Spyware is a form of advertising software that is secretly installed on a user’s computer without their consent or knowledge. As a form of payment for the use of a website or program, some advertising software is now installed on a computer with the owner’s consent; these forms of marketing software are typically referred to as “adware.”
The distinction between spyware and adware is the user’s knowledge and consent. Spyware removal is a popular topic among computer users today due to the fact that it is often installed without permission and can have a variety of negative effects on a system.
Pop-up advertisements that appear frequently, and sometimes even when you are not online, are common indicators that your computer may be infected with spyware. Certainly, these advertisements can be extremely annoying, but spyware can have even more disturbing effects on your computer. For example, it can significantly slow down your computer, add difficult-to-remove toolbars to your browser, change your homepage without your knowledge, and cause your computer to shut down or malfunction, resulting in data loss.
The good news is that there are numerous anti-spyware programs that will scan your computer for spyware components. If your computer is determined to be infected with spyware, some of these programs can eliminate the infection.
Numerous free spyware removal programs are available, but they must be regularly updated. Some programs will allow you to scan your computer for free, but will charge you to remove any spyware they find. Personally, I am somewhat skeptical of these programs and prefer those that are completely free. SpyBot and AdAware are two noteworthy examples.
These spyware removal programs can typically remove the majority of spyware from your computer. To increase your odds, you should run two or even three separate programs. On occasion, you may encounter spyware programs that are particularly pernicious and require more complex removal procedures. Instructions on how to remove these more deceptive spyware programs are frequently available in online technical forums, and most computer repair shops are also able to remove spyware and viruses.