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Our Guide to the Top 10 Adware Removers

written by: •edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 5/20/2011

Adware removal can be a tricky business - many tools that purport to remove adware and spyware are in fact themselves malware! Our list to the top 10 adware removal tools should point you in the right direction.

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    Which Adware Removal Tool is for You?

    Adware is one of those really frustrating aspects of surfing the web – it is frustratingly easy to find your browser and PC infected with such software, but can potentially take hours to remove.

    While there is a small amount of adware applications that you might want to use (such as chat clients, for instance) the majority of such software is often spyware and is used to collect personal information about your PC and your browsing habits.

    Removal of these types of software has become a key aspect of security software, and one that many of the larger publishers have largely steered away from over the years, preferring to concentrate on targeted virus software.

    The result of this is that several new, smaller software houses have sprung up, producing dedicated adware removal tools.

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    Top Ten Adware Removers Part One - Windows PCs

    Following are the top ten adware removers for Windows PCs.

    Ad-aware

    This is a highly regarded adware removal tool, and one of the first specialist products to focus on removing this type of malware. With a good reputation, their products cover a range of security solutions, with the basic purpose of adware removal available free. Visit lavasoft.com for more information.

    Spybot Search & Destroy is one of our top ten adware removers Spybot Search & Destroy

    This should be your first choice when looking for spyware/adware removal tools. The tool of choice for many IT professionals when removing spyware or adware, it is as complete a solution as its name suggests.

    You also get a personal recommendation from me for this one - I've been extolling the virtues of Spybot Search & Destroy for several years, and it never disappoints.

    Find Spyware S&D free at www.safer-networking.org.

    AVG Anti-Spyware

    AVG’s reputation is built on providing free anti-virus protection for home users, and recently they have incorporated anti-adware and anti-spyware functionality into this product. With a large user base, AVG’s free product is well-regarded. Download their free home user version from free.avg.com.

    SuperAntiSpyware

    One of the top spyware removal tools, SuperAntiSpyware claims to remove all spyware, “not just the easy ones" and is available as a free or premium product depending on the protection level you require. It is also light on system resources and includes registry fixing tools. Like Spybot Search & Destroy, SuperAntiSpyware is popular with IT support personnel.

    Windows Defender

    If you’re using Windows, you should really have this installed already! Windows Defender is Microsoft’s own solution to protection from and removal of spyware and adware, Windows Defender is available free from www.microsoft.com and can be used only on legal copies of Windows XP, Vista and 7.

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    Adware Tools Part Two - Windows, Mac and Linux

    Top ten adware removers Glary Utilities

    This is a free security and system optimization utility suite that I hadn’t previously heard of, but it comes well-recommended. Designed for private (single PC) use, Glary Utilities features anti spyware, trojan, and adware functionality, and is intended to protect your privacy. Visit www.glaryutilities.com to download

    Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

    With fast scanning and a daily definition update, this tool is described as “the next step in the detection and removal of malware" and it is certainly being used more and more, offering a no-nonsense approach to freeing your system of adware. Malwarebytes have a free and premium version of this tool available, depending on your requirements.

    MacScan

    MacScan - one of our top ten adware removers Specifically for Apple Mac OSX, this application scans blacklisted tracking cookies and removes them, as well as receiving regular definition updates. It pretty much replicates the task of deleting temporary internet items and cookies (or resetting your browser), and is available for $29.95.

    Despite what you might have been told, Mac OSX is susceptible to malicious software, particularly adware and spyware.

    Download from securemac.com.

    Internet Cleanup

    Strangely not compatible with the latest release of OSX (10.6 Snow Leopard), Internet Cleanup is designed to stop spammers, malware and prevent data theft. It’s a useful catch-all internet security application for Apple Macs, and you can download from www.smithmicro.com.

    NoScript Firefox Extension for Linux

    Linux users unfortunately are not protected from spyware tracking cookies – however their ability to do any damage to your system can be completely negated by installing this free Firefox extension. Basically, the extension prevents plugin scripts being run on any website that you have not decreed as “safe", which is quite a total solution! Download this extension from noscript.net.

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    Ones to Avoid

    While you’re not bound to follow our list of the top ten adware removers, we would suggest you steer clear of the following, which have been described by www.spywarewarrior.com as “rogue" applications. Basically this means that they either don’t work as adware removers, or more often than not are in fact adware themselves.

    • Adware Remover Gold
    • PC Adware SpyWare Removal
    • Real AdWareRemoverGold
    • Scumware-Remover
    • Spyware Sweeper

    Generally speaking, if the alleged spyware/adware removal tool is available only as a paid-for item, or one that will do a scan and then refuse to remove the results until a payment has been made, then you can assume that it is a rogue application.

    For a full list, visit www.spywarewarrior.com.