need to have a pretty good grasp on what should and shouldn't be loading in startup, as well as a grasp of what Browser Help Objects you need. (Technically, none, but some software you have installed may use them)
You can get HijackThis help, but if it eludes you then you really should have an experienced user have at it.
Kevin Souter is a full time computer repair technician, and runs sites in his spare time dispensing his knowledge on free spyware removal and computer repair.
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