What Is Adware & How To Get Rid Of It

Adware is a software or software extension that displays unwanted advertisements on your screen. Without warning, it installs on your device and sends visible or invisible ads automatically.

Usually it uses a sneaky method to either disguise itself as a legitimate application or piggyback on another program to get you to install it on your PC, tablet or mobile device.

Adware isn’t a threat on its own. But it can send you to scam websites. If you click on an ad, they may install you a fraudulent program or steal your data.

An ad disguised as an app that supposedly scanned your device and found spyware.

The justification for adware is that it helps recover programming development cost and helps to hold down the cost for the user. People who install many programs see it all the time.

Adware can however disguise as the app you actually wanted to install. You could also click on a fake download button, for example, and download something else that you intended.

Software bundles are more common. If you don’t find an app in the official store, you may look on a random page on the Internet. There, you download an installation file.

One of the set-up steps involves installing other apps. “We will install these programs, but you can uninstall them later.” Sometimes, you can uncheck the option and prevent the adware. Other programs might not be as nice and will not inform you.

Adware Examples

Although adware appears in different forms, it follows the same patterns. It will disguise itself to make you install it without noticing. Adware may fill your device screen with confusing websites and pop-ups. And it’s not easy to remove.

Here are three examples of adware affecting your device:

Pop-Ups Everywhere

This program will open unrelated pages automatically. As soon as you start your browser (or even a different infected application), the program enables and opens pop-ups whenever you click.

It can happen every time you visit the main page, when you open your session, or after X seconds. Adware can also execute on a closed browser.

Close them as soon as they come up. If you can’t find a quick solution, get a pop-up blocker. You won’t get rid of adware this way, but it will cancel most ads.

Hijacked Browser

These are a variation of the pop-up example. Instead of interrupting your search, the browser redirects you to another website. It replaces your favorite browser or browser homepage with a faulty search engine full of ads.

  • Search Engine Replace. When you open the browser, you see a different home page, such as “startsearch.info.” The search pages are unrelated to your keyword, no matter what you type.
  • Hijacking Program. While you installed a program, another tool installed on the side. Whenever you start your browser, it executes and modifies the way it works. For example, it can manipulate the first-page results and fill it with dozens of ads.
  • Url Replace. When using the search bar, the URL shows the browser used. Although your home screen may look normal, the search bar may have changed. A program has edited your default search engine, and now you see unrelated results.

Software Bundles

You download a software bundle thinking it’s only the program you want. Once the adware is on your system, it can run independently from your browser.

As long as you are online, it runs and starts annoying you with ads. On a computer, you may find ads on your desktop as notifications.

In a mobile environment, it can open apps and load pages without your permission. If you turn off the screen and come back in a few minutes, you may find a pop-up open. The adware will manipulate your device, whether you use an iPhone or Android.

If it installs directly in your system, it can steal your information and change whatever the developer wants. As a side problem, any infected device could work much slower as well.

Is Adware Malware?

Given the many problems, could we see adware as a threat? Although it’s a type of malware, it’s the least dangerous one. Rather than harming your device, it’s designed to make developers money.

It may slow down your device and send you to scammy websites. But the problems it creates aren’t nearly as risky as a virus or spyware. It won’t break your computer, and there are many ways to fix it.

But who wants to have a slow device? How do you not get annoyed when you are redirected to an ad every few seconds? Adware won’t destroy your phone, but it can make it almost unusable in a bad scenario.

However, malware on the other hand will manipulate your device: install viruses, eliminate files, edit permissions, steal information, and other risks.

Malware isn’t easy to spot unless you start experiencing some of the effects. But once you detect it, it’s usually easy to remove with any antivirus tool.

Adware can be annoying as well. Very quickly, you start seeing pop-ups everywhere, and it’s sometimes not as easy to remove, because it’s not classified as a virus. It could be injected anywhere, from your browser extensions to your system programs.

Unless you use the right software, locating the adware is close to impossible. After you find it, you still need to know how to remove it.

Given the number of frauds on the Internet, everybody can fall into one. More than avoiding, the strategy should be about protecting your device, so you can eliminate the program right away.

How To Remove Adware

How to get rid of adware on Windows

Bad news for Windows users. Most of the malware developers target this system only. There are far more viruses on Windows operating system than on a Mac, Android, or iPhone.

The good news is there are more and better anti-malware programs available. Because there are more threats, the antimalware application designs are more preventive. If you buy a Windows computer, it already comes with an inbuilt protection system called Windows Defender nowadays that will catch most threats. Many companies will also gift you a free antivirus software.

But what if adware gets over all those barriers? How can you put things in place?

Check Your Internet Browsing Programs

Most adware only installs on the browser, so you only need to clean it. Check up your extensions and see if anything has changed your search settings.

Sometimes, the adware persists no matter what you change. Any browser has a reset feature to erase and reboot to its initial state.

Revise Your Control Panel

Can you see any new programs? These often appear straight on your desktop, so it’s easier to spot.

It’s not enough to find the folder. Deleting a file won’t remove the adware. The best way is to use an adware removal tool to uninstall them completely. Microsoft provides you with it’s own adware removal tool.

