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Removing Adware and Spyware

What is Spyware

If your computer runs slower than normal, or you are constantly bombarded with popup ads, then your system probably has spyware installed. Spyware is a software that runs on your computer, and can do many types of things. Spyware can come in the form of a tracking cookie that informs its creator of which websites that you visit, or it can be a software that gets installed that serves popup ads to your computer to try to get you to visit other websites. Spyware can also be a software that gets installed to keep track of your keystrokes, which is called a keylogger. A keylogger is able to monitor every keystroke on your keyboard, and yes, this does mean that it can get your password to log into your bank account or other critical data. No matter what the spyware's purpose really is, the bottom line is that at the very least it will cause you countless hours of frustration and slow downs on your computer, but more than likely it's purpose is to sucker you into purchasing things that you don't need, or stealing financial data from you.

How Did I Get Spyware

Spyware can come to you by many different ways. It can come in the form of a tracking cookie simply by visiting a simple website. Most cookies are perfectly safe, and are not spyware. The most common way to receive spyware is by clicking on a popup ad that is telling you that you have spyware and that you must click their link to get rid of it. When you click this link, it can be maliciously installing spyware onto your computer. Another way to receive spyware is by visiting a site that installs an activeX control onto your machine automatically and without your knowledge. You can also pick up spyware and viruses if you download programs through Peer to Peer (P2P) software or file sharing networks if someone has altered those programs to be packaged with spyware. Another method that is becoming more common is that people are writing programs that say that they are for blocking popup ads or for blocking and removing spyware, and not known to you is that they are really installing more spyware. Popup blocker programs are a great tool, but just make sure that the software is from a reputable company. No matter where the spyware comes from, the most important thing is to be sure to get rid of it.

How Do I Remove Spyware

There are many different programs that you can buy that can detect and remove spyware. Norton Antivirus, PestPatrol, SpyCop, and SpySweeper are some of the best ones on the market. There are also some spyware removers that are free, but they are not up to date, and they will not get rid of all of your spyware. Some of the free spyware removers will even actually install more spyware on your computer.

Once you have the spyware remover software, run a complete scan on your system. The programs will be able to locate and delete most instances of spyware that is on your system. Sometimes the software will have parts of the program that are in use at the time of the scan, and they will require a reboot in order to remove the files from memory, and then another complete scan should be run to clean up any remaining files. You should also empty the recycle bin to delete any traces of the spyware that you may have deleted into the recycle bin so that the future scans will not pick up these files as well. If you are on a computer that has multiple profiles, you may have multiple "recycler" files in which you must remove files from.

What If The Spyware Won't Go Away

Sometimes spyware is a little more difficult to get rid of. These types will require special attention. After a spyware scan, write down the names of all of the spyware that just will not go away. Go to a reputable site like PestPatrol or Symantec and look up the spyware to find the manual removal instructions. Sometimes the removal instructions will require you to boot your computer into safe mode so that only required system resources start up with the computer, which may enable you to remove the spyware programs that will not remove with a normal scan because those spyware files were in use during a normal boot up.

The manual removal instructions may also include other items like manual deletion of files, manual changing or deletion of registry keys, or un-registering system dll (dynamic link library) files.

How Do I Register or Un-Register A System DLL File

To un-register a dll file you need to click on the Start button. Then click Run. Type regsvr32 -u (ie: regsvr32 -u C:WINDOWSsystem32xceedzip.dll)

To register a dll file you need to click on the Start button. Then click Run. regsvr32 (ie: regsvr32 C:WINDOWSsystem32xceedzip.dll)

Finnishing Up

Once you finnish with the manual instructions you should reboot your computer, and run another complete system spyware scan. Once you have finally performed a complete system spyware scan and no spyware was found, then you will probably want to perform some preventative maintenance on your comptuer to help to restore your system to the full speeds that you had before the spyware intrusion.

How Can I Prevent Myself From Getting Spyware

Do not click on popup advertisements. Never download anything that you are not sure of. Do not click on links in an email that is not from a known trusted source. Perform regular spyware and virus scans on a weekly basis or whatever time frame works best for you. Warn other users of your computer of these same preventative measures, and your computer will provide you with years of fun and useful experiences.

Mike Mendenhall is the CEO of Simplified Office Solutions, Inc.

Related Links:

Countering the Spread of Spyware on Your Computer

Spyware Symptoms

Keeping Your Computer Spyware Free for Free

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