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PC Doctor+ Guide 3 Spyware

Get Some Protection (3) We've put Spyware and Adware together because in many ways they are inextricably linked. They are certainly are both intrusive and extremely annoying. Left to accumulate, both ...

Get Some Protection (3)

We've put Spyware and Adware together because in many ways they are inextricably linked. They are certainly are both intrusive and extremely annoying. Left to accumulate, both types will have a detrimental affect on the performance of your PC.

Let's deal with Spyware first.

What Is Spyware?

Spyware often appears as cookies, registry entries or small pieces of program code which are transferred to your computer from the internet or from installed software without you knowing. Its purpose is simple enough - to make a note of what you are doing as you browse the web and then feed the information back to its originator - all of this while the user remains completely unaware of what is going on.

Now why would anyone want to know this, you might ask.

Well that answer is simple enough too. Suppose you spend a lot of time looking at gardening sites. You might find that you soon begin to receive a lot of e-mails advertising seed catalogues. The Spyware has sent back information that suggests that you are a keen gardener and more importantly - a potential customer. Likewise, you may find that you start to get a lot of pop-up ads while you are browsing the Internet - some related to gardening and some related to the kind of other interests gardeners are expected to have.

What Is Adware?

Although just as irritating, Adware does tend to be a little more up front about itself. Some free software, Kazaa is a good example; fund themselves by displaying pop-up and static advertisements while you are using the software. When you install the Kazaa software other software is also installed which takes care of the advertisement maintenance. In fact, Kazaa will refuse to run if you uninstall the advertisement software.

Now it's arguable that funding software this way is perfectly legitimate. After all, commercial television has been funding itself this way for many years. You, as the user, have to make a decision as to whether or not you are prepared to put up with the advertisements. If not then don't install the software.

It's worth thinking for a moment about Spybot - Search & Destroy. This is the free software that we recommend for removing both Spyware and Adware. The author has supplied us all with an excellent piece of software for which there is no charge. Now ask yourself how many people you know would be prepared to spend hour upon hour developing something that is then supplied to complete strangers for no return remuneration whatsoever.

It becomes clear why some people therefore use Adware to fund both themselves and future development of the software.

The author of Spybot, Patrick M. Kolla, has decided to resist the temptation to include advertisements with Spybot but the software has proved to be so popular his own ISP is now charging him for the extra bandwidth his web site takes up as people download the software.

To counter this he asks for donations to help meet his costs - no fixed price - just donations and they are not compulsory.

Perhaps you will consider this after downloading the software.

The download and installation process is easy enough if you accept all of the default settings the software suggests. You can download the program at (just put Spybot in the search window). Take a little time to read the inbuilt tutorial which is an education in itself.

Spybot maintains a substantial list of known spyware programs and scans your PC for any signs of it.

Once installed, click on the SEARCH & DESTROY button to start the search process which can take a few minutes. The software will list all of the Spyware and Adware that it finds and includes a tick box next to each item so that you can choose whether or not to leave an individual item active.

Its not infallible. For exampleScience Articles, it has been known to hightlight the automatic update programs for some virus checkers and deleting these will prevent your virus checker from updating itself automatically. If you update your virus checker manually then this shouldn't be a problem. Personally I have found that the program seems to know what it is doing and I tend to accept the tick boxes as they are.Those with ticks against them are removed once you take the FIX PROBLEMS option. You should then re-boot to ensure any changes made have been fully acted upon.

I have no problem with readers downloading this or any of the other PC Doctor+ guides and including them as content in their own websites. All I ask is that you display a link to my own site at (Iím English so manners count lol!) .

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Steve Latimer is Systems Manager with ARRIVAL Computers ( )

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