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What does it do?
Ad-Aware will scan your files and computer memory for spyware. If it finds any, you can then automatically remove it.
How do I get it?
Ad-Aware can be downloaded from the web page shown above. When you have downloaded the file from the website, run it to install Ad-Aware on your computer. Just follow the on-screen instructions to make the program ready to use.
How do I use it?
When you have downloaded and installed Ad-Aware, you can run it every time you want to use it by clicking on the desktop icon or via the programs list on the Windows start menu. When you run it you may be asked to download a newer version of the file that helps to find the spyware, so you should agree and follow the instructions on-screen (this process is very quick and simple).
When you have run Ad-Aware you will see the main screen. Click on the 'Scan now' button to get ready to scan your computer for spyware.
To scan for spyware:
- Click the 'Scan now' button, as above
- Select a scan mode (I suggest the 'smart system scan')
- For most users, I would recommend turning off the 'Search for negligible risk entries' option because it is generally not required – if the button is green, click it to turn it off (it will go red)
- Click 'Next' to start scanning with the options you selected
- When the scan has finished you will see a 'Scan Complete' screen telling you how many spyware items were found
- If no spyware was found you will see a green tick and you can close the program
- If the program says that it has found any 'critical objects' then you can remove them – see below
To remove detected spyware:
- Click the 'Next' button on the 'Scan Complete' screen
- Right-click on the list of spyware to get the right-click menu, and then click on 'Select All Objects'
- Click 'Next'
- Click 'OK' on the confirmation screen to remove the spyware
- You can now exit the program
To check for and install updates:
- You should check for updates each time you run Ad-Aware – first click the globe icon in the top-right corner of the main screen
- Click the 'Connect' button
- If an update is found, agree to install it – otherwise just click 'OK' on the screen that pops up
- Click 'Finish' on the update screen
- When the spyware scan starts, you may find that your computer seems to freeze for a few seconds – don't worry, this is just because Ad-Aware is scanning your computer's memory
- Most users should choose not to search for 'negligible risk entries' on the scan options screen – otherwise Ad-Aware will search items like your recent documents list and will just take longer
- Don't worry if Ad-Aware finds many 'critical objects' on your computer – in most cases these are simply text files used by advertising websites
- When you check for spyware for the first time, you may find as many as several hundred 'critical objects' – don't worry though, it is likely that most of these are harmless
- For most users, one spyware scan every week will be sufficient
- It's a good idea to check for updates every time you run the program
Note – the instructions above are for guidance only. The software and website referred to are subject to change without notice. Contact the software vendor for comprehensive directions.