Simple and Free Tools to Remove Adware and Malware on PC

Sometimes all it takes is a quick click or an unintended checkbox left when installing software – most of the time for free – for your computer to turn into a billboard or, worse, become infected with malware. In fact, many applications downloaded from the Internet take advantage of the installation phase to deposit other tools in the storage space that is barely requested. Often, their installation is hidden behind a harmless Accept or Next button which we press, we must admit, without looking at the text that defines what we agree to.

Many of these programs pass through the antivirus networks installed on the computer. They can activate immediately after installing the app or at a later time, showing ads or monitoring your internet browsing. These are popular PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs). If it is not a priori dangerous, then it can nevertheless compromise the confidentiality of data and, above all, disrupt the daily use of the computer.

To get rid of it, many free tools are available. The most famous of them, like CCleaner, are effective but require installation. They are also very quick to get the user to spend a few euros to get a more efficient version of their service. It is recommended instead to rely on two tools that are also free but do not require any installation: Microsoft Safety Scanner and AdwCleaner. The first is offered by the Windows Editor. Despite the strictness of the English language, it is easy to use and very effective. The second belongs since 2019 to the publisher MalwareBytes, the antivirus and malware group. It also does not require installation but only focuses on PUPs and malware. One can use these two tools one by one to ensure that no malware remains on the device.

However, keep in mind that Microsoft Safety Scanner and AdwCleaner do not replace antivirus software: they complement it. And because they are portable programs, without installation, they do not run independently, always and in the background. You have to start them manually. For example, when you suspect unwanted software on your device, after installing free software or, in general, once a month. Finally, they should be re-downloaded regularly to ensure that their internal database is up to date. By the way, the downloaded version of Microsoft Safety Scanner is only valid for ten days! Auxiliary tools, therefore, are valuable and effective.

Microsoft Safety Scanner

Microsoft’s tool is based on the same database as the Windows Security Group (formerly Windows Defender), but it focuses specifically on potentially unwanted and/or malicious software.

Start by downloading the version of Microsoft Safety Scanner (Msert) that works for your computer (32 or 64-bit).

Open the program. Accept the terms of the End User License Agreement by checking the appropriate box, then click Next and Next again. In the window that appears, choose the type of analysis to be performed:

Quick Scan for a quick scan that focuses on the parts of the system most affected by malware; A complete scan for a complete and in-depth analysis of the entire system and all storage media connected to the computer. It is recommended to use this mode for the first time or if a quick scan analysis reveals the presence of intruders.

Using AdwCleaner

With a French-language interface, more modern and more graphic than Microsoft Safety Scanner, AdwCleaner is more fun to use. It is also much faster than Microsoft’s MSert tool and no less efficient.

Download AdwCleaner for Windows. Run the tool and accept the terms of use by clicking on the I accept button. In the window that appears, click the Scan Now button. Analysis begins. It takes less than a minute.

After this scan, AdwCleaner presents the potentially unwanted programs detected in your storage space. Uncheck the boxes for the ones you don’t want to get rid of (these might already be false positives) and click Next.

In the next step, AdwCleaner also introduces a pre-installed program on your device that will likely slow it down. This time, the boxes corresponding to apps are not checked by default. If you want to take advantage of this process to remove this program, check the corresponding boxes and click Quarantine.

Click Continue in the dialog box that appears. Indicates that the applications will be stopped and that they will no longer be launched. No items have been deleted at this time.

Cleaning is done and takes only a few seconds. You can change your choice of apps that you have quarantined at any time. Click Quarantine List in the left pane of AdwCleaner. Check the box next to the desired program. Click the Restore button to make it work again or the Delete button to get rid of it permanently.

Sources: writing and the web

Sometimes all it takes is a quick click or an unintended checkbox left when installing software – most of the time for free – for your computer to turn into a billboard or, worse, become infected with malware. In fact, many applications downloaded from the Internet take advantage of the installation stage to deposit in …

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