Detecting Adware on Your Computer

by Barbara J. Feldman on June 26, 2009

Determining whether or not your computer has been infected with adware or spyware and, if it’s in your system, how to get rid of it, is one of the biggest computer problems today. Some programs are very annoying but do little harm, if any, to your system, while others have been known to be extremely hostile as they create identity hazards and deceit on the internet. Besides annoying, adware and spyware can prove to be a dangerous threat to your computer system. If you’re not sure whether or not your system is infected, or what to do if you know it is infected, here’s a primer to help you detect, and get rid of, adware on your computer:

Whether or not you have special software to detect adware on your computer, if your computer’s running slower than normal and you suspect it’s infected, there are other ways to detect adware or spyware on your computer.

Here are two easy ways you can detect adware without software:

Check your cookies every day to detect any type of adware or spyware on your computer. This is something you should do regularly anyway as your computer stores cookies, which take up space on your computer and will slow down your internet connection, sometimes drastically. Cookies also tell other advertising companies which pop up ads to send to your computer based on the web sites you visit. It’s best for security and optimal computer system performance to delete your cookies daily but, if you don’t want to do this, you can delete specific cookies that contain adware thereby eliminating the threat. You don’t have to download anything or have to be a computer whiz to do it. To delete cookies in Firefox: Tools(toolbar, top of your webpage on the left)–>Options–>Privacy–>Show Cookies–>Delete All Cookies. To delete cookies in Internet Explorer: Tools–>Internet Options–>(Under ‘Browsing History’) Delete–>Delete Temporary Files, Cookies and History. This will clean up your computer, free precious space and eliminate the threats of adware and spyware.

Keep a close eye on the pop up advertisements you get on your computer. Most people know that spyware and adware can cause several pop up ads every time you’re connected to the internet, but most don’t understand which ones are threatening to their computer system. If you notice pop up ads coming onto your computer’s desktop when you’re not even connected to the internet, your computer is infected by spyware or adware. It is important to rid your computer of spyware in order for your system to perform at optimal speed.

Of course the best way to keep adware off of your computer is to prevent it from getting on in the first place. Prevention is always a better than trying to fix a problem once it’s there.

Here are some ways to keep your computer adware free:

Stay away from Microsoft Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer has more security holes than other browsers and Microsoft is slower at detecting issues and creating patches for the holes than other browser manufacturers.

Use a firewall. XP and Vista have firewalls built-in though you want to go into your Control Panel (Start–>Control Panel–>Security Center) to make sure your firewall is on. If you use DSL or broadband for your internet connection your router probably contains a firewall; you just have to make sure it’s turned on, which is usually automatic. If you need a firewall, Best Buy, Wal-Mart and other retailers have them for $20-$60.

Use anti-adware software to search out hidden adware and spyware on your computer. You can download free versions from the internet. Spybot Search and Destroy is just one of the many available software programs.

Learn how to detect adware on your computer so you can be proactive in the fight to keep your computer clean and free from viruses. If you do find adware on your computer take action immediately. If you can’t fix it yourself then try finding a technician that can either show you how to do it, or do it for you.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Detecting Adware on Your Computer." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 26 Jun. 2009. Web. 13 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1436/detecting-adware-on-your-computer/ >.