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Spyware / Adware / Highjacks
Far too common a problem

Unless you know how to avoid it and/or combat it, you probably have it on your computer.  If you do know about it and scan for it, if you haven't scanned in a while, you probably have something new on your PC.  Just about every PC has something that fits this category running on the PC, eating up resources, or worse yet, spying on your activity, collecting data from you. 

What's the purpose of Spyware?  Why do they do it?  Big Money.  Or at least the potential for Big money.  Lets face it.  There are gullible people out there.  People who will read that pop-up message, maybe even buy something.  The large majority of people will not.  But with millions of PCs out there, the odds are the scumbags that hired the scumbag script writers or programmers will make a few bucks.  While Microsoft is making some progress in fixing the incredible number of security holes in their operating systems, every computer running one of the flavors of Windows, including the latest operating systems from Microsoft, will be affected by Spyware or Adware.

 

So how do you remove Spyware?

Like it or not, Spyware is a huge industry.  Fortunately there are many great products on the market designed to combat spyware.
 

Here are our top picks:

Spybot Search and Destroy
Detects and removes spyware of different kinds (dialers, loggers, trojans, user tracks) from your computer. Blocks ActiveX downloads, tracking cookies and other threats. Scans for over 38,000 objects using detection definitions that are updated frequently. It also provides detailed information about found problems.  Cost is FREE with donations accepted (please donate to their cause if you like the product).
More information including links and tips for using the program.

 

Ad-Aware SE Personal

Ad-Aware Personal provides advanced protection from known data-mining, aggressive advertising, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers, and tracking components. This software is downloadable free of charge.

More information including links and tips for using the program.
 

Hijack This

HijackThis: A general homepage hijackers detector and remover. Initially based on the article Hijacked!, but expanded with a lot of other checks against hijacker tricks. It is continually updated to detect and remove new hijacks. It does not target specific programs/URLs, just the methods used by hijackers to force you onto their sites. As a result, false positives are imminent, and unless you are sure what you're doing, you should always consult with knowledgeable folks (e.g. the forums) before deleting anything.

More information including links and tips for using the program.
 
   

Other Popular Tools:

 

Common Causes of a slow PC
So what causes a PC to run slow?  There are many causes. Read about some of the most common here.
Editing the Registry
The Registry is a database of nearly all the settings for Windows operating system and most of your installed applications. Learn how to edit and clean it yourself.
Removing Spyware
Unless you know how to avoid it and/or combat it, you probably have it on your computer.
Removing Viruses
Learn about viruses and find out how to scan and remove them for Free.

Removing Browser Highjacks
Detects and removes spyware and Browser Highjacks with some great programs.
Top Ten ways to keep your PC healthy
Read our list of the top ten things you can do you keep your computer clean and free from the most common threats to happy computing.
Why Am I Getting All This Spam?
Every day, millions of people receive dozens of unsolicited commercial e-mails, known popularly as "spam." What can you do about it?
Free Online Virus and Spyware Scanning Services
Site Owners - Encode Your Email Address
Test Your Bandwidth with Online Speed Tests