If you can find it on the control panel, remove it. If not, you may need some special software to get rid of the ads.

Advanced Software

Most of the time, it’s smart to get a program with a good reputation, even if it’s premium. Dishonest developers can disguise malware as antivirus programs.

The smartest ones can trick your best defense apps. They may show your PC as “safe,” even if there are adware and viruses. You never know what’s going on until you install the right software.

In this case you’re going to need to explore your options and try one or multiple applications and see which one does the job for you.

How To Get Rid Of Adware On A Mac

Mac devices are exposed to less malware than Windows systems, mainly because there are far less of these devices, but it also has to do with how the system is designed. The risk associated with adware on a Mac has more to do with which webpages you visit, than with the system and it’s applications.

When adware gets into your computer, how can you solve it?

Browser Analysis

On a Mac, you can look at all the add-ons installed from the browser settings. If the adware program has permission to use other apps, it may have changed these settings.

System Revision

Thankfully, all Macs integrate XProtect. This basic anti-malware tool works well for most situations, but it’s always better to combine it with more robust ones.

Most tools only require you to press some buttons. In general, the anti-adware software works fast to remove it. Some include a feature called “heuristic analysis.” Although it takes a long time to diagnose, it’s the perfect method for a total clean-up.

How To Get Rid Of Adware On Android

In Android, it’s simpler to detect superficial problems. 90% of the time, it’s caused by an app you have just installed. The problem stops the moment you delete the new app.

But some adware programs aren’t evident. Since Android organizes files differently than a computer, it’s more complex to spot the problem.

In the Google Play store, you can find the right app to protect your Android. Some of them improve the file explorer, so you see the latest files modified on your phone.

When it comes to troubleshooting, these tools make the job a hundred times easier. That includes removing junk files, freeing storage space, or speeding-up your device.

Managing Unknown Adware

It’s always worth looking for the top antivirus and antimalware apps on the google play store. Not only will these most likely remove the adware, but they also usually do it faster. At times, spending a few bucks on an app can save you hours of headaches.

What if you simply cannot find the problem? There’s always the “nuclear bomb.” You can restore your Android to Factory Settings and undo any changes you did since you bought it. Remember to save your most important files on the cloud so that you can set it up faster later.

How To Get Rid Of Adware On iPhone

Despite the protection measures of the IOS system, your iPhone may still get adware installed. Get rid of it by rebooting the browser and cleaning the system.

Browser Revision

A website can get permission to use your browser. It can send notifications, text messages, and open pop-ups. When it happens to you, go to settings and change the terms.

Check Your Permission List

Remove any website you no longer need or don’t know. It will stop the site from showing those ads.

Reboot the browser. If possible, re-install the app to undo all your changes. As a variation, you can Clear Browsing Data from settings to remove all permissions.

Prevent Adware

With the exception of a few rare instances, these programs cannot get to your iPhone if you always use the official store. There’s a useful feature, “Block Downloads From Unknown Sources.” Using this feature will enhance your protection from adware by a lot.

Summary: How To Avoid Adware?

Adware can be very intrusive. Sometimes they interfere with web browsing by taking over the entire computer screen. They can in different instances either be invisible to the eye or difficult to close.

In bad cases, many pop-up windows will appear in rapid succession, making your device virtually unusable. Sometimes adware pop-ups and advertisements are deliberately deceptive.

There are examples where the “no” or “cancel” buttons are actually “yes” or “install” buttons. Pop-up windows with fake close buttons when clicked trigger malware installations, much to the shock of their victims.

No matter how hard it is to remove, don’t let adware invade your device.

Naturally, your adware risk is higher the more apps you get from other sources. Unofficial websites use to offer software bundles instead of the tool you actually want. Make sure to take some measures to prevent adware.

Use Ad Blockers

Most of the time, you will know what causes adware. But there are so many pop-ups that the solutions steps can be confusing.

Ad blockers will ease the process. Install this complement on your browser, and 99% of ads will be invisible. The extension shows you how many ads it blocked on each site.

Get The Right Software

Don’t look at one operating system as safer than the others. As new malware appears, it a matter of time they get to you if you are unprepared.

You can spend a few hours and dollars protecting your device and save a lot of trouble. It’s as simple as using trustworthy download sites.

A good antimalware program will revise the device every day and keep it protected. The popular applications usually work for any operating system.

Preventing adware is easier if you are aware of the risks. Getting rid of it… often not so easy! It doesn’t matter what you do online. You never know when the next threat may come up.

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Outrageous…Stopzilla should be stopped. Thimking I needed to upgrade from Spybot. I thought I’d use the FREE trial to see if I liked it. As soon as it came up it knocked all my open files. It identified 65 infections I feel are prob bogus. When I clicked remove the infections it sent me to a pay screen. Then when I tied to remove Stopzilla it locked me out of add/remove programs, then almost crashed my whole system. Blue screen and all. I shut the computer down then disabled the internet when it rebooted. Microsoft message said it had recovered… Read more »