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Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - Speed Up and Free your PC

Today we are going to tell you about some of the best Spyware remover programs available for you to download, how to use those programs, and also how to monitor processes which are running on your computer to establish if the processes are a security risk or not. After you're finished with this guide your PC will be free of Spyware and running the way it should without any nasty programs running in the background chewing up your computer performance and violating your privacy.
@camwilmot
Cameron Wilmot
Published Thu, Oct 14 2004 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:26 PM CDT
Manufacturer: none

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - Introduction

IntroductionI am often asked by friends and family what is the best way to speed up their PC. I'll get questions and comments such as "All of a sudden my computer feels so slow, what can I do to get it back to normal?" or "I had a party on the weekend and friends used my PC, now it is slow...". The easy way out would be to tell them to format their PC and start from scratch but that is not always possible due to the time it takes and it just might not be feasible for each individual person.Instead of taking the easy way out doing the format and reinstall of your OS, one of the key things I always look for is Spyware as it is said by many sources that 9 out of 10 computers which are connected to the Internet are infected with some type of Spyware - and I'd believe it. Now you're probably wondering what is Spyware aka adware, malware, trackware, scumware, thiefware, snoopware and sneakware? Basically Spyware are hidden stealth-like programs that run in the background which make money for their publishers (usually who offer freeware software, cheap software or advertising for adult-related websites) by reporting how you surf the Web and even sending back personal details such as name and e-mail addresses without you usually knowing what is happening.For example, you'll see Spyware in freeware or cheap software which is supported by advertising (known as Adware), such as peer-to-peer software like Imesh and Kazaa. You might even get your computer infected with Spyware by opening up a spam email or visiting a website with bad advertising style intentions such as warez-related websites. Some publishers pass on this information to advertising and marketing companies like GAIN Publishing but worse still, some publishers even have Spyware programs embedded directly in their software which automatically sends private information from your PC straight over to those advertising and marketing companies.Besides being a huge privacy violation of computer users all around the world, Spyware slows down computers by chewing up precise CPU cycles and memory usage while it monitors your activities secretly in the background, annoys you with random popup windows, takes over your browser with porn tools, changes your homepage location and so on.Today we are going to tell you about some of the best Spyware remover programs available for you to download, how to use those programs, and also how to monitor processes which are running on your computer to establish if the processes are a security risk or not. We are also going to provide some links at the end of the guide to some places where you can find out more about Spyware, system processes and general security from dedicated resources who maintain up-to-date information. After you're finished with this guide your PC will be free of Spyware and running the way it should without any nasty programs running in the background chewing up your computer performance and violating your privacy.Let's begin and get rid of that Spyware from your PC!

