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ARCHIVED: Using Ad-Aware, how do I scan my PC to remove spyware and adware?

Note: As of December 31, 2007, Lavasoft, the producer of Ad-Aware, has discontinued updates for Ad-Aware SE. UITS does not plan to buy a new system-wide site license for Lavasoft's newer commercial products. For information about the academic rates for individual purchase, see Lavasoft's academic/non-profit page. Another anti-spyware option is Windows Defender, which comes with Windows Vista and is free to licensed users of Windows XP.

Before you start

Warning: Ad-Aware is a software application that scans and modifies the registry of your computer. You are solely responsible for any changes made to your personal computer while using this software.

UITS recommends that you run Ad-Aware scans in Safe Mode for best results. For help, see ARCHIVED: In Windows, how can I boot into Safe Mode? or ARCHIVED: How can I run Windows 95, 98, or Me in Safe Mode?

For Ad-Aware to be most effective, you must download the latest reference files. For help, see ARCHIVED: In Ad-Aware, how do I download the latest reference files?

How to scan your PC with Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE Plus

To scan your computer with Ad-Aware, follow these steps:

  1. Open Ad-Aware SE Plus, and in the bottom right corner of the status screen, click the Start button.

  2. On the resulting screen, in the "Select scan mode" area, select Perform smart system scan.

  3. Click the Next button. Ad-Aware will display the "Performing System Scan" screen and indicate its progress as it scans your computer.

  4. Scans normally take several minutes to complete. When the scan is complete, Ad-Aware will display the "Scan Complete" screen. Objects found will be highlighted in red.

  5. On the "Scan Complete" screen, click the Next button. Ad-Aware will display the "Scanning Results" screen.

  6. Right-click any item in the results list. From the pop-up menu, choose Select all objects.

  7. After all objects are selected, click the Next button.

  8. Click the OK button to confirm that you want to remove all the adware that Ad-Aware SE Plus found.

  9. Ad-Aware will remove the adware and return to the "Ad-Aware SE Status" screen.

  10. Close the Ad-Aware program. If you ran Ad-Aware in Safe Mode, restart your computer to return to normal startup mode.
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Last modified on March 31, 2010.

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