Getting stubborn adware and spyware from your computer takes time and persistence. Luckily, there are certain steps you can take to make adware removal easier and more efficient.

If your system is heavily infected, you will need access to a clean computer to download the necessary tools. If you don’t have a second computer, ask a friend to download the appropriate tools to a USB drive. If you plan to use a USB drive, make sure that both your computer and your friend’s computer have disabled autorun .

This guide applies to Windows 10.

Disconnect from the Internet

The first thing you should do is close all open browser windows and applications (including email) and disconnect your computer from the Internet. If you are connected to the Internet with an Ethernet cable, simply unplug the cable from your computer.

If you’re connected via Wi-Fi, here’s how to turn it off:

  1. Type «network» into the search bar and select » Network Status» from the list of options.

    Windows 10 search bar with keyword
  2. Select WiFi .

    Windows 10 network status page
  3. Press the switch button to turn off Wi-Fi.

    Wi-Fi settings in Windows 10

Try the standard delete

A surprising number of applications labeled as adware and spyware have fully functioning uninstallers that will uninstall the program without issue. Before moving on to more advanced steps, check the «Add/Remove Programs» list in the panel management Windows . If there is an unwanted program in the list, highlight it and select » Delete» . After removing adware or spyware, restart your computer.

Scanning your computer

Once you’ve disconnected from the Internet, removed any adware or spyware listed in Add/Remove Programs, and restarted your computer, the next step is to run a full system scan using the latest virus scanner. Run a scan at safe mode, if your antivirus program allows it.

If you don’t have an antivirus program installed, consider choosing one of these top rated virus scanners . Allow it cleanse, isolate or remove depending on the situation.

When you use adware or antivirus software, remember to always update your database of potential viruses before you start. New viruses can appear daily, and quality ad protection tools provide updated support regularly.

Use a spyware removal program

Many good tools for spyware removal available for free. For example , Malware Bytes is a popular option that does a great job of removing malware — rogue software that hijacks your computer and tries to scare you into buying “protection.”

Get clear access to the problem

While it is good practice to scan your system in safe mode, it may not be enough to prevent some malware. If adware or spyware persists despite all the above efforts, you need to access the drive preventing adware or spyware from being loaded. The most efficient way to gain clean access to a drive is to use BartPE boot CD . After booting from the BartPE CD, you can access the file manager, find the installed antivirus, and rescan the system. Or find corrupted files and folders and delete them manually.

Cancel residual damage

After removing an active infection, make sure that the adware or spyware won’t simply reintegrate when the computer comes back online. Reload your browser start and home pages before reconnecting. Make sure your HOSTS file has not been hacked, and make sure that unwanted websites have not been added to your Trusted Sites zone.

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