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How to Remove Spyware

Aug 17, 2007
He just couldn't believe that it really happened...

And I didn't want to say, "I told ya' so", but even though my buddy practices pretty safe computing and doesn't frequent "bad neighborhoods", he still got infected with spyware. Here's what I told him regarding his options for how to remove spyware and get his computer back in optimal condition.

There are several options available for removing spyware. Let's start with the very worst case - backing up all your data and reinstalling your operating system (presumably you're running Windows). Well, relax, because that's probably only necessary in the most extreme cases and should definitely be used only as a last resort.

There are several software solutions on the market, but you have to be careful about which ones you use. Some anti-spyware programs, it seems, are actually a means of passing spyware! Who would have thought? So definitely do your homework first. Now in general, you have two types of anti-spyware software.

First, you have anti-spyware software that performs detection and removal. With regards to the programmers or companies that create these tools, the detection and removal type programs are easier and cheaper to create. So you'll typically see more of these. Their okay and the good ones certainly work well, but like with your anti-virus program, you'll probably want to get a program that provides protection all the time, not just when you decide to scan your system...because then, of course, it's already too late.

So the second major class of anti-spyware software is the type that offers real-time protection. These tools also detect and remove spyware, but they also monitor your system and programs as they run and as new programs are installed. That way, you have another layer of defense against new instances of spyware being installed on your system. Since spyware programs rarely travel alone and often times reinstall themselves, this is, in my opinion, a critical feature to look for in a spyware remover.

Whichever type of software you decide on, be sure to keep it updated. Again, using the anti-virus software as an example, spyware also changes quite often, with new threats frequently added to the database. Ideally, you should be able to set your software for automatic updates, but if not, be sure to get the latest updates manually at least once a week.

If you have a spyware infection or are concerned about possibly installing spyware, now would be a good time to educate yourself on good security practices and internet surfing habits that can help you avoid the spyware problem. That said, my friend was well aware of safe computing "do's" and "don'ts" and still got caught off guard. Now he's taken my advice and has added an anti-spyware program to his toolkit of software programs to protect his computer from this growing threat.
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