Nothing is more annoying than going to use your computer only to have to deal with pop-ups and browser redirects. When you buy a new computer, it’s fresh and clean and fast. Over time and use without proper protection, your computer can get infected with malware, adware, or even ransomware, and suddenly the speed decreases, you get pop-ups all over the place and annoying ads. Don’t fret; here is what to do to remove adware.
How Your Computer Gets Infected with Adware
Most often, adware and malware are bundled with freeware or other downloads. Typically, paid software is free of those types of things but not always. The problem is when you download a free piece of software, even if the developer is a trusted source, it could be laced with hidden adware or other unwanted programs. Rarely do these programs disclose that along with the software you want, you also get other things like browser toolbars added to your computer.
Usually, you don’t find out until your computer slows down, and you start seeing unwanted pop-ups, or your browser opens pages you don’t want automatically. Sometimes you can get stuck in an endless loop of windows popping open, and despite your efforts to close them, they just keep coming. If you click the links that are on the page, you could be getting your computer browser infected with adware or malware.
Generally, these types of programs target Windows machines rather than Mac computers. However, it is possible for a macOS machine to also be affected.
How to Remove Adware, Malware and Redirects from Your Browser
Follow these steps to delete adware, malware and stop redirects from your browser:
- In Windows, go to the Control Panel and look for Uninstall a program.
- You will see the “Programs and Features” screen with all installed software.
- Scroll down and look for any programs you do not recognize. Some may sound fishy. Some examples are PDFPoof, BatBitRst, MessengerNow, SearchAd, MyPrintableCoupons, Reading Cursors, ProMediaConverter, PDFOnline-express, See Scenic Elf, Clickware, Easy Speedtest, or WebDiscover.
- Click the Uninstall button to remove them. Follow the prompts until complete.
- Read the prompts carefully, sometimes the developers try to trick you into canceling the uninstall.
- Reboot your computer after you have finished uninstalling.
- On a Mac, open Finder.
- On the left-hand side, click Applications.
- Look for any programs you don’t recognize.
- Drag any programs you don’t want to the Trash.
- When you’re done, at the bottom, right-click Trash.
- Click Empty Trash.
How to Remove Adware from Chrome
If you use Chrome as your web browser, it includes a tool for finding and removing these types of programs. To use it:
- Open Chrome and go to the three-dot menu > Settings.
- Click Advanced.
- Look for “reset and clean up” and choose “Clean up computer.”
- Click Find.
- You may be asked to reboot your computer after the removal.
Browser Reset for Chrome
- In Windows, go to the Settings > Advanced.
- Look for Reset Settings.
- If you are on a Mac or Chromebook, the menu item is called Restore settings to their original defaults > Reset Settings.
Run a Virus Scan
How to Stay Safe from Adware, Malware and Browser Redirects
- Only download and install software from trusted sources. Always choose customized set up so you can uncheck any additional programs they want to install.
- Keep your computer and other devices updated with security patches and the most recent operating system.
- Keep a good antivirus program installed and run deep scans often.
- Never click links or open attachments in emails. Always be careful of suspicious-sounding emails.
- Avoid unsecure websites which might be infected with adware, ransomware, or malware.
The best way to stay safe is to run antivirus/anti-malware scans often, keep your system updated, and use common sense with downloads.