How to Check for Adware

by Tammy Parks

Adware is a common and almost inescapable part of using the Internet. Many useful browser add-ons have built-in adware, but many times malicious adware will worm its way into your computer without being detected. Anti-virus software is your computer's first line of defense for blocking adware, but it won't stop everything. Adware and spyware can slow your computer and at times can bring it to a complete stop. Finding and removing the programs can restore your computer's speed and efficiency. Some adware you can remove on your own, and some will require special utilities for removal.

Click the "Start" button. Select "Control Panel." Click "Add/Remove Programs." Search for programs you did not install and that did not come with your computer. Search by the installation date to find recently installed programs.

Remove any unwanted or suspicious programs. Right click the program and select "Uninstall" from the pop-up menu.

Click the "Start" button, select "Run," and type in "msconfig." Select the "Startup" tab. Search the startup programs for suspicious items. Check programs you don't recognize on an online spyware database to make sure they don't belong in the startup list. Disable the program by clicking the box beside it and removing the check mark. Make a note of the file's location. Click "OK" to exit the screen. Select "Restart" from the pop-up box to restart your computer and disable the program.

Disconnect from the Internet. Find the location of the adware program and delete it.

Download a reputable spyware and adware detection tool like SpyBot Search & Destroy, Ad-Aware or X-Cleaner. Update the software. Run a scan on your computer and follow the program's instructions to remove any detected malware, adware or spyware.


  • check Make use of your browser's pop-up blocker.
  • check Install anti-virus software.
  • check Update anti-virus and spyware-detection software often.
  • check Keep your computer updated.
  • check Change your passwords frequently.
  • check Use a firewall.
  • check "Run" is listed under "Accessories" on some versions of Windows.
  • check Never download programs unless you know what they are.
  • check Watch for piggyback downloads that come with other software; you can select not to include these with during installation.
  • check Never allow a download that you did not initiate.
  • check Always perform a search to learn about software before downloading or deleting it.

About the Author

Tammy Parks began writing professionally in 2009. She has extensive experience writing online, and her work has appeared on various websites. Parks doesn't have a particular specialty, instead preferring to write about lots of different topics. Parks attended Black Hills State University where she studied marketing, mass communications and literature.

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