If you know you have a spyware-infected computer, ridding your computer of it should be your first priority if you want to keep it running smoothly. Depending on what type of spyware has invaded your system, it can cause serious damage to your hard drive, many times without your knowledge. Removing spyware from your computer and making sure your computer is protected in the future can be done in a few fairly simple steps.
Step 1: Knowing Your Computer’s “Normal”
Knowing what normal looks like on your computer is useful in diagnosing the seriousness and depth of the problem. Go through the computer and write down the problems or signs of infection that your computer has been exhibiting; being re-directed to a home page you didn’t choose or constant pop ups when you are not online, for example. Sometimes the simplest clue is the biggest: your computer is running extremely slowly. Any or all of these problems can be signs that you have a spyware-infected computer.
Step 2: Diagnosing the Problem
Ad Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy are two great, free programs that do an excellent job scanning for, and then destroying, malware. Decide which product will work better for you, download it, then run the complete or full scan to determine what has gotten into your computer so you know what actions to take to fix the problem.
Step 3: Fixing Your Computer
After you have run the scan, you can use Spybot Search and Destroy or Ad Aware to completely destroy any malware or spyware that might have invaded your computer. These particular programs are specifically designed to search through your entire hard drive for any infections and then remove them. As this software is designed to do the job for you and should work quickly and efficiently, don’t worry if you’re not a computer geek. Once you have found and eliminated the spyware from your computer, restart your computer to make sure your system is clean. Re-running the scan to make sure it comes up with nothing, meaning the system is clean and safe again, is recommended.
These are just three simple steps for removing spyware from your computer and, while the likelihood of spyware causing catastrophic damage is small, it has been known to happen, with devastating consequences, including disabling your hard drive and making your computer worthless, for example. As a rule, if your computer is running slower than normal, web pages are not loading as quickly as they normally do, or if your homepage is not the one you set, your machine is probably infected. Following the steps to clean up your computer and make sure you’ve got it protected from future attacks will ensure that your computer runs at optimal performance levels for you.