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - Spyware Definitions

Spyware DefinitionsBefore we start checking out the different software options available to you, we first need to have a clear understanding of the different Spyware terms you will come across when protecting your privacy.The following is provided to us by Webroot Software, the makers of Spy Sweeper.AdwareAdware is any software application that has the ability to display advertisements on your computer. Some adware may track your Web surfing habits. These advertisements may be displayed in many forms, including, but not limited to, pop-up, pop-under, and banner advertisements. Adware may slow your Web browser's performance.Worst case scenario: Some adware may have the ability to download third party software programs on your computer without your knowledge or consent.Anti-Spyware softwareAnti-Spyware software protects a PC from Spyware infection. Spyware protection software will find and remove Spyware without system interruption.Browser HijackerBrowser hijackers have the ability to change your Internet Explorer settings, redirect your Web searches through their own search engines, redirect mistyped or incomplete URLs, and change your default home page. They may redirect your searches to "pay-per-search" Web sites which are very often pornographic Web sites.Worst case scenario: If a hijacker changes your Internet Explorer browser settings, you may be unable to change back to your preferred settings. You may also be unable to browse the Internet entirely.Cookie (or Adware Cookie)Cookies are pieces of information that are generated by a Web server and stored on your computer for future access. Cookies were originally implemented to allow you to customize your Web experience. However, some Web sites now issue adware cookies, which allow multiple Web sites to store and access cookies that may contain personal information (surfing habits, usernames and passwords, areas of interest, etc.), and then simultaneously share the information with other Web sites. Adware cookies are installed and accessed without your knowledge or consent.Worst case scenario: This sharing of information allows marketing firms to create a user profile based on your personal information and sell it to other firms.DialerDialers have the ability to disconnect your computer from your local Internet provider and reconnect you to the Internet using an expensive pornographic, toll, or international phone number. They do not spy on you, but they may rack up significant long distance phone charges. They have the ability to run in the background, hiding their presence.Worst case scenario: Dialers may rack up significant long distance phone charges.Drive-by downloadWhen programs are downloaded without the user's knowledge or consent. Most often accomplished when the user clicks to close or eliminate a random advertisement or other dialogue box.EncryptionEncryption is the scrambling of data so it becomes difficult to unscramble and interpret.FirewallA firewall prevents computers on a network from communicating directly with external computer systems. A firewall typically consists of a computer that acts as a barrier through which all information passing between the networks and the external systems must travel. The firewall software analyzes information passing between the two and rejects it if it does not conform to pre-configured rules. Firewalls provide effective protection against worm infection, but not against Spyware like Trojans, which hide in legitimate applications, then install secretly on a user's PC when the application is launched.Home Page Hijacker (or Browser Hijacker)A program that can change settings in your Internet browser; most often including your search page to redirect all searches to a specified pay-per-search site, and your default home page to the company page - often a pornography site.Information PrivacyThe interest an individual has in controlling, or at least significantly influencing, the handling of data about themselves.KeyloggerA keylogger is a type of system monitor that has the ability to record all keystrokes on your computer. Therefore, a keylogger can record and log your e-mail conversations, chat room conversations, instant messages, and any other typed material. They have the ability to run in the background, hiding their presence.Worst case scenario: A third party may be able to view your personal conversations and may gain access to private information such as your usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, or your Social Security number.Layered Service Provider (LSP)A Layered Service Provider is a system driver that is linked into the Networking system for Microsoft Windows computers. It has the ability to access all data entering and leaving through the network interfaces.Operating SystemThe operating system is usually the underlying software that enables you to interact with the computer. The operating system controls the computer storage, communications and task management functions. Examples of common operating stems include: MS-DOS, MacOS, Linux, Windows. Also: OS, DOS.Personally Identifiable Information (PII)Information such as name, address, phone number, credit card information, bank account information, or social security number.PrivacyThe interest that individuals have in sustaining a 'personal space,' free from interference by other people and organizations.Privacy PolicyThe responsibilities of the organization that is collecting personal information and the rights of the individual who provided the personal information. Typically, this means that an organization will explain why information is being collected, how it will be used, and what steps will be taken to limit improper disclosure. It also means that individuals will be able to obtain their own data and make corrections if necessary."Remove me"Options on spam that are often fake. That is, if you respond to request removal, you very well may be subjecting yourself to more spam, because by responding, the sender knows that your email account is active. A 2002 study performed by the FTC demonstrated that in 63% of the cases where a spam offered a "remove me" option, responding either did nothing or resulted in more email.SharewareSoftware distributed for evaluation without cost, but that requires payment to the author for full rights. If, after trying the software, you do not intend to use it, you simply delete it. Using unregistered shareware beyond the evaluation period is pirating.SpamUnsolicited commercial email. It is sent, usually in bulk, through "open-relays" to millions of persons. Spam is cost-shifted advertising. It takes a toll on Internet users' time, their resources, and the resources of Internet Service Providers (ISP). Most recently, spammers have begun to send advertisements via text message to cell phones.SpywareSpyware is software that transmits information back to a third party without notifying the user. It is also called malware, trackware, hijackware, scumware, snoopware or thiefware. Note: Some privacy advocates also call legitimate access control, filtering, Internet monitoring, password recovery, security or surveillance software "Spyware" because it could be used without notifying the users.System MonitorSystem monitors have the ability to monitor all of your computer activity. They range in capabilities and may record some or all of the following: keystrokes, e-mails, chat room conversations, instant messages, Web sites visited, programs run, time spent, and even usernames and passwords. The information is gathered via remote access or sent by e-mail, and may then be stored for later retrieval.Worst case scenario: A third party may be able to view your personal conversations and may gain access to private information such as your usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, or your Social Security number.Trojan Horse (also known as Trojan or Backdoor Trojan)A Trojan horse is a program that allows a hacker to make changes to your computer. Unlike a virus, a Trojan does not replicate itself. It is generally disguised as a harmless software program and distributed as an e-mail attachment. Once you open the attachment, the Trojan may install itself on your computer without your knowledge or consent. It has the ability to manage files on your computer, including creating, deleting, renaming, viewing, or transferring files to or from your computer. It may utilize a program manager that allows a hacker to install, execute, open, or close software programs. The hacker may have the ability to open and close your CD-ROM drive, gain control of your cursor and keyboard, and may even send spam by sending mass e-mails from your infected computer. They have the ability to run in the background, hiding their presence.Worst case scenario: A third party may gain access to your computer and do whatever the author has designed it to do.VirusA program or code that replicates, that is infects another program, boot sector, partition sector or document that supports macros by inserting itself or attaching itself to that medium. Most viruses just replicate, many also do damage.WormA program that replicates itself over a computer network and usually performs malicious actions, such as using up the computer's resources and possibly shutting the system down. The name is an acronym for "write once, read many." A recent example of a worm is the Sasser worm (or W32.Sasser.A and its variants) that affected millions of corporate and private computer systems. Earlier in 2004, the Netsky worm (or W32/Netsky) spread by mass email using addresses obtained from an infected computer. It also spreads via local networks by trying to copy itself to shared folders on drives C: to Z:.Even if you only read half of these definitions you'll be better off in understanding some of the lingo when it comes to Spyware. Now let's take a look at the first piece of Spyware removal software.

