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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Grand Rapids, MI
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    Post The Getting Rid of Spyware HOWTO


    This guide below is quite old and I have not updated it in a long time. I would recommend everyone check out this guide instead as it is updated more frequently and is much more accurate today. Thanks!


    I have seen lots of questions around here regarding spyware, browser infections, and adware. I thought I would post this guide for getting rid of all these problems.

    1. Download programs
    2. Removing browser annoyances
    3. Removing messenger problems
    4. Removing general adware
    5. Protecting yourself

    1.) Download Programs
    There are number of programs that remove adware and the like, but the following have proved to be the most reliable:

    *Updated 20.08.2008 - Ingoal*

    Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
    Lavasoft's Ad-aware - Good for removing general spyware. The old favorite.
    Spybot - Search & Destroy - Excellant program for removing spyware. The current favorite.
    HiJackThis - Good for removing browser infections such as toolbars, annoying home pages that wont' go away, and more.

    *Updated 20.08.2008 - Ingoal*

    2.) Removing browser annoyances
    If your browser is infected with any of the following:

    • Search Toolbar's
    • Home Pages that won't change
    • Etc,....

    then please install HiJackThis. Once you have it installed follow the instructions below:
    1. Close ALL open IE Windows and Windows Explorer windows.
    2. Start the program.
    3. Click the scan button.
    4. Click save log. Save the file to your desktop
    5. Post the log file here or at Spyware Info Forums.
    6. We can look through the log file to tell you what to remove.
    7. Once we tell you what to remove, open the program and run the scan again.
    8. Check the boxes next to the lines we tell you to.
    9. Then click Fix Checked. The problems should fe fixed!

    3. Removing messenger problems
    Do you often get messages poping up asking you to buy a college diploma? If you get these messages that have the title "Messenger" then follow these steps to stop them:

    1. Click Start > Run
    2. Type services.msc
    3. Find the service named Messenger
    4. Right click and click Properties
    5. Where is says "Startup Type:" select Disabled from the list.
    6. Click OK.
    7. Close the Services window.

    The Messenger service is now stopped. This is the service that allows spammers and such to send messages to your PC. Disabling it will prevent them from using it to message you.

    4.) Removing general adware
    First, download the programs mentioned in step 1. You may be asking do I need both? Not really, but to be most effective it works best if you use both. I personally run Spybot first then Ad-aware second just to be sure.

    Running Spybot:
    1. Start the program
    2. It may display a warning about Ad-aware being installed. You can safely ignore this. All it says is that Ad-aware has a quarentine folder where it moves adware that may be detected by Spybot.
    3. Click Search for Updates to update Spybot to the latest spyware definitions.
    4. Once that is done, select Spybot S&D from the side.
    5. Click Search & Destroy.
    6. Then click Check for Problems at the bottom.
    7. Click the Fix Selected Problems button at the bottom.
    8. Click yes.
    9. You are now done and can close the program.

    Running Ad-aware:

    1. Open the program and look in the bottom right corner and click on Check for updates and download the latest reference files.
    2. In the main window click Start then Activate in-depth scan.
    3. Click on Use custom scanning options and then click on Customize and select the following options:
      • Under Drives and Folders put a check by "Scan within archives" and below that under Memory and Registry put a check by all five options.
      • Next click on the Tweak button in that same window.
      • Under Scanning engine select "Unload recognized processes during scanning"
      • Under Cleaning Engine select "Let windows remove files in use at next reboot"

    4. Click on Proceed to save your settings.
    5. Now click on the Next button.
    6. When the scan is finished, right click in the window and choose select all from the drop down menu and then click on Next, when you have finished reboot.

    Thanks to MildSeven for these directions

    Your PC should now be free of Spyware.

    5. Protecting yourself
    What can your do to protect yourself? Install a firewall. A firewall will prevent outsiders from installing adware on your PC without you knowing about it. Some good firewalls are below:

    Sygate Personal Firewall

    Also, be sure to run Ad-aware, and Spybot once a month or so. If your PC starts to run funny, the first thing I do is run both of those programs. Also, be smart, if your downloading of Kazaa, then there is a good chance you could get infected. Another easy way to get infected is to use Internet Explorer. Many sites automatically install junk just by visiting them if your are using IE. I recommend using Mozilla Firefox or Opera.

    This concludes the guide. If you have any comments, suggestions, or anything else to say let me know!.


    Last edited by Ingoal; Aug 20, 2008 at 08:10.


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