Spyware, Adware, Malware, Badware....whatever
you choose to call it, it's a problem. Chances
are that you or someone you know has or will experience
some sort of 'ware' infection on a computer and
it can be frustrating. Some of the signs
that a computer might be infected by spyware or
include a slower than normal computer,
homepage has been changed and you didn't change
it, excessive popups, browser search page has
be hijacked, higher than normal phone bill etc...
Read on for general instructions on how to remove
all your personal data.
- Download,install and update anti-spyware
software - here you have two choices,
you can download
no-cost spyware remover software or you can
anti-spyware. (If you don't have up-to-date
anti-virus software you can get
zero cost anti-virus software here, or purchase
If you are a home user and you are going to
use anti-spyware software I recommend
using four programs to clean an infected computer.
These are not in any specific order. SpyBot
Search & Destroy - anti-spyware software,
- Personal Edition - anti-spyware software,
Defender (WinXP) - anti-spyware software
and finally HiJackThis.
(For more information about running HiJackThis
here.) In my experience, I have found
that running all of these programs simultaneously
will remove most, if not all spyware/adware.
- Download, install and update a personal
here to learn what a firewall is, and how
to turn on the Windows XP firewall.
- Download, install, update and run anti-virus
software if you haven't already. (If any
viruses are found remember to turn
off system restore then remove the virus.)
- Use Windows
Update to make sure your operating system
and browser are up-to-date with the latest
- Disconnect from the Internet and run the
anti-spyware software in safe mode and remove
any critical items found. For
information on how to start a computer in
safe mode - click here.
- While still in safe mode, run msconfig
and search the start-up menu for suspicious
start-up items. Use this
link to look up the process name and remove
- Reboot the computer in normal mode and run
the anti-spyware applications again.
- Reconnect to the Internet and see check
to see if there are any signs
Not all Spyware can be removed easily. It takes
patience and persistence to remove some of the
most stubborn infections.
As a last resort you can reinstall
but, if you choose this solution you
will lose all of your data stored on the hard
Once your computer is spyware-less, keep it that
way by not visiting questionable websites, verifying
that the software you are about to download
does not contain spyware (always read the EULA (End User
License Agreement) before you install any
software), and do not open email attachments from
Also - use a more secure web browser such as Mozilla
to help prevent infections in the