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - Ad-Aware SE Personal

Ad-Aware SE PersonalDeveloper Homepage: LavasoftDownload: LavasoftBuy: Freeware!Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10Our Summary: Ad-Aware SE Personal is free, easy to use through its stylish and compact GUI and provides fairly regular definition updates making it a good choice in combating Spyware.One of the most well known and popular Spyware remover programs is called Ad-Aware and the first program we are taking a look at is Ad-Aware SE Personal by Lavasoft. The Swedish company offers three versions of Ad-Aware: SE Personal (free), Plus ($27) and Professional ($40). The more you spend the more features you will get. However, for basic Spyware removal needs Ad-Aware SE Personal will do what we need it to do and it won't cost you any money.Plus and Professional versions include a program called Ad-Watch which runs in the background and looks out for Spyware that might try to install on or modify your system. It works just like any anti-virus software which monitors your system in real-time.The latest reference file from Lavasoft at the time of writing this article is dated 10 / 10 / 2004 which is a good sign as you will have recent Spyware detection capabilities. If you are using a Spyware remover program which hasn't had its reference or definition database updated in a few months, you'd probably be better off using another program.Ad-Aware SE Personal is a fairly basic Spyware remover (about a 2.6MB download) with a stylish and easily workable GUI (Graphical User Interface) with the must-have feature offering the ability to download updates through the program saving you having to hunt for them on Lavasoft's website. Let's take a closer look at the program in the screenshots I took while testing out the software - for the full size image, just click on each image below and a new window will pop-up.
When you load Ad-Aware you are first greeted with the screen as shown above. It is the status screen which tells you which definitions file you have loaded, when you last scanned and so forth. To begin searching your system for Spyware, just click the Start button toward the bottom right of the screen.
Next up we have the above screen where you choose which scan mode you wish to run. The smart scan is like a quick scan which should be run once a day. For the first scan, you should select full system scan which will take longer to complete and as the name suggests, provide a complete system scan.
Once the scan is complete, you will get the screen above which gives you a run down on what was scanned and what Ad-Aware found on your system.
Now you are presented with the scanning results which allow you to see which items are critical, others which are less important are listed in the negligible objects section. You can right click and choose to select all items which is handy if you have a whole bunch of Spyware that needs removing. If you double click on an item, it will bring up a new window with more info on that particular Spyware such as risk level, location on your PC and who made it.Just choose the Spyware you wish to remove and click next and the Spyware will be put into quarantine (which keeps the Spyware isolated from your system) where you have the option to delete the file from your system later.Overall - Ad-Aware SE Personal is free without any trial limitations, easy to use through its stylish and compact GUI and provides fairly regular definition updates making it a good choice in combating Spyware.We are giving the SE Personal version of Ad-Aware a high rating of 8.5 out of 10 - a solid choice.

