Removing Adware From Your Computer: A Step-By-Step Guide

Do you have continuous pop ups and advertisements bombarding your computer system? If you answered ‘yes’, you have adware on your computer. Most adware is harmless to your computer and just plain irritating to you. However, there are some types of adware that can, and do, track your movements online then sell your information to third parties, unbeknownst to you. Here are step-by-step adware removal instructions for your computer so you can return to pop-up- and ad-free, or nearly so, surfing.

Adware has become cash cow in the internet business. Advertisers pay software companies a lot of money to design software that will create online advertisements and pop ups so they can capture your internet habits without your consent, then either “customize” content to your likes and dislikes or sell your information to third parties or both. Avoid pop ups and online ads by being extremely careful about what you download and which websites you visit. Of course, if your computer is already infected with adware, you can follow these simple steps to get rid of it.

Step 1: Find the problems

In order to rid your system of adware, you have to know what you’re looking for and where to find it. If you know your way around a PC, or Mac, you can go through the programs file and operating system on your PC and delete files you don’t recognize along with temporary files and temporary internet files. Re-boot your computer and check to make sure the files you removed are gone. De-fragmenting your system, running disk clean up and running scan disk on your system are also regular maintenance tasks which you should perform post-deletion.

Step 2: Scan your computer

There are several different free and free-to-try adware removal software programs on the market, most of which offer a free version to try prior to actually purchasing it. The home version of Ad-Aware, for example, is free, easy to use and very thorough. As you’re reviewing software, look for software that has a real time component or a manual scan option. Real time keeps adware from attaching itself to the operating system, and using a manual option gives you the option of running the program at your leisure or scheduling scans.

Step 3: Scan and Destroy

Once you’ve determined which software program best suits your needs, you can begin to remove the adware from your computer. Scan your computer using the most thorough scan option available. The scan will go into your PCs hard drive and seek out any adware that has attached itself to your operating system. Once the problem or infected files are removed, restart your computer and run the scan again to make sure your system is clean. It’s also a good idea to disconnect from the internet so that the adware cannot attach itself to its host site. If you don’t have a program that will continually check for adware and spyware software, it’s a good idea to get one. These are also available for free. Several of the newer Microsoft systems, including XP and Vista, have firewalls and anti-virus programs built into them. You can check your files manually but that is an impractical practice especially since you can get anti-virus software for free. Your absolute last resort, if nothing else works, is reformatting your computer but this requires technical skills, lest you destroy your computer.

These simple steps for removing adware from your computer should take care of most simple adware problems. If you’re not a computer geek and can’t seem to get rid of the adware that has attached itself to your computer, you may need to look to a professional computer technician for help.

Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Removing Adware From Your Computer: A Step-By-Step Guide." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 1 Jul. 2009. Web. 3 Sep. 2015. < >.

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By . Originally published July 1, 2009. Last modified July 1, 2009.