Adware, or advertising software, is downloaded onto your computer to display a variety of advertisements ranging from non-invasive banners to very invasive pop-up windows that pop up frequently, regardless of what you’re doing on your computer, hence their name. If you know your system has been invaded by adware, removing if from your computer should be a top priority to minimize any potential damage. Let’s take a closer look at what adware is, what it can do to your computer and how you can remove it from your computer.
Why does adware exist and what does it do to your computer?
Adware, a marketing tool created by freeware design companies, is used to increase sales and revenue while trying to garner support for development of their programs. Companies pay freeware marketers to display their ads as part of their program, thus anyone who downloads a freeware program gets it free because it is “sponsored” by an advertising entity in exchange for free marketing. When you try a program for free and then buy the full version if you like it, they have successfully captured a market share, thus recouping the money spent on the free version.
That doesn’t sound too bad right? It doesn’t sound like spyware, which elicits personal information without your knowledge and sells it to a third party. So what exactly does adware do and why is it harmful to your computer system? Adware runs in the background of your freeware programs to show you advertisements and will sometimes monitor the web sites you visit in order to create a user profile for you. The profile that is created will then be used to tailor specific advertisements you see to meet needs based on sites you’ve visited and results of searches you’ve done. One of the dangers of adware, however, is that the information it collects in your profile can be, and often is, sold to third parties. Sometimes the small print warns consumers about this practice but most of the time it is not mentioned. Adware can also slow down your computer’s performance, sometimes drastically; it can also destabilize your system. For these two crucial reasons, most people choose to remove adware and, once it’s removed, take steps to make sure it won’t happen again.
You, too, can remove adware from your computer
Now that you have a better understanding of what adware is and what it can do to your computer, how do you get rid of it? You can remove adware from your computer two different ways, manually or by using an anti-adware program.
If you are familiar with computers and their functions and if you know that some of the programs in your system are adware, you can try and remove them manually. The most dangerous types of adware will not show up in your program files as their intent is malicious but, in theory, you should be able to identify harmless but annoying adware programs in your system’s programs list. If you use Windows, you can go to your control panel and select the Add/Remove Programs function. You will then see a list of programs; click on the programs you know or believe to be adware and click “remove.” Restart your computer after you have removed all the adware programs and check to make sure they have all been deleted.
Unfortunately, removing adware is usually not this easy. Do a search for free anti-virus scanners/programs such as Ad-Aware, which will detect adware, spyware, Trojans and worms. Download it then exit all browser windows you are running including your email and disconnect from the internet. Run a scan; it will look for any suspicious files on your computer, describing them as it goes. It will ask you if you want to remove or quarantine viruses found. Restart your computer and then run the scan again to make sure you have removed all the adware files.
There are some adware programs that can cause major damage to your computer so removing adware form your computer quickly, whether you do it or pay someone else to do it, is always the best choice.