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - GIANT AntiSpyware

GIANT AntiSpywareDeveloper Homepage: GIANT CompanyDownload: GIANT Company (15 day trial)Buy: Regnow ($29.95)Our Rating: 9.5 out of 10Our Summary: GIANT AntiSpyware comes with a very stylish GUI with many options such as scan scheduling and very in-depth information on each Spyware program found. You also have the ability to protect your system in real-time against Spyware along with access to the Advanced Tools section.The next Spyware remover on our list of programs is called GIANT AntiSpyware by GIANT Company Software who is based out of the United States. GIANT offer a free 15 day trial which allows you to use the program as if it were registered. The good news is in the two days we had this software installed, it has provided us with two definition updates each day. When we first installed the program, the software had already updated the definitions database which was pleasing to see.
GIANT AntiSpyware easily has the most pleasing and soothing GUI of all of the Spyware removers we have looked at inside this guide. On the first load of the program things can be a little overwhelming because you have a window with a stack of options but after a short while you get used to everything.
When you first load the program you are greeted with the screen above. It is a summary of previous scans and provides links to some of the other features in the program which we will take a closer look at shortly.
Under the Spyware Scan section you have the ability to run either a quick scan or a full system scan. If you are using a Spyware remover program for the first time, you should run the full system scan which will take between 5 and 10 minutes whereas the quick scan only takes a couple of minutes.As the scan is taking place you can see which Spyware programs have been detected and how many of them are in memory, files, the registry or cookies in the Spyware Scan Progress bar on the right hand side. The GUI is simply lovely to work with.
After the scan is complete, you are provided with the screen above which provides a simple summary of what was found.
The next screen displays in-depth information about the Spyware found, threat levels and so forth. This program actually removed full programs such as Imesh and Kazaa and even detected perfectly fine programs such as VNC.
It would be well worth checking through what was found before going ahead and removing the problem Spyware. Once you have decided what programs you want to get rid of or ignore, just click the Continue button and the Spyware will be removed. Some Spyware will already be running in memory and as a result won't be able to be removed until you reboot, as you can see in the screen above - which is perfectly normal.
Where GIANT AntiSpyware excels itself over other Spyware removers is the fact that it goes deeper and offers a set of "Advanced Tools" as you can see in the screen above. The one which stood out for us was the Secure File Shredder which properly removes files from your system by using the US Department of Defense recommendations for secure file destruction. You might think when you delete a file from your PC it is gone but it isn't really - if someone wanted to find it bad enough, they could.
Like Ad-Watch in Lavasoft's Ad-Aware, you have real-time protection in GIANT AntiSpyware which monitors certain parts of the system (just like an anti-virus program would) to stop infections of Spyware. If you intend on running the real-time protection, remember your system will run a little slower just as if you were running an anti-virus program.
Finally we have the SpyNet AntiSpyware Community which is a wonderful idea. Since many new Spyware programs are finding their way onto the Internet on a probable daily basis, you have the option of running the SpyNet AntiSpyware Community feature which sends back new Spyware information from your PC to a central server, this in turn allowing GIANT to maintain more precise definitions files so you have a better chance of catching Spyware running on your PC. We checked out at least 20 different Spyware removers and no other program we looked at had such an intelligent feature as this.Overall - We found GIANT AntiSpyware to be one of the best (if not the best) Spyware remover programs available. It comes with a very stylish GUI with many options such as scan scheduling and very in-depth information on each Spyware program found. You also have the ability to protect your system in real-time against Spyware along with access to the Advanced Tools section which includes some very handy programs to complement the program, not to mention the intuitive SpyNet AntiSpyware Community.We are giving GIANT AntiSpyware our highest rating of 9.5 out of 10 - If it was free, we would have given it a perfect score but even at $29.95 it is very well priced. It will be our Editor's Choice for the time being.

