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Tutorial: How to Remove Spyware

Ok lots of people on here have problems with spyware, and most of the time its an easy fix.

If you keep getting popups or your homepage has changed or you have a bunch of toolbars and programs installed on your computer that you didnt install, chances are you have spyware. Here is a site with a list of Company's which products are spyware and you do not want to have on your PC.

http://www.spywareguide.com/product_list_full.php


My personal favorite program to remove spyware is Adaware-6 (New: Adaware SE Available). Although some people like Spybot Search & Destroy more, I prefer Adaware. Both do the job but I've found Adaware to do it better.

Step 1:
Hit Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add & Remove Programs
Look for programs that you didnt install and remove them.

Step 2:
Download Adaware-6 (Now Adaware SE)
Downloads.com Link: http://download.com.com/3000-8022_4-10214379.html?tag=pop
Direct Download Link: http://download.com.com/redir?pid=10214379&merid=69274&mfgid=69274&ltype=dl_dlnow&lop=link&edId=3&siteId=4&oId=3000-8022-10214379&ontId=8022&dlrs=1&destUrl=/3001-8022-10214379.html

Once the download has completed, run the setup file and install Adaware-6. Once finished an icon should appear on your desktop (unless you selected otherwise). Open Adaware-6 and click 'Check for Updates'. Download an install the latest updates. Next hit Scan for Spyware (might say something else, but similar) First off, I would do the Start System Scan. When finished hit next and select all objects and remove them. Next I would do the custom scan, select customize and enable everything (green checkmark) and scan again. Repeat the process and remove the files. Once more scan again using scan drives, select your drive and scan & remove the files found.

This should remove most spyware you have installed on your computer.

If your Browser (Internet Explorer or other) has been what is called Hijacked (homepage changes, toolbars show up, etc), then you want to download a program called Hijack This.

Download Hijack This here:
http://www.spychecker.com/download/download_hijackthis.html

*Make sure not to delete any files needed by a program/windows or you may corrupt your operating system*

Once downloaded, close all programs and run the file. Hit scan it a list of programs running should appear. Lets say for example, your homepage has been changed to www.coolwebsearch.com. After scanning, you would delete any item that includes coolwebsearch/coolweb in it. Close the program and Right Mouse click on Internet Explorer (or other) and set your hompage to whatever you want (www.superhonda.com). Restart your computer and see if it changes back. If you do not know which files to delete, save your log and post it on superhonda and im sure a member will help you out. If not PM me and ill see if I can help.

If it does you might want to try deleting the files from your registry. Now let me warn you all, when editing your registry, if you delete a file needed for windows, windows will become corrupt and you may not be able to run windows/certain programs.

*Make sure not to delete any files needed by a program/windows or you may corrupt your operating system*

Now, to remove the items from your registry do:
Start > Run
Type in regedit
Hit Edit > Find
Type in whatever your homepage has changed to (coolwebsearch or just coolweb)
Look at your result before deleting it, if it looks like it is a windows file do not delete it. Hit F3 to go to the next file matching your search. Continue to delete all the files (unless needed by windows). Exit the registry and restart and try again.

If all these steps do not solve your problem, you may have a virus. If you have an Anti-Virus program installed (Norton is my personal favorite) do all the updates and run a Full System Scan. If you do not have an Anti-Virus program I suggest you invest in one as soon as possible.

A free online virus scan brought to you by Symantec (makers of Norton AntiVirus) can be found here:
http://symantec.com/cgi-bin/securitycheck.cgi

To avoid getting a virus, be sure to do updates regularly and scan at least once a month (suggested is once a week). Also be sure to do Windows Updates at least once a month to avoid exploits in windows and getting all those new worms.

Most Popups are caused by spyware, once you run Adaware it should delete them, but to stop normal popups from sites I highly suggest Google's toolbar. It has a built in popup blocker and it seems to do the job quiet well. I have also heard from others that the SP2 for Windows XP includes a popup blocker that works well.

Link for Google Toolbar:
http://www.google.com/pagead/adclick?adurl=http://toolbar.google.com&sa=l&ai=AhJOSoa5HBN7sOos9U0N6NrlqVDuBSbOlRGQib7_CLEAkOBA0GOQABEAmWoaq27_AAAAAAEAA

SP2 can be found on Microsofts website:
www.microsoft.com

This is all I could think up of off the top of my head. If you have any problems feel free to PM me or post it up, I usually check the Computer forum daily if not every other day. If anyone wants to do a tutorial for how to use Spybot or if anyone wants to add anything to this regarding spyware or virus's, feel free.

Thanks to Danman1116 for making this a sticky. :)
 

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Good guide. But I have a question, when I scanned with Adaware it found these files that i've never heard of... is it safe to just delete them?

Here are the names of the files and stuff:

Alexa
Browser Aid
Buddy Links
New.Net
SahAgent
Virtumundo
WhenU
Tracking Cookies
Click Spring

Can I just delete all of these, or will doing so create problems?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
havok021 said:
Good guide. But I have a question, when I scanned with Adaware it found these files that i've never heard of... is it safe to just delete them?

Here are the names of the files and stuff:

Alexa
Browser Aid
Buddy Links
New.Net
SahAgent
Virtumundo
WhenU
Tracking Cookies
Click Spring

Can I just delete all of these, or will doing so create problems?
Yea thats all spyware. 99.9% of the items Adaware finds is pure spyware, none of the files are needed for windows. I have never heard of a case where Adaware has deleted files needed for Windows.

All the items you listen are safe to delete, they're all spyware.
 

