3 Easy Ways to Remove Adware

Janis von Bleichert

Although not as dangerous as ransomware or Trojans, adware is undoubtedly one of the most annoying types of malware. In this guide, we'll show you three easy ways to remove adware from your system, none of which involve smashing your computer with a hammer or any other extreme measures.

Option #1: Uninstall the Culprit

In the 'best' cases, removing adware can be as easy as uninstalling the program which is causing the pop-ups and ads to appear in the first place. Particularly if such ads have just started, quickly uninstalling the software which opened your system's figurative door to them can rid you of the nuisance.

1. Open Control Panel, click on Programs and Features, and navigate to the third column ("Installed On"), sorting the programs by date.

If you're lucky, the program responsible for the digital nuisance can be quickly found and neutralized.

2. Search for suspicious programs on the list that have been installed recently (likely those which you don't remember installing).

3. If you're unsure of a program's authenticity, you can search for it by name in a search engine to find out more.

4. Once you've found the culprit (or culprits) click on the program (or programs) and select Uninstall/Change, following the instructions to remove it. After it's been removed, you can check whether the adware problems you were experiencing have also disappeared.

Option #2: Install Malwarebytes AdwCleaner

Should simply uninstalling the suspicious program not have done the trick, or if you couldn't find any likely culprits, the next step involves calling in the cavalry. One of the most well-known (and free) adware removal tools is AdwCleaner from Malwarebytes. All you'll need are a few seconds to download and install the program before you can start hunting adware on your system.

1. After installation, click on Scan in the program's interface.

AdwCleaner is easy to use and self-explanatory.

2. Once the scan is complete, you'll be able to see what was found, and can quarantine dubious programs or files. Before doing this, make sure that you save anything you've been working on since AdwCleaner will automatically close all programs and stop all processes.

Any element which appears suspicious or threatening will appear in the scan's results.

3. Once the selected files have been quarantined, you'll only need to restart your computer to complete the process.

AdwCleaner wraps up its activities after you restart your computer.

4. If desired, you can also view the quarantine logs, or restore certain files or elements which were quarantined by accident. Should you believe your system to now be adware free, and want to uninstall the program, simply click on Settings> Remove AdwCleaner.

Mission accomplished? Feel free to uninstall the program.

AdwCleaner is great for helping to reclaim your system after adware has already infected it, and does nearly all of the heavy lifting for you. On the other hand, it doesn't do much to help you from getting infected with adware in the first place. For this, you'll need real-time protection, as offered by most antivirus suites.

Option #3: Real-time Protection With Antivirus Software

So, you're ready to bring out the big guns in your crusade against adware? Antivirus programs don't only sniff out dangerous malware, but also unwanted programs, such as adware. Beyond that, they also warn you about threats before they can even burrow onto your system. Sounds great, but which one is the best?

We at EXPERTE.com reviewed 11 of the most popular solutions in our comprehensive antivirus software evaluation, putting them through the hoops so that you'd be able to find the option best suited to your needs.

In our convenient comparison calculator below, you can filter programs based on your needs, and find the ideal antivirus software:

Special Protection Features
Premium Features
Number of Devices

Conclusion

Getting rid of adware can be very easy, or very tricky, depending on what type your system has fallen victim to. Should simply uninstalling the program responsible not do the trick, there are a number of solutions, both free and at cost, available for reclaiming your digital domain and making sure that you don't contract it, or any of its ilk, in the future.

As with most things in life: Prevention can spare you a good amount of headaches. When surfing the net, stay away from insecure sites, 'free' downloads of programs or games that seem too good to be true, or email attachments from people you don't know.

FAQs

How can I identify adware?
Adware is the type of malware that makes its presence most clearly and unmistakably known, namely, by generating advertisements, such as pop-ups, which make your system noticeably slower.

Is adware dangerous?
As far as malware is concerned, adware is perhaps the least dangerous, albeit, the most annoying. In certain cases, it can also be 'legitimate' as the 'cost' for using certain free software.

How can I remove adware?
In most cases, all you'll have to do is uninstall the program responsible from your system. With tools such as AdwCleaner from Malwarebytes, you can also scan your computer for adware, removing whatever is found. Real-time protection, which comes standard with all antivirus programs, helps to prevent adware from making its way onto your computer in the first place.

Is AdwCleaner safe?
Yes! AdwCleaner was developed by Malwarebytes, a highly-reputable cybersecurity company. Make sure that you download the program directly from its developer.

Author Janis von Bleichert
Janis von Bleichert studied business informatics at the TU Munich and computer science at the TU Berlin, Germany. He has been self-employed since 2006 and is the founder of EXPERTE.com. He writes about hosting, software and IT security.
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