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - RegFreeze

RegFreezeDeveloper Homepage: Actual ResearchDownload: Actual Research (register to remove Spyware)Buy: Regnow ($29.95)Our Rating: 6.5 out of 10Our Summary: While RegFreeze provides you with a nice GUI which is very easy to use and navigate along with the ability to automatically schedule definition updates and protect your system in real-time, there is unfortunately more bad weighing against it than good.The next program on the list is called RegFreeze by Actual Research. RegFreeze is a relatively simple program which is designed to protect your system in real-time and provide the ability to search your system for Spyware. In the settings area you can enable automatic updating to occur as often or as little as you like. The biggest downside to this program is you cannot remove the Spyware until you register the program for $29.95.
When you first load RegFreeze, you are greeted with the screen above which is the system scan area. On the right hand side you can see that it has the ability to detect over 16,000 Spyware programs and has over 7,000 descriptions for them. To begin the scan, just click the Start scan button.
The above screen is what you see when the system scan is in progress. As you can see, the GUI is fairly nice and really easy to use.
Once the system scan is complete you will get the screen you can see above. It does a good job of providing you with a solid summary.
The final screen shows the Spyware which was found. Another downside to this program is that it does not provide any information on the found Spyware along with threat levels etc - you'll be working blind.
As mentioned earlier, when we try to remove the Spyware we get this message above. You'll need to hand over some cash before you can remove Spyware using RegFreeze.Overall - While RegFreeze provides you with a nice GUI which is very easy to use and navigate along with the ability to automatically schedule definition updates and protect your system in real-time, there is unfortunately more bad weighing against it than good. After the scan is complete, you aren't provided with any information (apart from name and location) on the Spyware and you cannot remove the Spyware until you pay money.We are giving RegFreeze a rating of 6.5 out of 10 - You can find much better Spyware remover software than this one.

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - Spybot - Search & Destroy

Spybot - Search & DestroyDeveloper Homepage: Patrick M. KollaDownload: Patrick M. KollaBuy: Freeware!Our Rating: 9 out of 10Our Summary: The beauty of Spybot - Search & Destroy is that it is 100% free, includes database detection updates within the program fairly often, is easy to use and works very well at removing Spyware from your system. However, The GUI isn't as pleasing to the eye as Spyware removers such as GIANT AntiSpyware and it doesn't include any real-time detection of Spyware either.Spybot - Search & Destroy is considered by many folks on the Internet as the best Spyware remover. During our extensive testing of many Spyware programs, we even discovered a program which you have to pay for called SpyRemover which apparently licenses Spybot technology; at least that's what we were told on the phone by the developer, InfoWorks Technology.Spybot is a free program where the developers rely on donations to support the development and upkeep of the program. Personally I have been using Spybot for the past couple of years or so. The GUI behind Spybot isn't as fancy as those such as Ad-Aware and GIANT AntiSpyware but it simple and easy to use. You have the ability to update the software from within the program and choose from a range of mirrors for the fastest download for you. Like GIANT AntiSpyware you have an advanced tools section with similar tools - but Spybot goes even deeper.
The first screen you will see when you load up Spybot is the one above. It provides easy access to all sections of the program through a basic but workable GUI. To begin the scan for Spyware, just click the Check for problems button.
The scan will take some time (the longest out of all Spyware removers, although only by a little) since Spybot is capable of detecting up to almost 19,000 Spyware programs which is from what we can see the most out of any Spyware remover in this guide.Even though you cannot see it in the screenshot above, you get some descriptions (company, product, threat, company and company privacy URL, along with a general description. We found that not every Spyware detected had a description but it is not hard to search for Spyware detected on some third party resources we will show you at the end of this guide.
Now we have those advanced tools we talked about earlier, like the ones included in GIANT AntiSpyware. You have a total of 15 different tools which will help you combat Spyware and increase general system security.Overall - The beauty of Spybot - Search & Destroy is that it is 100% free, includes database detection updates within the program fairly often, is easy to use and works very well at removing Spyware from your system. However, The GUI isn't as pleasing to the eye as Spyware removers such as GIANT AntiSpyware and it doesn't include any real-time detection of Spyware either.We are giving Spybot - Search and Destroy a very high 9 out of 10 - This program is one of the best inside this guide but GIANT AntiSpyware still has it over Spybot with such features as their SpyNet AntiSpyware Community and very swish GUI.

