How to Remove Spyware

Let's face it, the internet is a Mecca of pornography, viruses, and spyware, especially if you run a Windows computer. Spyware is on the loose as you are reading this. But fear not. From detection to extermination of viruses and spyware, it's all here.


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    Run Windows Update by either starting Internet Explorer and going to Tools>Windows Update, or click Start go to Run and paste this: %SystemRoot%\system32\wupdmgr.exe Windows Updates will ensure your PC is secured from known threats to the OS version. Restart if told to do so.
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    Download and install an antispyware program (such as Spybot Search and Destroy or Lavasoft Adawareor AVG Anti-Spyware). (See latest test results of how these and other anti spyware programs performed.)
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    Update definition files when prompted.
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    Restart in "Safe Mode"
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    Scan your machine (this could take a while).
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    Remove any spyware that is found.
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    Reboot your machine and scan again.
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    Scan with your Anti Virus program if your problems aren't completely gone. If you don't have any antivirus software, ask your ISP if they provide any. If so use theirs, if not, either purchase some or use AVG Free Antivirus
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    Download HijackThis if it's still not gone.
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    Run it, and save a log. Find a helpful online forum and post a HijackThis log in the correct section, and wait for directions on how to remove the malware off you computer.


  • Get a good antivirus AND antispyware. McAfee, Avast!, AdwarePro, and many others, are good softwares that can fight of spyware and viruses.
  • If you are extremely paranoid, try learning to use a non-Windows OS. A massive majority of spyware only targets Windows. Linux is typically safest.
  • Use both Spybot and Ad-Aware as they normally catch different things.
  • Download Firefox web browser and use it instead of Internet explorer. It is much more secure.
  • Many people think that using Firefox will prevent infections, this is not true. Firefox doesn't support ActiveX which is where many spyware infections from browsing websites come from. However, if you download software that installs spyware, using Firefox, Internet Explorer or any other browser won't matter, you'll get infected. Try to keep the mindset of "Nothing's free" if it's a free application, from a vendor you don't know specifically to be reputable, don't download it.
  • Another useful antispyware program is Windows Defender.
  • Be careful at the sites you browse. Sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are all good places to pick up spyware, even if you've got a great antivirus/antispyware. And while it may be tempting, try to avoid those sites.
  • Use Spybot's immunize feature to stop spyware from being compatible with your PC.
  • You can also restart your computer in safe mode and run the anti-spyware program from there. However, this is not recommended for the inexperienced user.
  • Avoid downloading .exe files except if it’s from a trusted site or well known company that distributes a certain application. .exe is an executable file (meaning they launch a program or setup). This applies especially for those who use p2p applications; users disguise .exe applications as mp3s or movie files, and when the downloader launches it the program claims to be extracting the files but instead it installs a bunch of bad programs!
  • If you are running windows XP, use the system restore feature to restore your system to an earlier date. If this works, you can save up on lots of energy. Make sure definition files are up to date.
  • Even popular sites can distribute spyware in there downloads, so always choose custom installation to know exactly what you’re installing. You can uncheck the files you don’t want.
  • Keep a firewall installed. A firewall makes it so that you must authorize programs to use the internet before they can get on. This way, if you install spyware, it cannot submit your personal information. Ask your ISP if they provide a firewall, if so use theirs. If not, either purchase one or use Zone Alarm.
  • If you use Internet Explorer, update your computer with Microsoft Update. MS Update fixes certain security holes in programs.


  • Do not download antispyware or antivirus software from a banner ad. It is almost certainly spyware or a virus and does not remove the spyware, but instead may install it.
  • Some adware supported programs do not work after the malware is removed from them.
  • Read the Terms of Service and End User License Agreement for all software you install. Some spyware mentions it collects your information in the TOS and EULA.
  • Be advised, some spyware binds to system files, and removing it may mess things up.
  • Some malware is hidden in software already on your computer. If it says its time to update it and to click on the ad. DO NOT!!!! This will release the virus.
  • Do NOT browse the internet when you have spyware. You can only pick up more spyware and/or viruses on the internet. If you must, only go on to trustworthy sites that do not have blogs, memberships, or any areas where it is possible to pick up something harmful to your computer. Disable your internet connection if the internet is addictive to you.
  • Do not download anything if your antivirus and/or antispyware says that the software is possibly unsafe. These are the most common ways you can get spyware on your computer.
  • Antivirus software is no substitute for Antispyware software and vice versa. Norton and McAfee catch some spyware, but the vast majority go undetected.
  • Set a system restore point before cleaning your box so that if removing spyware damages your machine, you can fix it easier.

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Categories: Spyware and Virus Protection