Try Adding THIS to Your Anti-Malware Arsenal

Category: Security

In the ever-escalating virus/antivirus wars, no single program eradicates every bit of malware infection. If problems persist after a full scan with your standard malware killer (or you just want a second opinion), you can try a specialized program that digs deeply into the dark corners of your system where advanced malware hides. Read on to learn about this tool that you should have in your internet security toolbox...

What is AdwCleaner?

AdwCleaner is one such specialty program. It does a superior job of rooting out rootkits, toolbars, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), and browser hijackers. It finds malware traces left in the registry, temp files, and browser settings that can sometimes resurrect these pests when a machine is rebooted. Best of all, it’s free and very easy to use.

AdwCleaner was created by a French firm called Xplode, but now is maintained by MalwareBytes. It’s best to download AdwCleaner directly from its support site where you’ll also find news and FAQs about AdwCleaner. But before you do, I recommend that you make a System Restore point, just in case you need to undo any of the changes AdwCleaner makes. (Click Start, then type create a restore point to begin the process.)

AdwCleaner Anti-Malware tool

AdwCleaner is easy to use. There is no installation process; the file you download is the executable AdwCleaner program. Just run it, click “Scan” and in a few minutes AdwCleaner displays a report of malware (or traces) that it found.

AdwCleaner digs into the dark corners where malware likes to hide: running services, folders, files, shortcuts, scheduled tasks, the registry, plus the nooks and crannies of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome.

When the scan is complete, AdwCleaner presents a report of anything that was found, and waits for you to click the “Next” button. If you're not techy, you might just want to whack that button and be done with it. If you later find that something needs to be restored, click the “Quarantine” button on the AdwCleaner main menu and you’ll find the Quarantine manager. It shows all of the files that AdwCleaner has removed and gives you the option to restore any of them if you later find that’s necessary.

Cleaning Up After Yourself

Note that I said "files" in that last sentence. Other things that AdwCleaner removes, such as registry keys and system services can't be restored using the Quarantine Manager. That's why I recommended making a System Restore point, so you can restore everything to the point prior to running AdwCleaner. It's not likely that you'll need to do so, but better safe than sorry, right?

I recommend at least looking at the items that were found, because there might be something you want to keep. When I ran the latest version of AdwCleaner this morning, it found traces of an old version of Advanced SystemCare that I had uninstalled. Those orphaned registry keys are not dangerous, but it's good to keep the Windows Registry clean and tidy. It also found some "Chrome Search Providers" (Dogpile, Blekko, Softonic) which are not dangerous, but not needed.

When “Next” is clicked, AdwCleaner looks for pre-installed software that may have been loaded on your computer by the vendor. Usually these are "crapware" programs that the vendor is paid to put there, and are not needed.

Clean, Rinse and Reboot

With a bit of poking around, and some Googling, you'll decide which items to uncheck, if any. Remember, (most of) the changes that AdwCleaner makes to your system are reversible with the “Quarantine Manager” mentioned above.

When “Quarantine” is clicked, AdwCleaner warns you that it will close all running programs and advises you to save any work before clicking “Continue” to start the cleaning process. Your computer will automatically be rebooted when cleaning is finished. There is no option to “reboot later,” which is a good thing for the forgetful. After your computer is restarted, a report of everything that was done will be displayed.

I regularly run other anti-malware scans, so I didn't expect AdwCleaner to find much. What traces it did identify were were harmless, or the remains of previously-removed software. But I was still glad to have them found and zapped. Your "mileage" may vary.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Try Adding THIS to Your Anti-Malware Arsenal"

Posted by:

20 Aug 2019

I purchased and installed Malwarebytes Premium.
Is AdwCleaner included with MWB Premium?
Or should I download and run separately?

Posted by:

20 Aug 2019

I used AdwCleaner many years ago, but after having so many problems with Malwarebytes 3.0 (I reverted to the much more reliable v2.2.1.1043), I have no intention of ever using anything "new" that they own. Before installing AdwCleaner, if you decide you're interested, I suggest you look at the problems other users are having by going to the Support Forum:

Posted by:

20 Aug 2019

@ JP

I am grateful for your contribution - I was one of Malwarebytes original clients and found them to be equal to, if not better than, virtually all of the other similar programs at that time. TROUBLE IS what comes with success is a feeling of great importance and NEVER ADMITTING WHEN THEY ARE WRONG.

Many thousands of us suffered with their latest (to quote JP - "new") anti-virus program a couple of years ago but it prevented ALL users of MODEMS from gaining access to the Internet.

With my limited skills and with the help of Microsoft I found a small file deep within the program to be the problem. So much fuss did I make that a rep from MB spoke to me personally - was angry - and denied the possibility of their program being the cause.

YET when we all deleted the program with the very best cleaner (and we all know who that is) we could enjoy the Internet once more.

I keep on about this because NOT ONCE did I receive an apology - and until I do - I will keep reminding our members that MB is FALLIBLE !!

Posted by:

Donald Brohm
20 Aug 2019

I have the same question as posted earlier today by (mg-3030). I am running MalwareBytes Premium, the pay version. Should I also download and run AdwCleaner?

Posted by:

Bob K.
20 Aug 2019

I too run Malwarebytes premium, and AdwCleaner is part of that program that runs automatically, so no, you do not need to download AdwCleaner as a separate program.

Posted by:

Jeff Ferguson
20 Aug 2019

Beware of this program, it is mostly an advertisement for Malwarebytes. The program found ASUSTEK pre-installed apps on my laptop when I don't have any, did not have in the past nor is the laptop made or toll-manufactured by ASUSTEK! Furthermore, the program can't be uninstalled, neither RevoUninstaller, CCleaner of Window 10's own Apps can find it, however, Bitdefender found it as a potential malware. Use it at your own risk!