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - SpyCatcher

SpyCatcherDeveloper Homepage: TenebrilDownload: Regnow (15 day trial)Buy: Regnow ($29.95)Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10Our Summary: Tenebril's SpyCatcher is a nice Spyware remover. It features a nice looking GUI which is easy to use and understand. It provides the ability to protect your system in real-time, schedule scans and updates, and also has a "Detective" section where you can look through common places where Spyware is instructed to load from, and more.Next up is SpyCatcher by Tenebril who produce a range of different software to protect your privacy and increase system performance. SpyCatcher is another solid and stylish Spyware remover which includes some nice features such as the ability to protect your system in real-time, schedule scans and updates, and also has a "Detective" section where you can look through common places where Spyware is instructed to load from - such as the Startup menu, which is something a little different.
The first screen you are greeted with when loading the program is the Search for Spyware section which provides the different options for you to choose for the scan - Easy and to the point so far. SpyCatcher can detect up to almost 12,000 Spyware programs which places it somewhere in the middle of the pack.
Once the scan has finished a new window will popup which lists the Spyware that was found on your computer. If you double click on any of the Spyware found, Tenebril's Spyware Info Center will load and give you a good description of the Spyware along with its threat level and so forth.
Once you close the window above, you are taken to the Found Spyware section which maintains a list of the Spyware found on your computer. From here you can either allow or disable the Spyware.
When you choose to disable Spyware, another window will popup and let you know the status of the Spyware. In the case of the LinksBar Spyware application above, we need to restart the computer before it will be removed, most likely because it is running already.Overall - Tenebril's SpyCatcher is a good Spyware remover. It features a nice looking GUI which is easy to use and understand. It provides the ability to protect your system in real-time, schedule scans and updates, and also has a "Detective" section where you can look through common places where Spyware is instructed to load from. A Cleanup History section is also implemented where you can see what you have removed in the past. Finally, there is also the Reinstall Shield which helps prevent Spyware from reloading by overwriting Spyware with zero bits of data.We are giving SpyCatcher a high 8.5 out of 10 - It is a full featured Spyware remover which is really only just behind Spybot because it doesn't include the extra tools to help combat Spyware and privacy like Spybot - oh, and you have to pay for it but it is definitely worth a shot.

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - SpyKiller 2005

SpyKiller 2005Developer Homepage: SpyKiller Download: SpyKiller (30 day trial)Buy: SpyKiller ($29.95)Our Rating: 5.5 out of 10Our Summary: SpyKiller 2005 is the most basic Spyware remover inside this guide and you'd be silly to hand over money for this program when you can get much better for the same price.As we wind our way along the road to the end we come to a basic Spyware remover program called SpyKiller 2005. The program claims it has the ability to detect up to almost 33,000 Spyware programs (which is far more than any of the others in this guide) and the good news is that in the two days we tried the program, both days provided us with a database update. The GUI kind of reminds you of a high school VB project however.
When we first load up SpyKiller 2005 we are greeted with the screen below. From here you can check for updates (no automatic scheduling available) and so on - nothing very special or note-worthy at all. To begin the scan, you choose the parts of the system you wish to include and then click the Scan Now button.
During the scan and when the scanning is complete you will see the screen above which keeps you posted on what Spyware has been found.
The final screen shows us a list of the Spyware which was found on your system along with basic information such as the name of the Spyware, location, threat level and the company. Unfortunately like RegFreeze, no descriptions are given about any of the Spyware and without handing over some cash you cannot clean your system of the found Spyware.Overall - SpyKiller 2005 is the most basic Spyware remover program we looked at during our research. The good side of things for this program is that it's small - you have the ability to detect up to almost 33,000 Spyware programs but because this is such a larger number than any of the other Spyware remover programs we tried, we are a little hesitant to believe this but we could well be wrong. Apart from that, SpyKiller 2005 has nothing else going for it.We are giving SpyKiller 2005 5.5 out of 10 - It is the most basic Spyware remover inside this guide and you'd be silly to hand over money for this program when you can get much better for the same price.

