Try Adding THIS to Your Anti-Malware Arsenal
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 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...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 20 Aug 2019
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Try Adding THIS to Your Anti-Malware Arsenal (Posted: 20 Aug 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved