What is Adware?
Adware is one of the most widespread forms of unwanted software and it typically results in an uncontrolled display of aggressive ads inside the browser. The main goal of Adware apps is to gain more clicks on their ads in order to earn Pay-Per-Click revenue.
In general, the applications that can be categorized as Adware will not damage the system they get installed on, at least not in a direct way. However, the endless spam with obstructive online ads, pop-ups, banners, and box messages that are coming from them can make your brain browser difficult to use. Normally, any browser can get such an app added to it and this includes Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and even Safari for Adware apps that are compatible with Mac systems.
How Adware gets distributed
There are many different methods that can be used to get applications of this category installed onto more computers. Some of the most common ones are adding a disguised download link to the Adware or even attaching the app itself to a spam message, using clickbait ads and fake update requests to trick users into downloading the unwanted apps, and also putting the Adware inside a third-party app to get installed alongside the latter.
Although it can sometimes be difficult to keep your computer clean and to recognize misleading online content that may get an Adware installed on your computer, there are still several important rules of thumb that you can follow to decrease the chances of getting such unwanted apps in the future:
First, remember to never interact with anything on the Internet that looks suspicious or unsafe. This includes spam messages, obscure ads that could be clickbait, download prompts for software you don’t need, and more.
Next, be sure to only download new programs, apps, and other software from sources you know you can trust. Avoid downloading stuff from unknown and questionable sites or from sites that could be illegal and used for spreading pirated software.
Thirdly, never forget to check all the settings in the setup wizards of programs you want to install on your computer. If there is an unwanted Adware component added to a program you are about to install, you should usually be able to see it and leave it out of the installation by accessing the Advanced or Custom setup settings. If you aren’t given such an option, it’s best to not install the program.
The Browser Hijackers are a category of unwanted apps similar to Adware that also try to get added to your browser and flood it with aggressive ads. However, a Browser Hijacker will also try to make changes inside your browser and trigger automatic page-redirects.
The goals of these two categories of unwanted software are similar but the Hijackers tend to be even more aggressive because they oftentimes change the search engine of the user and also their starting page and new-tab page addresses. Those changes further increase the control of the Hijacker over your browser and allow it to show you even more ads as well as to suddenly redirect you to promoted sites without any sort of permission from your side.
How those apps can be dangerous
Even though most Adware and Browser Hijacker apps are not designed to be harmful, they can still end up exposing your computer to danger through their uncontrolled ads, redirects, banners, and other forms of promotional content. In some of the worst-case scenarios, the user may even get their computer infected with file-targeting Ransomware or sneaky Trojan Horse and Spyware threats after interacting with an unsafe app. That is why it is very important to uninstall any Adware or Hijacker apps you may currently have on your computer and we can help you do that within the next lines:
|Danger Level||Medium (nowhere near threats like Ransomware, but still a security risk)|
|Symptoms||Adware and Browser Hijackers target the user’s browser and try to fill with walls of ads and trigger uncontrolled redirects to promoted websites. The Browser Hijackers also make unauthorized and unwanted changes in the settings of the affected browser.|
|Distribution Method||These two types of apps are mainly distributed via file bundles, misleading download prompts, fake ads, and spam messages.|
How to Remove Adware
If you have a Windows virus, continue with the guide below.
If you have a Mac virus, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.
If you have an Android virus, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.
If you have an iPhone virus, please use our iPhone Virus Removal guide
Some of the steps will likely require you to exit the page. Bookmark it for later reference.
Reboot in Safe Mode (use this guide if you don’t know how to do it).
WARNING! READ CAREFULLY BEFORE PROCEEDING!
Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC at the same time and go to the Processes Tab (the “Details” Tab on Win 8 and 10). Try to determine which processes are dangerous.
Right click on each of them and select Open File Location. Then scan the files with our free online virus scanner:
After you open their folder, end the processes that are infected, then delete their folders.
Note: If you are sure something is part of the infection – delete it, even if the scanner doesn’t flag it. No anti-virus program can detect all infections.
Hold together the Start Key and R. Type appwiz.cpl –> OK.
You are now in the Control Panel. Look for suspicious entries. Uninstall it/them.
Type msconfig in the search field and hit enter. A window will pop-up:
Startup —> Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer or otherwise look suspicious.
Hold the Start Key and R – copy + paste the following and click OK:
A new file will open. If you are hacked, there will be a bunch of other IPs connected to you at the bottom. Look at the image below:
If there are suspicious IPs below “Localhost” – write to us in the comments.
Open the start menu and search for Network Connections (On Windows 10 you just write it after clicking the Windows button), press enter.
- Right-click on the Network Adapter you are using —> Properties —> Internet Protocol Version 4 (ICP/IP), click Properties.
- The DNS line should be set to Obtain DNS server automatically. If it is not, set it yourself.
- Click on Advanced —> the DNS tab. Remove everything here (if there is something) —> OK.
- After you complete this step, the threat will be gone from your browsers. Finish the next step as well or it may reappear on a system reboot.
Right click on the browser’s shortcut —> Properties.
NOTE: We are showing Google Chrome, but you can do this for Firefox and IE (or Edge).
Properties —–> Shortcut. In Target, remove everything after .exe.
Remove Adware from Internet Explorer:
Open IE, click —–> Manage Add-ons.
Find the threat —> Disable. Go to —–> Internet Options —> change the URL to whatever you use (if hijacked) —> Apply.
Remove Adware from Firefox:
Open Firefox, click ——-> Add-ons —-> Extensions.
Remove Adware from Chrome:
Close Chrome. Navigate to:
C:/Users/!!!!USER NAME!!!!/AppData/Local/Google/Chrome/User Data. There is a Folder called “Default” inside:
Rename it to Backup Default. Restart Chrome.
Type Regedit in the windows search field and press Enter.
Inside, press CTRL and F together and type the threat’s Name. Right-click and delete any entries you find with a similar name. If they don’t show up this way, go manually to these directories and delete/uninstall them:
- HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—–Random Directory. It could be any one of them – ask us if you can’t discern which ones are malicious.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random
If the guide doesn’t help, download the anti-virus program we recommended or try our free online virus scanner. Also, you can always ask us in the comments for help!