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - Spyware Doctor

Spyware DoctorDeveloper Homepage: PC Tools Download: Regnow (30 day trial)Buy: Regnow ($39.95)Our Rating: 8 out of 10Our Summary: Spyware Doctor is a good and well-rounded Spyware remover but doesn't really include anything special that would warrant spending the extra money on the program.The last Spyware remover we are taking a look at in this guide is Spyware Doctor by PC Tools. Spyware Doctor is yet another well featured Spyware remover program but is also a little on the expensive side costing $10 more than all the others. So is the extra $10 justified?
The first screen you will see when loading Spyware Doctor is the one you can see above. This screen provides easy access to all parts of the program including the quarantine list, ignore list, and a status summary. We tried activating the OnGuard Protection feature (real-time monitoring for Spyware) but this feature is only included in the registered version. To begin scanning your computer, just click the Start Scan button near the top left.
When you get to the Start Scan section, as you can see above you can choose your scan type ranging from Quick Scan to Custom Scan. As your system is being scanned, you can see the number of infections found. Spyware Doctor claims their database detects up to almost 17,000 Spyware programs which puts it up near the top of the pack.
After the scan is complete you are taken to the screen above which lists all of the Spyware that was found on your computer. If you double click on the Spyware, another window will popup (just like the one above) which gives you important information on the Spyware. Unfortunately you cannot remove Spyware before you hand over some cash for the program and coming in at almost $40 it is $10 more expensive than any of the other non-freeware Spyware removers inside this guide.Overall - Spyware Doctor by PC Tools is a fairly decent Spyware remover. The GUI is one of the better ones featured in this guide and is easy to use and understand. You are able to choose a range of different scans, the registered versions allows you to run OnGuard which is real-time protection, restore Spyware you removed from the quarantine list, maintain an ignore list, and your updates for the program will also be automatically downloaded, which is a good thing. However, apart from that, and behind the pretty GUI, we really just have a simple Spyware remover with nothing that really stands out.We are giving Spyware Doctor 8 out of 10 - It is a good and well-rounded Spyware remover but doesn't really include anything extra that would warrant spending the extra money on the program.

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - Monitoring processes with WinTasks 5

Monitoring processes with WinTasks 5Developer Homepage: Uniblue Systems Ltd Download: RegnowBuy: Uniblue Systems Ltd ($49.95)Our Summary: WinTasks 5 is a very handy program which works hand in hand with a good Spyware remover to help you keep a check of what is happening on your computer.All the Spyware removers we have taken a look at in this guide are very useful for removing Spyware from your computer, but what about if you want to monitor in real-time all the processes running which could be chewing up precise computer performance?The answer is a very handy program called WinTasks 5 Professional which allows you to monitor all of the processes running on your system at any given point in time. Let's take a closer look at the program, how it works, and how it can help you speed up your computer by shutting down nasty and privacy violating processes.
This screenshot shows the main screen of the WinTasks program. As we said above, it provides a complete list of the processes running on your computer along with the type of usage they are each bearing. Just click on a process and you will be given a description of it along with information stating whether or not it's safe to be shut down for an increase in system performance. If there is a certain process you don't want loaded ever again, just click on the Block List and type in the file name of the process and it won't load when WinTasks is open.If you want even more detailed information on the process, just click on the View Details link under the description. Not every process is covered but there were a good deal of them recognized for us. If you want to stop a process, just right click and choose Stop Process - you can even decrease or increase priority to give it a bit of a boost but this is also possible from within the Windows XP Task Manager.

