By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Elliott_Cross]Elliott Cross
Ok, so your computer is getting a little older, and seems to be running slower. You're not a computer expert (and I don't claim to be either), however, you're not sure what to do or what the cause is.
Recently, several friends have brought me their computers, and have had the same issue. So, I thought I would write about what I do to try to 'restore' them back to a better, more usable condition. I hope this helps, and it is in no means a complete or exhaustive listing of problems and their solutions. I use Google as it is a powerful tool for finding assistance in solving problems. It is where I usually turn for advice, and solutions to most of the more common problems that spyware and adware, including viruses, can cause. So, here goes!
Adware and Spyware:
One of the most problematic issues that I find on any system, including the ones I maintain at one of my jobs, is dealing with adware and spyware problems.
These are those annoying programs and files that get downloaded onto your computer while surfing the web, or downloading those beautiful screen savers and 'helpful' toolbars. The problem is that most people use Internet Explorer (IE) for surfing the web. Not to say that IE isn't a good browser (it really isn't), but I'll leave that up to you. I prefer, and strongly recommend Mozilla Firefox. I can't say enough about it, other than since I have been using it for over a year, I have had NO adware or spyware problems. But, I also don't download screen savers and toolbars, or click on those 'You can win a trip to the moon' flashing boxes that appear on some sites. Firefox also has multiple different themes, plugins, and other neat items that you can install into it that makes it really neat to use.
Programs I use:
For removal of spyware and adware issues, I use two programs mostly. These are both very user friendly for novices and have advanced capabilities for more advanced users. I strongly recommend Ad-Aware and Spybot. I will describe each in more detail now.
You can download the free, personal edition of Ad-Aware by visiting the rel=nofollow [http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_free.php]Lavasoft page. Download this program, let it install, and once it is installed, it will prompt you to update the definitions file. For most installations, you can use the 'Full System Scan' option, and it will clean it up. You will be amazed at how much junk it finds on your system. Once the scan is complete, just click 'next' and it will automatically quarantine or delete the offending files, cookies, and troublesome garbage on your system. I have been using this for sometime now, and haven't had any problems with it wreaking havoc on a system as it primarily looks for specific threats related to browser history, etc.
You might receive a prompt that it can't delete all of the offending files because some of them are in use. It will ask you if you want it to rescan and/or remove them upon startup. This is fine as the program will run again the next time you start your computer and catch most, if not all, of the files.
Spybot is a more in depth spyware and adware removal tool. You can find download links for your free copy by visiting the rel=nofollow [http://www.spybot.info/]Spybot website. It is relatively user friendly, and has a couple of neat features. One of the features is it will create a backup of your registry system as part of the installation process. This is a good idea from the standpoint that if you happen to delete a file during a removal process, and needed that file, you can restore your registry.
Another useful item is that Spybot will allow you to 'immunize' your system. What this means is that you can help prevent future attacks and installations of spyware by 'immunizing' files that are common attack points. This doesn't guarantee that you won't get future spyware / adware, but it does help!
This has about 63,000 known trojans, spyware, and adware programs and files that it scans for, and I'm sure you will find that there are a lot of things on your computer that you had no idea were there when you first scan.
Ok, so there are some nasty bugs out there. Just as you might get the flu and feel pukey and feverish, your computer can get the 'flu' too! A lot of the viruses are getting nastier as the days go by, so if you don't have anti-virus software, especially if you are using a Windows computer, you are rolling the dice on getting the 'flu' or even the 'Asian bird flu'. It is well worth the money, especially if you use the internet or download any files. However, there are a couple of free scanners out there that you can use.
AVG Free antivirus scanner
Trend Micro antivirus scanner (online)
And there are many more out there, just Google it. Plus, some of the major antivirus companies will let you download a free, trial version for 30 days before you have to purchase, just check around for those.
Elliott Cross is an avid blogger and web designer living in Burlington, Kentucky. He enjoys blogging about search engine optimization techniques, blogging tips for Wordpress and the Firefox browser. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking, spending time with his family, and reading. To learn more, visit Elliott's site: http://ejcross.com
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Best-Free-Spyware-and-Adware-Removal-Programs&id=774284] Best Free Spyware and Adware Removal Programs