Spyware Removal: Free or Pay For It?

MerpsMom

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I was fooling around waiting for a file to copy when I searched for Spyware on Yagahoogle (my spelling.) Found Spyware Free Software. PCHealth offered to scan my computer. I did that and it found I was "severely infected." :rolleyes: How did I know that?

Anyway, it recommended I remove all these nasties before my house fell down and my shrubs all died. Ta-da. Try to do that and you get sent to a "Buy It Now" site. How did I know that also?

Question is, can one d/l free removal tools or is that asking for a free lunch as well? I have one on the computer somewhere but it's never "found" anything. Are they only good if you spend money for them?
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Mike Labbe

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Hi Merpsmom!

Be very careful. About 20% of those products are scams, and many of them actually INSTALL spyware and adware to your computer. Anything that presents itself in a pop up ad to sell you a solution to shut off pop up ads is more than a little suspicious


The one I trust most is free for personal use, and is called AD-AWARE. It is made by LAVASOFT and can be found at http://www.lavasoft.de/support/download/

The free version doesn't run all the time, but only when you tell it to run. I prefer this because it doesn't cause the computer to slow down.

If you'd like one that runs all the time, check out Spybot: Search and Destroy http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html

Note these are not a replacement for your antivirus scanner. In most cases you need to have both products to do the job.

Just like a virus scanner, your spyware/adware scanner will need to download weekly updates so it will be aware of the newest critters. The list gets updated weekly.

Mike
 

Jay H

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If you buy one, buy SpySweeper. I think its like $20/year. I think its the best one out there but not good enough to pay.
 

Chris in CT

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I also use Ad-Aware and Spybot, they are both free and do a good job. You have to run Ad-Aware every so often, but Spybot works on it's own.
 

Mike Labbe

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I use both of them, too, as well as Norton to catch the viri. The windows one provides minimal protection and isn't a good enough replacement for a virus scanner.
 

AnneL

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We have Norton, Ad-Aware, and Spybot on all our computers that go online but we still had one computer pick up a very persistent piece of spyware that none of them caught even though I update definitions frequently. I did download a free, fully operational version of SpySweeper and it cleaned out alot of things but there are still a few persistent ones it is having trouble dealing with. It does, however, have a shield in it that alerts you when anything or anyone tries to change your home page or internet settings. I think I'm going to keep it since that was the main problem we were having and it seems to have fixed it.

In order to get rid of the persistent stuff none of the spyware programs seem to be able to handle, I also installed HijackThis! and got a log that I sent to a computer expert to let me know what to keep and what to remove. I'm really mad that we got infected despite my best efforts to keep our computers clean!

A good place to get any of the above mentioned software is www.download.com .

Besides good virus and spyware programs, it is also important to have a good firewall. I think that's why that computer got infected. I was relying on the built in XP firewall, which doesn't seem to be very effective. I now have a Norton firewall on it like I do the other computers. Originally, my husband was only going to use it to send orders to the lab but the temptation to visit photography websites was too much for him and he picked up something while surfing the internet! :(
 

AnneL

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By the way MM, was the program you tried to use called Spyware Doctor? I tried that one and it did the same thing-told me I had all kinds of infections and but wouldn't remove them till I bought it. I wasn't going to buy it till I knew if it worked!

And then, everytime I would go online looking for more solutions, I would get annoying pop-ups advertising that and the same companies other products even after I deleted the stupid thing! :mad: The pop-ups all went away after I installed SpySweeper. I know which program I'm buying!
 

BILL WARD

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I just tried MS's beta anti spy this am.....downloaded & ran it ...said I was clean...no problems THEN I ran adaware(just updated)...found 23 data minors..neither one found the trojan that norton says is there but is unable to remove!
Wonder why MS spent all that time/money when something free does it soooo much better??? obvously not THE solution, but a better one.
 

MerpsMom

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Thanx, all. I have Ad-Aware but just installed the latest version. I also have Norton AV (which will be gone when it expires as I don't like it. Will put on AVG which is on other computer.) Have Windows Firewall on and don't know about NAV firewall but bet it's on as well.

One thing I don't get about Ad-Aware. Why not just remove the dirty little buggers when they're found rather than "quarantine" them? If I didn't want them first, why would I want them put in limbo for any amount of time?? I've never understood that about Ad-Aware.
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Rogatory

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MerpsMom,
After running Ad-Aware, check the boxes on the left, then hit next (trying to remember from memory) that should delete them instead of quaratining them.
 

AnneL

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Norton Firewall is sold seperate from Norton antivirus. I've never had alot of problems with either and the computer geeks I've talked to say that Norton is one of the better ones. Firewalls are different then virus scanners. They block things before they can get on your computer.

ZoneAlert is another good firewall from what I've been reading/hearing. I think you can get it at download.com also. The important thing with any of these things is to keep them up to date and run them regularly.
 

MerpsMom

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Rogatory, I checked boxes on left, did next, and it quarantined them. But when I looked at the log after a scan/removal attempt, it said Objects Removed: 9 and also Objects Quarantined: 9. The initial number of bugs it found was 9.

I still don't get it. Could be I should read the Manual? God forbid. It's easier to ask--- which is violating a lifelong tenet beaten into us by our father that we should be self-sufficient, blah-blah-blah. Not always.
 

Rogatory

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If you want to clean them out open the program, open the quarantine list and delete them one at a time.
The quarantine files are REALLY small, the largest file I found on mine was 326kb.
 
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