How To Remove SpyWare, AdWare Clean and Fix Windows

Recently my company gave me a laptop to use for work. It was riddled with SpyWare and AdWare. The instant I fired up IE the Virus and SpyWare would trigger up and redirect me to some random ad laden web page requesting me to download even more SpyWare. Since reinstalling the OS was not an option I had to clean up the system on my own somehow. I am listing a bunch of software that you’ll need before we proceed.

  1. Avast or AVG (Get the Free Versions)
  2. AdAware (Get the free Version)
  3. CCleaner
  4. AutoRuns
  5. ProcessExplorer
  6. FireFox

Update Window

The first step is to make sure your windows is updated with the latest security patches and fixes. If you are running Windows XP make sure you have installed Service Pack 2. Once you are done installing service pack 2 you should run Windows update and get the latest patches. Another alternative is to use AutoPatcher this is a utility which will download all the required patches and security fixes from Microsoft and store it in a folder on your system which you can later reuse to apply to other computers that you need to update.

Run A Full Scan Using AntiVirus and AntiSpyware Softwares.

There are a number of free AntiVirus software I have for now listed two of them. Virus can do all sorts of weird things to your computer. For example on my laptop the virus disabled the “View Hidden Files” option, even though I checked the option it would reset it back, it also set a number of scheduled tasks in my Task Scheduler to call a number of different copies of the Virus. Run a full scan of the system. Next run a Anti-SpyWare software I highly recommend AdAware.

A Virus Infected Tasks list
AVG Virus Scan With Detected Viruses

Clean Up Your Start Up Items.

Most SpyWare and Virus configure your start up items to run the Virus when you boot up or log into your system. Use the MsConfig tool in windows to check which items are being loaded at start up. If you see any suspicious looking entries uncheck them also identify which file is being called and manually delete it. Sometime this might not work like in my case I had to log into widows using safe mode (When Windows is booting up press F8 you will see an option to load windows under safe mode) and delete the offending file. Use the process explorer tool to see if the processing running on your system are all legitimate. Also use AutoRuns to delete any entries that look suspicious especially DLL that are unsigned and have random looking names.

Clean Up And Optimise Your System.

There are a number of tools that can clean your system of unwanted and unused temporary files and registry entries. One of the best tools that I have found so far is CCleaner which provides a number of advanced options to clean up your system. Try to keep the number of items that start up when you boot the system to a minimum.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure.

Better safe than sorry. Ditch IE period and get FireFox. Run an Anti-Virus software and do a full scan periodically. Also do a full Anti-SpyWare scan periodically. Also scan external drives like thumb drives and external hard disk when you connect it to the computer.

13 Responses

good information for removing the spyware

Very nice tips. Thanks a lot for sharing them.

@Aj: There is something wierd about your site and i think it has got to do with Safari compatibility. When I get to your site, certain portions of the text keep repeating itself within the excerpt and therefore renders the post useless to read. The problem seems to disappear one click the ‘Read More’ button. Im sending you a snapshot of the problem to your email id.
Does anyone else have the problem?

Nice . AVG is rocking since it had joined with Ewido and using their spyware technology. Don’t go for AVAST, coz its not like before, their definitions are very weak and not working well. AVAST rating has been down to 13th place whereas AVG stands in 4th place.
CCleaner is another best utility a must for every system to clean unwanted junks, caches, cookies etc.

I’m sorry, but nowadays, spyware and adware propagates so fast now, it outruns the ability of anti-malware vendors to update the malware definitions. I have to say that as soon as you’re infected, there’s no way to completely remove them just of the sheer fact that malware has become more advanced. If you have become infected, you can only format and reinstall windows and then try not to do things that get you infected.

Nine out of ten occasions I’ve faced a problem like this, I’ve resorted to reloading of OS. Here is a much detailed drill. I’ll remember this next time I face a problem like this.



I would like to recommend spyware terminator and pc tool firewall in the above list..both are distributed as Free for personal use recently.

If it was crap preinstalled with the system (like with most laptops when they are new) i would run Decrapifier, it will delete all the norton, toolbar and other promotional crap from your computer.

May I suggest that you add to your list ‘Rootkit revealer’ free from Sysinternals which, as the name suggests, reveals if there are any rootkits on the system. These could hide some trojans etc. and won’t show in msconfig or be found by AVG or Adaware. If you find any get Ice Sword (a nice free utility) to get rid of them.

Process Explorer is definitely a big savior for me to really undestand which process is going crazy. I really like the feature where you can even see the # of threads and context switch for a particular process.

Useful tutorial :) Nice blog.

i want to know that

Hi Arpit I think you have explained it very well buddy . I was reading your blog from last few months but may be this is my first comment here .