Spyware and Adware Removal Guide - Third Party Resources and Conclusion

Third Party ResourcesWe aren't quite finished just yet. The following is a list of third party resources which we used for the preparation of this guide as well as resources which will help you with your battle against Spyware. Listed in no particular order:- Anti-Spy Tools by SpyChecker.com: We used this list of Spyware remover programs to help determine which programs we would include in this guide.- Searchable Spyware Database at Spyware-Guide.com: Spyware-Guide was created to provide an all inclusive and updated resource on spy ware applications, what they do and how they're used. These resources include: which software applications can detect and defeat Spyware, an extensive database (611) of all known spy software and adware applications and contact information as well as other privacy related products.- Adware & Spyware Removal Programs at Download.com: We also used this extensive list of Spyware remover programs to help determine which programs we would include in this guide. Very useful!- Spyware Center @ Download.com: Also at Download.com is the Spyware Center which provides up-to-date information on everything Spyware as well as a FAQ and tips section to use certain programs which help protect your privacy.- Spyware Tools at MajorGeeks.com: Another handy list of Spyware programs.- IANAG File Help: Martin over at IANAG is maintaining a growing list of file names (not just Spyware) which lets you know the role of each - Worth a look.- Free Process Information @ ProcessLibrary.com: ProcessLibrary.com is owned and maintained by the same people who made WinTasks 5. Here you can search for processes to find out if they are worth getting rid of which is perfect for the Spyware removers we looked at in this guide which did not provide descriptions.- Spyware Information Center at Webroot Software: Webroot Software have a really useful Spyware Information Center which provides just about all the information you would ever want to know about Spyware - good reading!- Spyware Information Center at Tenebril: Tenebril also provide a section dedicated to information on Spyware with theirs including the most active threats as well as new ones to surface.- Microsoft Security Home Page: Everything you need to keep your copy of Windows up-to-date in the security area.- General Spyware Information at SpywareInfo: SpywareInfo is a dedicated website providing tools and knowledge you need to protect your privacy from the onslaught of Spyware, adware, and corporate and government surveillance.- Spyware Removal Help @ PC Hell: The folks at PC Hell maintain a section on removing Spyware and removing specific programs such as "How to Remove HotBar".- Computer Cops: Computer Cops or CastleCops provides a stack of information on computer security and is well worth a look.
ConclusionYep, you showed them! Spyware should now be a thing of the past for you and your computer system. You have a bunch of programs to choose from to arm yourself for the war against Spyware and all that sort of junk which invades your system. And you'll also be helping yourself if you choose the free Mozilla Firefox web browser with its built-in popup blocker which is said by many to provide far better security than Internet Explorer.The top three programs in our opinion which we looked at were Ad-Aware SE Personal, GIANT AntiSpyware and Spybot - Search & Destroy, listed in no particular order. Which ever one you choose is probably a personal decision since you may desire certain things more so than us and you may have no problem forking out cash for programs but we kept that in mind throughout the guide. The rest of the Spyware removers are good but just don't have what it takes to compete against the top bunch. Just remember when any of the programs are scanning your system, just about all of your CPU, hard drive and memory will be chewed up - this is normal though, just like what happens with a regular virus scan. Go make a coffee or take a walk while it's happening.The third party resources listed above are all a must-read as they are all valuable resources in the fight against Spyware and protecting your privacy. If any of the links are broken or you have any suggestions for more to be added, please contact me at the e-mail address above.In closing, if you have any questions, comments, rants or whatever about this guide, please post them in the Software section of our forums which you will find here. Generally we will not answer questions which are emailed to us.Die Spyware Die!

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Cameron founded TweakTown in 1999 after it originally started off as his personal homepage. Cameron was once, many years ago, the only person at TweakTown producing content, but nowadays, he spends his time ensuring TweakTown operates at its best in his senior management role.

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