Posted by:

Wild Bill
20 Aug 2019

It's been a couple of months since the last time I downloaded and ran AdwCleaner but I have never had it screw up my machines. And, since it is not installed, simply executed from the downloadable, it does not need to be uninstalled or removed. I use it as a follow-up to my Avast and Malwarebytes (free version), just to be safe. It has occasionally found some PUP that the others missed.

Posted by:

20 Aug 2019

As far as I know, they are still two independent programs.
Although Malwarebytes has plans to eventually include AdwCleaner into Malwarebytes, the last time I actually checked (early 2019), they hadn't done so as of then.

Posted by:

Bob K
20 Aug 2019

sirpaul2 wrote: As far as I know, they are still two independent programs.


Here is a link, and if you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see a free download for AdwCleaner. AdwCleaner is part of the premium Malwarebytes subscription.

Posted by:

Skipper Gaston
20 Aug 2019

I have used AdwCleaner for years, and it is always the first program that I run on a customer's computer when I make a service call. It almost always finds something to remove from that computer. I usually use it in conjunction with Malwarebytes. Each of them often finds something that the other missed.

Posted by:

Gordon C
20 Aug 2019

Thank you very much for that link JP!

Hair-raising reading having been down a similar system recovery path -- using Windows built-in tools on the Command Line and beaucoup de tech support -- thanks to Iolo System Mechanic Pro which hit my Windows 10 PC like Ebola System Mechanic Pro.

I have used AdwCleaner in the past and never had any problems, but, damn, even with a restore point, I'm going to pass for the time being. I'm in my 5th year of using Webroot, CCleaner for much longer, and 2nd year of Revo Uninstaller Pro. Life is good.

Posted by:

Brian B
20 Aug 2019

" single program eradicates every bit of malware infection."

That is quite true, but white list AV protection will stop EVERYTHING from downloading unless you give your permission. Prevention is better than cure.

Posted by:

21 Aug 2019

I think that you need to provide a few more steps, particularly at the download stage, as there are a few buttons that a novice would not know whether to click on or not. A screen dump or two would not go astray!

Posted by:

21 Aug 2019

Thanks Bob, good info. Having used MWB for some time now with good results, I downloaded and ran AdWCleaner. Interestingly, it also found traces of old programs I had previously installed and subsequently removed. Among them was also Advanced System Care. I notice the program created a restore point for me before quarantining what it found. I will keep it along with my other “junk removal” tools which include MWB, CCleaner and Autoruns Scanner.

Posted by:

21 Aug 2019

I used Malwarebytes for some years,then started using CCleaner as a additional "On Demand" service. But to my dismay I discovered that CCleaner continued to find certain applications as "malware", despite the fact that I specified these applications were to be 'excluded.' After a while I stopped using CCleaner altogether, and started using "Advanced System Care", which I thought was more thorough, easier to configure, and offered more ancillary functions I found to be useful. But then I discovered that ASC and Malwarebytes didn't play nicely together. MWB consistently identified more than 50 features of ASC as PUPs, which I knew to be safe. Some kind soul here at Bob's site showed me how to set up MWB so that they wouldn't fight so badly with ASC. Then MWB seems to have made some changes, and I couldn't set up the more than 50 exclusions any longer! So I deleted MWB, because I preferred the features of ASC. Now, these are all fine, up-standing members of our community, but they seem to be intent on maintaining their own 'rice bowl'!! Is it possible that there is just one kind, well-informed soul here present who might be able to assist me in getting all these players to play nicely together? I would be willing to commit to a life-long prayer of thanksgiving in his/her name if I were fortunate enough to discover such an individual!! Many thanks, and especially to you Bob!!

Posted by:

21 Aug 2019

Your suggestion of performing a System Restore is unnecessary since one of the first step in having ADW Cleaner run is it does create a new restore point.

ADW Cleaner is NOT a component of Malwarebytes Pro.

Posted by:

Bert Blink
22 Aug 2019

Sorry would not recommend this program. Lost my internet connection and even after undoing the changes made by this program I needed to do a system restore to get back to normal.

Posted by:

23 Aug 2019

Having use adwcleaner and ccleaner in the past, I no longer use them. Just before last year's problem with ccleaner I'd neglected to update it and missed that problem. Uninstalled it. When malwarebytes purchased adwcleaner, stopped using adwcleaner.
Last week a friend asked for help with her Windows 10 computer. (which i'm not familiar with) Malware and ads were shutting it down. There were 4 culprit programs injecting troublesome files. 2 weren't a problem to remove. 1 "anti-virus" program was next to impossible. Running control panel, ccleaner, and Glary utilities for unfamiliar programs and then searching the net to check these programs sorted them out. (1 of my laptops present in case her computer crashed)
Anyway, awdcleaner and superantispyware never flagged the 2 hardest to remove. 1 had to be removed by deleting the program folder. The anti-virus program was named something like "suaraova". Which i'd removed 1 month prior for her. It then uninstalled with its uninstall file.
So i'll no longer recommend adwcleaner. And continue to test superantispyware.

Posted by:

keygen bro
03 Nov 2020

Adw Cleaner is a program that significantly increases the security of your computer, because you only need to download and plug it into a USB drive to use it and get rid of any problems with your computer.Adw Cleaner Registered Kwy With Patch program detects and removes any adware, PUP / LPI (potentially unwanted program), toolbars or hijackers.

Posted by:

khansa khan
03 Nov 2020

AdwCleaner License Key is very simple. Just download the program and run it. You will be presented with a screen with Scan and Clean buttons. The Scan button will allow AdwCleaner to find unwanted programs on your computer and then show all the files, directories, and registrations found on your computer that are being used by adware programs.

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