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Anti Spy/Ad Ware Programs


These pests are the biggest annoyances facing most users, other than some normal frustration with programs that act up from time to time.

They often deluge a user with popups, or change one's homepage, or takeover some of the functions of the web browser - sometimes providing bogus information.

One of the rather regrettable things displayed to users are fake warnings and directives to purchase something to ease the problem. Unfortunately, people wind up buying a program to remove ads, and all they get is an ad delivery program.


If the machine is not real useable, then you may have to download some tools on another pc, burn a cd, and then bring the program to the crippled machine. In some cases, it is best to start the pc in Safe Mode (restart the pc, and before any Windows logo press the F8 key once per second to get to the startup menu - then choose Safe Mode). Then install the program and clean.

Our top2 recommendations are Adaware, which is obtainable at and SpySweeper from Another top candidate is SpyBot from

Adaware and Spybot are both free, which is one reason they have a good following. SpyBot also has a memory resident portion which can fend off many spyware attacks. Adware has a purchasable product which includes realtime in-memory protection.

Spysweeper provides a fully functional program for 30 days, but then becomes disabled. Purchasing the program does not give rights forever, but only a license for product and definition updates for a year. Despite those limitations SpySweeper does a great job, and may well be useful even during "just" a free 30 day use. It also offers in-memory real time protection.

Another comprehensive scanner is Ewido, which likewise disables itself after 30 days. Available here: As they have been bought by Grisoft we'll have to see what developments happen, but one so far is a free to use
online scanner:

Finally, what kind of infestations happen? If someone has adware/spyware on their


pc, they will likely have 10 or more programs. We often see more than 20. The most we have ever seen is 65 different families of adwares, and higher than 30 or 40 is not uncommon.

What this means is that often more than one tool is needed to clean things off. In addition, there may be a need for rather specialized programs to repair netsock LSP problems, and Browser Help Objects.

Additional Tools

To these ends, tools such as HijackThis, LSPFIX, and Intermute's CWShredder might be necessary. BUT PLEASE, have someone knowledgeable use them or else you could do deep damage to your pc, such that reinstalling Windows would be necessary.