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Understand How To Remove Spyware From Your PC

Mar 24, 2008
If your computer has become plagued with Spyware, you are no doubt in need of a solution to rid you of Spyware without ridding you of needed programs and essential processes. To do this, you have two options: manually removing Spyware from your PC, or using an anti-Spyware program to automate the process of removing it.

This article will also help you increase the speed and performance of your computer by teaching you to maintain which programs run automatically when Windows starts up.

Manual Removal of Spyware and Other Pesky Programs

Not all Spyware can be removed manually. Spyware, like viruses, can be very stubborn. (If it is, you may need to get a Spyware remover program.) A lot of Spyware, however, was downloaded and installed willfully by you (perhaps without your realizing it). Aside from prevention (such as being careful when you download and install things not to just click arbitrarily to every dialog), there are a few ways to check to see if things are running on your computer that you do not wish to have running.

Not all unwanted programs that may be running will be Spyware. You may, for example, have a messenger you no longer use or a special feature program that came with your printer or another device.

Spyware are usually programs. In order to manually stop certain programs which may be running and stop them from running in the future, you can do the following. To determine what is currently running, click CTRL+ALT+DEL buttons all at once. This brings you to a feature of Windows called Task Manager. (You can also reach this by going to START Run, typing taskmgr.exe and clicking OK.)

Under the applications tab youll see the main programs you have running such as Internet Explorer, messengers, Word docs, etc. This isnt everything thats running, though! Click the Processes tab and youll see a lot of processes running. Anything that ends in .exe is a program running. (This [dot]exe extension means executable which means program, essentially.)

Browse through this Processes list and identify what is running. Watch out particularly for files that end in [dot]dll as this is an extension often used by viruses; not all [dot]dll files are harmful, though. To determine whether a process is needed, unneeded, or malicious, type in the full name of the process into Google (including the [dot]exe, all as one word) and read about what the program is and what it does.

Links in your Google results will explain the nature of the program, how important it might be for the proper operation of your computer, and whether it poses a threat to the integrity of your system.

Once you find a program you do not want running, return to task manager and go to the Processes tab again. Right-click the unwanted process and choose End Process. Do this for each unwanted process. (For example, if you use iTunes but do not have an iPod, you dont need ipodservice.exe running, which is installed automatically when you install iTunes).

Now that you have stopped the program, nothing will prevent it from running again next time you start your computer, unless you instruct your computer otherwise. To stop programs from starting up automatically when Windows boots up, go to START-Run, type msconfig, and click OK. Check Selective Startup. Go to the Startup tab and uncheck anything you dont want running. Click OK.

It will ask if you want to restart now or later. Choose a later if you have any unsaved work running in other programs. (Save or print this page if you are following along with and attempting this now, before restarting.)

After restarting, your computer will tell you that you have chosen to use the selective startup. Check the little box that says not to show this message when Windows starts. Go back into task manager and verify that the things you unchecked in the msconfig Startup list are not running. If they are, go back to mscofig and uncheck things under the startup tab again. If this process doesnt work after trying it a couple times, it may be time for an anti-Spyware program or an IT professional to address your computer.

If you are successful in the manual removal of these, you will notice not only an increase in privacy but also an increase in speed and performance. Dont forget to go to START Control Panel Add/Remove Programs and browse through that list, too. Uninstall anything on your computer that you dont want or need.

If you are unsure what something is, Google the name of it to find out. The fewer programs you have installed (especially unneeded ones) the faster your computer will run. This is also true about how full your hard drive is. Try to keep several gigs free at all times. Check this by going to My Computer and right-clicking the C: drive. Empty your recycle bin regularly.

Using a Spyware Remover Program:

If you are unable to remove the Spyware from your computer manually, look online and read about anti-Spyware programs to determine which is best for your situation and preferences is.

Even if you do use anti-Spyware and anti-virus software, always be proactive and aggressive about maintaining your computer. Dont expect third-party software to do all the work! If you dont have the money for professional computer check-ups, ask a friend who has a knack for such things.
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