Spyware/adware/malware is a program that has been installed on your computer either inadvertently by you or without your knowledge. Symptoms are: frequent pop-ups, extreme slow down of your internet connection particularly if your using dial-up, your homepage being hi-jacked and others. Note that pop-ups initiated by spyware cannot be stopped by pop-up blockers or the new features in the windows SP2 update. They are initiated by the spyware on your computer, just as if you clicked a link yourself.
Removing spyware can be easy and painless or very hard depending on what you are infected with. Most can be removed using the following two free programs.
First download and install Ad-Aware. After installing Ad-Aware first run the automatic update then do a complete system scan. Remove any unwanted items it finds. You can get detailed descriptions of what the items are by right clicking the item and selecting details. After removing the items reboot your computer and immediately do a system scan again. Some spyware will regenerate itself after being removed so this step is essential. If Ad-Aware finds the same spyware again or finds new items follow the same steps again but this time use SpyBot. Spybot can remove items that Ad-Aware can't and vice versa.
Additional information for removal can be found simply by typing the name of the spyware file into any search engine. Any search for the file itself will bring up numerous results for manual removal methods.
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