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Ix dOc xI said:
Yea thats all spyware. 99.9% of the items Adaware finds is pure spyware, none of the files are needed for windows. I have never heard of a case where Adaware has deleted files needed for Windows.

All the items you listen are safe to delete, they're all spyware.
Great, thanks for the help.
 

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Adware-6 is a good program. But if you have a spyware, you might also want an anti-virus.
Kaspersky
Norton
Mcafee
I perfer kaspersky personally. I used norton for 3 years, mcafee for 2.5 years, kaspersky beats the **** out of them both.

And a pop-up blocker
Google Toolbar (Free)
PopUpCop
I use them both, PopUpCop also blocks out other things like: Meta Refresh, activeX scripts, animations, movies, flash, resizing. It can also allow popups on certain sites.

Hope this helps somebody
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ah forgot to mention the popup blocker, that google toolbar works wonders, and you can minimize it so its not like a huge toolbar and it still blocks popups. But Anti-Virus programs dont protect you from getting spyware nore do they remove it. Thanks for brining that up though.

Also, its not good to have multiple Anti-Virus programs installed mainly because they will conflict with each other and either not work or give you errors. I'd say the same for popup blockers. The google one works great because it blocks popups but doesnt tell you, it just changes your mouse for like 2 seconds to a yellow !, unlike those popup blockers that show a window on the bottem right hand screen whenever it blocks a popup. That can get annoying.
 

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also if you have regular kazaa and you run adaware and delete the spyware, no more kazaa.

need to get a different file transfer program if you have kazaa anyway
 

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Discussion Starter #11
vtecivic10 said:
also if you have regular kazaa and you run adaware and delete the spyware, no more kazaa.

need to get a different file transfer program if you have kazaa anyway
I was gonna mention that but I wasnt sure it was worth it. If you do have the regular kazaa and want to remove spyware, uninstall kazaa first. Then run adaware. Once your done download Kazaa Lite ++

Link to K-Lite++ [FIXED]
http://download.freeweb-hosting.com/
 

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!!
Firewalls:
Zone Alarm
Sygate
-If you have XP, you also have one built in.
-And when you get updates, intall them soon. They are annoying, but made for a reason.

Running 2 Anti-viruses isn't good, even with norton uninstalled, kaspersky wouldn't scan because norton left itself in the registry (sounds kind of like a virus to me) and I spent a few minutes of hard digging in the registry to find it & change it. After that Kaspersky's been incredible, cleaned up norton's mess in the first 5 minutes, even got rid of what it just "swept under the rug."

As for the 2 pop-up blockers, Google has only blocked 2, while PopUpCop has blocked 1395 of them. The google toolbar is a freebie, PopUpCop is $20. Luckily they don't conflict with eachother, but the PopUpCop mean's of Notification is configurable (sp?).

As for K-Lite, a good program. No adware/spyware/virus come's in the installer, a good % of the files on it do. :mad
 

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Thanks alot man for this Thread and for you to be detailed. Also thanks to everyone who put input with some advice. I will try it all out soon.
 

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Get rid of Hijackthis, and throw in CWshredder. Not many people use it, but its by far the best free browser hijack program in creation. It does everything hijackthis does, and actually removes the programs also. One sweep only takes about 20 seconds, and it cleans itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
tegra90LS said:
Get rid of Hijackthis, and throw in CWshredder. Not many people use it, but its by far the best free browser hijack program in creation. It does everything hijackthis does, and actually removes the programs also. One sweep only takes about 20 seconds, and it cleans itself.
This is true as well, although CWShredder was primarily created to remove the CoolWebSearch browser hijack. I believe they've updated it to remove most hijacks. I'd stick with Hijack This first though, and if you still cant get rid of it then try CWShredder. Or if you have the CoolWebSearch Hijack just go directly to CWshredder.

Link to CWShredder Download:
http://209.133.47.12/~merijn/files/CWShredder.exe
 

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This is what i experience, i have 3 spyware/adware removal programs installed on my comp not including hijackthis and cwshredder. 1 spyware/adware removal IS NOT enough to detect all. Adware does pick up a lot more then other programs but it does leave some out thats usually hidden in the systems or windows folder or attaches itself to the svchost or memory. Spyhunter usually pick these up and gets rid of it.
 

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thank God i found this thread, i had a load of spyware on my comp..
 

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Ix dOc xI said:
All the systems that I have seen that have spyhunter usually have spyware that spyhunter installs/doesnt pick up. To each their own, I just posted what I found to work best for me.
Agreed, spyhunter does not pick up a lot of the spyware/adware. But it does pick up "some" that ad aware usually misses.
 

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Ix dOc xI said:
I PM'd ricky aka Desikoncepts aka e y e c u e about it but he didnt sticky it/reply.
He's a mod? I remember him from a long time ago. :p

I have a few questions, a few of you guys seem to have some experience with this. I generally don't have trouble when it comes to my computer, I usually pick up on things pretty quick.

I have used HiJackThis in the past and it worked then. I have used Adaware and SpyHunter and niether of them worked too well.

I tried everything you've mentioned in this thread, and while Adaware removed a good amount of annoying shit, and HiJackThis removed browser hijackers... THEY KEEP COMING BACK! It's not normal looking hijackers, it's these annoying .dll files that seem to NEVER end, even while axing them from my registry file manually. I tried that CWShredder program and it seems to get it's ass kicked and shutdown by this shit, I am totally clueless at this point as to what I even have or how to get rid of it. I scan with Nortan and it just detects a bunch of shit but will not delete it. For some reason my norton won't autoprotect anymore either.

Any ideas or suggestions?
 
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