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Free Spyware and Adware Removal Tools

Here we offer in-depth reviews of totally free spyware and adware removal tools. These full featured software programs and utilities help internet users detect, identify and remove spyware and adware from their computer. Items in this category include malware, forced ads, browser hijackers, tracking cookies and other unwanted malicious programs. So what is spyware or adware? In short, they are are malicious, unsolicited and unwanted programs that can potentially harm your computer system and compromise your security. How do you know if you have spyware or adware on your computer? Well, If you see new stuff popping up in Internet Explorer that wasn't there before, start having browser crashes, or your system is slowing to a crawl, you most probably have spyware and/or adware. Don't panic, below we've listed a roundup of great free spyware and adware removal tools, utilities and help forums that will help you to zap that nasty unwanted stuff off your system for good.

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Spyware and Adware Removal Programs

Spybot Search & DestroySpybot - Search & Destroy
Here is (in our humble opinion) the best totally free spyware and adware removal program available on the Internet. Patrick Kolla's Spybot Search & Destroy is so comprehensive and powerful that it blows away the competition in this field.

What makes Spybot special right from the start is it's capability to run in two completely different modes... Easy and Advanced. The easy format is simple enough for newbies to install and use and still get rock solid removal and protection of...and from...almost every known spyware and adware variant. The advanced mode has so many features, and is so powerful that even the most tech savvy geek will quiver with sheer joy.

Here are just some of the many excellent features of Spybot Search & Destroy: Removal of adware, spyware, dialers, keyloggers, trojans and usage tracks. User-extendable database. Shredding of threats. Full backup and restore capabilities. Fully configurable exclude options. ActiveX download blocking. Tracking cookies blocking. Download blocking. Command line options. Detailed viewable logs. Strict exclusion criteria. Integrated update function. Free email & forum support. Fully configurable automation for scans, removals and updates. Available in 51 languages. Custom Skins and much more.

Spybot - Search & Destroy is 100% totally free. There are no nag screens, ads, pop-ups or other annoyances included in the program. In fact, if you prefer, you can set it up to run automatically in the background and you will never know it's even there.
Download Spybot - Search & Destroy. For Win 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP and Vista | File size 5 MB. Editors note: We have been using this program on all our servers for over 2 years. We highly recommend it as your frontline defense against spyware and adware!

Malwarebytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Anti-Malware
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a small but effective scanning software program that is super effective at finding...and removing all forms of bad stuff from your system.

Please note that the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-malware should be used as an on demand scanner and not as a replacement for your front line antivirus protection. In other words, Malwarebytes should be used periodically (once or twice a month) as a second line of defense, to ensure that you are catching and cleaning all malware forms on your system.

The free version of Malwarebytes is fully functional for on demand (e.g., one time, non automatic scans). The only difference between the paid and free versions of the program is the ability to set it up to update and continuously monitor your system in the background. You may use the free version of the program indefinitely without any cost or obligations.

Although Malwarebytes is easy to install and use, there are a few very specific tips to make sure you're getting the most out of the program. Please visit this page: MABM INFO for additional information on installing, and running Malwarebytes correctly so you will get the most out of the program.
Download Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. For Win 2000, XP, Vista and 7 | File size 3.86 MB.

Spyware Terminator BasicSpyware Terminator Basic
Spyware Terminator Basic is another outstanding free spyware/adware detection and removal software program. It has a robust feature set and incorporates an intuitive, easy to understand user interface. The interface is much sleeker than Spybot S&D (above) which may make it a better choice for newbies. The program is excellent at effectively detecting and removing spyware, adware, trojans, keyloggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats. It is currently available for free download in 13 languages. All of this makes Spyware Terminator Basic our #2 choice for best totally free spyware and adware removal programs.

Key program features include: 100% Real-Time Protection - which constantly monitors your system, ensuring that malicious programs can be intercepted and disabled before they are installed. Safe Quarantine - that removes threats and places them in a safe protected folder. Customized Configurable Scanning Engine - that allows you to decide whether to run scans manually or schedule in-depth scans on a regular basis that run in the background. Automatic Updates - that will ensure the program is always up to date with the latest threat information. Fully Configurable Removal - that allows you to recover something you may have deleted by mistake and much more.

Spyware Terminator Basic is totally free for personal home and commercial use and is a reliable choice for your frontline spyware and adware protection needs.
Download Spyware Terminator Basic. For Win 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP and Vista | File size 7.89 MB.

Ad-Aware SE PersonalAd-Aware SE Personal
Ad-Aware SE Personal from Lavasoft is another excellent free adware and spyware software tool. While the program is not as configurable or feature rich as Spybot Search and Destroy or Spyware Terminator Basic (above), it does provide advanced protection from known data-mining, aggressive advertising, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers, and tracking components.

