Before we talk about removing spyware from your PC it’s important to also discuss how to prevent spyware, adware and other malware from getting onto your PC in the first place.
Commonsense and basic computer and web browser maintenance are the keys. If you’re not in the habit of keeping your computer clean and tidy then now is as good a time to start as any.
Over time computers become cluttered with junk files, temporary graphics files and eventually spyware. Taking care of your PC keeps it working at its optimum speed and also allows you to spot problems like spyware far earlier.
So how do you spyware, adware and malware getting on your PC in the first place?
1. Do not click on links offering free movies, competitions, prize draws, free software or anything that looks suspicious. There is no such thing as a free lunch – especially where the Internet is concerned.
2. Install firewall software. This is absolutely critical for DSL and Cable users but dialup users should also ensure they’re using a good firewall package.
All computers connected to the Internet today should have firewall software installed – regardless of your connection speed.
3. Make sure your antivirus software is updated. Between 500 and 1,000 new viruses appear each month so even if you’re just a little bit behind in your updates you’re at risk. Good antivirus software can prevent, find and delete the most harmful types of spyware and other harmful files.
4. Visually check out your system. Don’t just rely on software to do the job for you.
First thing you need to check is the msconfig utility. Note to Windows 2000 users: You’ll need to download msconfig separately as it wasn’t supplied with that version of Windows. Only Bill knows.
Press CTRL, ALT and Delete on your keyboard. This will bring up either your Windows task manager or the Close programs window.
Windows 95, 98 and Millenium users. Look down through the list of applications running on your PC. If you see something that doesn’t look familiar or just doesn’t seem right then open your web browser and do a Google search for the name of the application you’ve just found. For example let’s say you found BackWebAgent. You’d open Google and type in backwebagent.exe as your search. The .exe is important to include otherwise you’ll get irrelevant search results. This is a quick and easy way to identify common pieces of spyware.
Windows 2000/XP users.
Click on the processes tab. Look through the list. If you see something that doesn’t look familiar or just doesn’t seem right then open your web browser and do a Google search for the name of the process you’ve just found. For example let’s say you found BackWebAgent. You’d open Google and type in backwebagent.exe as your search. The .exe is important to include otherwise you’ll get irrelevant search results.
You could also use WinTasks to simplify the above process. This wonderful utility makes understanding your system processes and tasks a breeze.
Spyware Removal Programs
Pest Patrol – Pest Patrol is an all-in-one spyware detection and removal program with automatic updating built in.
AdAware Plus – For enhanced spyware removal and detection arm yourself with AdAware Plus.
Spybot – An excellent spyware removal program.
Crap Cleaner 1.0 – Crap Cleaner is an ideal utility for clearing junk files from your PC.