If you have been online for some time you have likely heard the term spyware. Spyware is software designed to be installed on a computer without the user’s knowledge. The software then monitors your usage and communicates this data back to the originating software company. Many forms of spyware also use all manner of tricks to get their advertising in front of you, including pop-up windows and altering search engine results pages.
How You Get Spyware
Spyware is not the same as a virus. It does not self-replicate and transmit to other computers. If you have spyware, you probably got it by downloading and installing a plug in to view a website, or installing some other software on your computer. Most spyware is bundled with useful software or tools like tool bars and other free downloads. Some very popular free software programs are paid to include spyware in their software, plaguing millions with pop up advertisements. These include Weatherbug, Real Player, Cool Web Search, Internet Optimizer, Kazaa, Download Accelerator Plus, and others.
System Performance with Spyware
If you only have one or two spyware programs you may not even notice them unless they spawn tons of pop ups. However, as the number of active spyware programs increases, system performance is affected. This is caused by a major drain on your system resources. Most spyware is poorly designed and full of bugs, which can cause other problems like system crashes.
How to Get Rid of Spyware
There are many free solutions to get rid of spyware. There is no need to spend your hard earned money on spyware removal software. In fact, most of the software you pay for does not even work to remove spyware from your computer. Instead, try one of these free solutions. You will only need to use one in most cases to take care of nearly all of your spyware problems.
There are two free easy to use spyware removal programs available. One is the Spybot Search and Destroy. Spybot is the most popular removal program, and it is constantly updated to detect the newest spyware threats. It is also very easy to use. When you open up the software for the first time it gives you step by step instructions on how to search and remove spyware.
The other program is the Ad-Aware Personal. This is another popular software program that will search out and destroy spyware on your computer. It seems to be comparable to Spybot Search and Destroy. However, you will find people who swear by one or the other.
There are also advanced spyware removal tools that are only useful for the technically knowledgeable. Do not use these tools if you are not completely certain of what you are doing because you could really mess up your computer in the process. These tools delve deep into your computer in search of spyware and other malware. Merjin.org offers many such free tools for your use. Hijack is another helpful tool that scans your registry and hard drive for unwanted code. Be very careful when using these tools because if you delete the wrong thing you could render your computer useless.