The one problem we have with Ad-Aware is the free versions lack of automation, e.g., you have to remember to run it manually every day. You can get the paid version which will allow you to configure the program to run in the background automatically. However, even with it's lack of features, Ad-Aware free is #3 on our list of the best spyware and adware removal programs and a good second line of defense in the war against unwanted nasties on your computer.
Download Ad-Aware SE Personal. For Win 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP and Vista | File size 3 MB. Editors note: We use both Spybot and Ad-Aware on our servers. It is a good idea to have a multi layered approach to system scanning as there may be a case where one program will catch something the other will not. Incidentally, both programs play well together and using both will not muck up your system.

Other Spyware and Adware Free Software Portals

Scan CompleteScan Complete
Here's a well done freeware application portal that specializes in freeware downloads, reviews and instruction of virus, spyware, adware and spam removal software utilities and tools. Scan Complete is an accurate name for this site as it is a comprehensive online resource for computer security freeware and information.
This well done site lists offers for antivirus, anti-spyware, firewall, spam protection and other free security downloads.

Spyware and Adware Removal Utilities and Information Sites

HijackThis is a general homepage hijackers detector and remover. It is an invaluable tool when trying to find out what is wrong with your Internet connection and web browser.

The program scans your Internet Explorer settings and registry file and creates a comprehensive log that can be copied and pasted into spyware, adware and virus removal help forums. It also has a "Fix" function that will remove entries in your registry file. However, unless you are an advanced user, we strongly suggest you do not use this function as you may delete files or extensions that could make your connection and system unstable.

If you have a particularly nasty malware program on your system that one of the above removal programs can not seem to fix, you will most definitely need this program. Please note that HijackThis (originally developed by is now owned and maintained by Trend Micro. It is essentially the same program and still 100% free.
Download HijackThis. For Win 98, Me, NT, 2000 and XP | File size 154 KB. Editors note: Every help forum we have ever visited has asked first and foremost for a HijackThis log! The link above is to their download page. Scroll down the page until you see the "HijackThis" icon. Also, we have put together a list of spyware removal help forums and information on how to use them. You can view this page here: Free Spyware, Adware and Virus Removal Help Forums

CWShredder is a simple free downloadable tool (from Intermute - now owned by Trend Micro) that finds and destroys traces of a malware program called CoolWebSearch. CoolWebSearch is a name given to a wide range of different browser hijackers. Though the code is very different between variants, they are all used to redirect users to and other sites affiliated with its operators. Just like HijackThis above, CWShredder is now owned and maintained by Trend Micro.
Download CWShredder. For Win 98, Me, NT, 2000 and XP | File size 126 KB. Editors note: The link above is to the Intermute home page. Look for the "CWShredder" link on left of this page.

CleanUp! is a powerful and easy-to-use application that removes temporary files created while surfing the web, empties the Recycle Bin, deletes files from your temporary folders and more. It also can be used as a way to protect your privacy on the Internet by instructing the program to securely delete files. This makes it impossible to retrieve their contents using lower-level disk tools.
Download CleanUp!. For Win 98, Me, NT, 2000 and XP | File size 328 KB. Editors note: Yet another utility that is often requested by spyware, adware and virus removal help forums during removal sessions. This one can...and should also be used on a regular basis to help keep your system squeaky clean and running fast.

Pocket KillboxPocket Killbox
Pocket Killbox is a handy little utility that deletes files that cannot be erased from Windows Explorer. Get rid of files that stubbornly refuse to allow you to delete them.
Download Pocket Killbox. For Win 98, Me, NT, 2000 and XP | File size 47 KB. Editors note: This is another program that is routinely asked for on spyware, adware and virus removal help forums. Be very careful using this program unless you are a power user. You may wind up deleting a file that will render your OS unusable. We suggest you download the program and just keep in handy in the event it's asked for on a form.

Panda Anti-RootkitPanda Anti-Rootkit
Rootkit is a term to describe the mechanisms and techniques whereby malware, including viruses, spyware, and trojans, attempt to hide their presence from spyware blockers, antivirus, and system management utilities. Panda Anti-Rootkit is a free advanced rootkit detection and removal utility. It runs on Windows NT 4 and higher and successfully detects and removes all persistent well known rootkits. See editors note below before running this program!
Download Panda Anti-Rootkit. For Win 98, Me, NT, 2000 and XP | File size 303 KB. Editors note: This utility is for power users only. It modifies your system settings if it detects and removes a rootkit. Please take exceptional care in running the program unless you really know what you are doing!

Free Removal Help Forums & Sites

Free Spyware, Adware and Virus Removal Help Forums
If you have a particularly nasty spyware, adware or virus infection on your system, you may need to visit a reputable online help forum. Visit our virus, spyware and adware help forums page where we offer free information on how to use the forums to get the help you need to remove malicious files from your computer. The page also includes a list of free help forums with links.

Free Computer Repair Help for Windows Users
This site offers useful free computer repair information for Windows users. Here you can learn how to clean out spyware and viruses or just how your computer works.


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