Your computer is at risk for not only computer viruses, email spam and computer worms, but also software that displays ads on your computer known as adware. Adware pops up on your screen while you are working in documents, programs and other files even when you are not surfing the Internet. Adware is mostly harmless and can be removed from your system by using a program specifically designed to rid your computer of the ads and block any new ads from being placed on your computer.
Lavasoft Ad-Aware is the best program for removing adware because it is not only an adware removal tool, but also watches for and prevents future infestations of adware and other unwanted programs from being installed on your computer. The program includes real-time monitoring of your system; a threat alert program that will tell you when adware is trying to be saved to your computer and if you are visiting a website that contains possible adware; and the program performs regular automatic updates so its library of adware threats is always up to date. Lavasoft Ad-Aware also checks your system's memory and removes any adware that is using system resources causing your computer to slow down.
Where to Find Lavasoft Ad-Aware
The program is available from the Lavasoft website for free to home users, but this version doesn't offer a way to schedule scans of your system and you can't scan any home network drives you may have connected to your computer. The free version of Lavasoft Ad-Ware is available at lavasoft.com. For business users, the program costs $275 as of October 2009 and includes licensing for 10 computers. Additional licenses are available. The business version is geared toward protecting a company's server and individual computers. Lavasoft Ad-Aware is also available in “Plus” and “Pro” versions for small businesses and home users who want the ability to set when the program should scan for adware and to scan a home or small business's network drives. The “Plus” version is about $27 (see Resources) and the “Pro” version about $40, and includes network drive scanning (prices as of October 2009).
Preparing Your Computer
Before installing any adware removal software on your system, backup any personal files, defragment the hard drive and perform a “Disk Cleanup” to remove any temporary Internet files and other unnecessary files. To perform a disk clean up, click “Start,” “My Computer” then right-click on your “C:\” drive. Scroll down and select “Properties.” Next, click on “Disk Cleanup.” When prompted with a question about removing temporary and other unnecessary files, click “Yes.” To perform a hard drive defragmentation, click “Start,” “My Computer” then right click on your “C:\” drive. Scroll down and select “Properties.” Next, click on the “Tools” tab then click on “Defragment Now...” Then click “Defragment” to start the process.
Adware Removal Without a Program
Once adware is on your system, there is no true way to remove it without some type of program. Adware usually disguises itself as another program or is completely hidden. If you choose not to install an adware removal tool, be aware of the websites you visit and don't open emails from unknown addresses. Also, if your system has a virus checker, keep it updated to stop any viruses that may be connected to any adware currently on your system.