Using Lavasoft Ad-Aware to Protect Your Computer
- What is Ad-Aware?
Ad-Aware is software by Lavasoft that can be used to clean your computer of spyware and other harmful files. This includes data-mining programs, pop-up advertisements, browser hijackers, tracking components, and other malware.
- How do I get Ad-Aware?
Ad-Aware can be downloaded from Lavasoft's website at www.lavasoftusa.com. Follow the links to download the Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition. The next few steps will walk through setup and use of Ad-Aware.
Steps to download and use Ad-Aware:
- Download Ad-Aware from the link provided above. The file should be named "aawsepersonal.exe" or something similar. Go ahead and install the software.
- After you install the software, you will see a checkbox screen come up with some options.
Go ahead and hit next, Ad-Aware will first check online for new "Definition Files", which allows it to identify newer versions of unwanted advertising and tracking software on your computer.
- Next Ad-Aware will run a full system scan, which may take awhile depending on the speed of your computer and amount of data that needs to be scanned. When the scan is finished you will see a window pop up that identifies all of the files on your computer Ad-Aware thinks to be adware, etc.
Normally Ad-Aware is very good about finding most all of the harmful files on your computer, and only these harmful files, but it is important to scan through and make sure for yourself. Occasionally a program has security software with code that seems like it may be some sort of malicious software. If you see a trusted company's software on the list, just make sure you do not check the item. Otherwise, you can right click on the window and choose 'select all objects'.
- When you hit Next, Ad-Aware will attempt to remove all of the harmful files from your computer. Occasionally it will find processes running that cannot be terminated. In this case, it will ask you if you will allow the program to run before the next restart - this way it can delete harmful processes before they are initialized. Choose whether or not this is an option you would like, and then close Ad-Aware; you've just completed your first system scan.
Performing subsequent updates and scans:
- Every week or so, it is important to complete another Ad-Aware scan. Each time you do this you must update the definition files before performing a scan. Start up Ad-Aware, and we'll see how to manually check for updates.
- From the main screen, simply hit the 'Check for Updates' hyperlink in the lower-right of the interface. A window will pop up asking you to connect to the Ad-Aware server. Hit connect.
If there is a new update, a window will pop up with the new update information, and you can hit 'OK' to download the new update.
- After the new update is installed, simply hit the 'Scan' tab on the left of the window, choose your scan options and allow Ad-Aware to scan. After the scan you will be presented with the same options as when you ran your initial scan.