Installing and Using Ad-Aware
Everyone is familiar with the ability to download software from the Internet, whether it be something to share files, games to play, or something to watch the weather. What you may not be aware of, is that some of these programs may also be tracking what you do on your computer and on the network. They may also be the cause of the pop-up ads you are seeing on your computer and additional junk e-mail that you receive. Ad-Aware is an application that can detect and remove many of these programs. Ad-Aware is not a pop-up blocker, so having Ad-Aware on your computer will not stop pop-ups that appear as you surf the net. However, it has the ability to remove the programs that generate those pop-ups even when you're not surfing the web. It also removes the applications that can cause your Internet access to go to inappropriate sites, changes your homepage, and also causing system crashes.
Below are the instructions for downloading, installing, and using Ad-Aware effectively.
1. Download Ad-Aware
Ad-Aware is a free download from many sites on the Internet. The preferred download site is: http://www.lavasoftusa.com/support/download/. Scroll down the page and select a download site for Ad-Aware (I recommend the Download.com or Tucows.com links for best reliability). You want to download the newest version of the Standard Edition. Follow the instructions from the download site to download the file to your Desktop or My Documents for use in the next step.
2. Install Ad-Aware
Double-click on the Ad-Aware installer (it will be named something like aawsepersonal.exe, aawarese.exe, or whatever you choose to name it) that you downloaded to your desktop. Follow the steps to install the program.
3. Run Ad-Aware
When the installation is complete, an icon will be placed on your desktop. Double-click on the icon to launch the program.
Any time you run Ad-Aware, it will prompt you to update its definitions. Please do so by clicking OK.
Then click Connect.
If an update is available, it will tell you and offer the choice to download it... click OK.
When it finishes updating, click Finish.
This will take you to the main Ad-Aware screen. Next, click on the Gear Icon (2nd from Left at the top of the window) to open the preferences screen.
Choose the Scanning Tab. Verify that your options are configured as shown below, then click Proceed to return to the main program window.
Click on Start to begin the scan, choose "Perform full system scan", and click Next on the following window to start the scan operation.
Note: This may take a very long time depending on the number of files on your system and the number of "spyware programs" on your system. Please be patient while it scans, but do NOT attempt to use your computer during this time!
When the scan is complete, click Finish and you will see the results listing.
Right-click on the first item in the list and click Select all objects.
Click Next to remove the objects from your computer.
Ad-Aware may prompt you that some objects could not be removed until you reboot. Click the OK button and Ad-Aware will remove these files on the next reboot. If you have been prompted to do this, close Ad-Aware and restart your computer now. Do NOT do anything else on the computer at this time!
Excluding the above case where you let it run on reboot, Ad-Aware will only run when you tell it to. Remember to perform the "Check for updates now" step every time you use Ad-Aware. It is generally recommended that you run Ad-Aware weekly or, at the very least, after you install a new program to your computer.