If you are getting pop-ups, especially at random when you are not surfing the web, then you are one of about 500 million people infected with spyware. Spyware is software that covertly gathers information about you through your internet connection without your knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even your passwords and credit card numbers. These evil programs get on your computer by being "bundled" with free things like screen savers, password keeping utilities, music swapping programs, clip-art, and others. Some of these programs will stop working when you remove their advertising spyware, and some must be removed themselves before you can remove their spyware.
1. The first thing to do is to go to Start - Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs and one-at-a-time highlight & remove anything that says: Web Search, Rebates, Browser enhancement, Ebates, Shopper, GAIN, New.net, Moe Money Maker, or IE Enhancement. This is only a partial list because it grows more every day, but this will give you a good start, and the remaining steps below should clean up the rest.
2. Reboot. If it asks you to reboot after each one, you don't have to - you can wait till the end and do it once.
If you have Windows 98 or Windows ME, please upgrade .
Ad-Aware is a free to download spyware cleaner. This free download version is a only cleaner for spyware - you must pay for them if you want the monitoring protection.
Install one or both, update them first, then run a full scan. Select and remove anything the program finds.
4. The last thing to do is to download Firefox. This should keep you from getting anymore spyware in the future.
The above bit of effort is really worth it in terms of a faster, less “crashy”, more secure computer. Simply turning on a pop-up blocker is only masking the symptom, not curing it.
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