adware

Uninstall Nonessential Programs From Mac or PC

If you no longer need a program on your computer, or if it is conflicting with other programs on your system, it's a good idea to uninstall it. Most of the time, the program's uninstaller will be adequate for this. You can find that by looking for the installer file, and then selecting "uninstall." This should remove all of the files associated with that program. There may be many other programs that wound up getting installed on your system that you're not even thinking about, and are just taking up space or resources.

Should I renew McAfee on my computer?

Windows 10

Episode 1472

Kathy from Santa Ana, CA

Kathy says she bought a new computer with McAfee antivirus, and it wants her to activate it. Should she? Leo says no way. McAfee is commonly referred to as bloatware and it's essentially advertising on her PC. Kathy will want to go into Control Panel > Apps and Features, and uninstall any program she doesn't want. The problem, though, is that many AVS programs like McAfee are difficult to uninstall completely. She may need to get an uninstaller from McAfee to get rid of it all. There already is an antivirus program built into Windows called Defender, and it's a solid program.

Is there a computer that doesn't come with adware?

Episode 1438

Lincoln from Palm Springs, CA

Lincoln wants to know if there's a computer he can buy that doesn't come with any trialware? Leo says that most computer companies do this to offset the cost of manufacturing them. Even Microsoft will bundle trialware in the install. Leo advises uninstalling all that stuff from the very beginning. Leo says that Microsoft is edging towards putting advertising in the OS through popups, and that's a bad thing. So Lincoln should get rid of it all, and install only the programs he always uses, then create a stock Windows install by making an image copy that he can boot up to just in case.

Should I buy a Lenovo laptop?

Google Pixel

Episode 1344

Dave from Escondido, CA

Dave has been Christmas shopping online and he found a great deal on a laptop with 16GB of RAM and dual drives with an SSD and a spinning drive. Leo says it's similar to the Mac Fusion drive, where it has the performance of an SSD and the storage space of a spinning drive. Dave is worried that Lenovo has put malware on it, though. Leo says that it was the Superfish adware, and Lenovo got caught doing that -- twice. They have since learned their lesson. Leo likes the Ideapad and at $749, it's a great deal.

Why do I get a popup to open a file?

Episode 1319

Tim from LaHabra, CA

Tim has a message popping up that asks which app to open a file with. It happens automatically and he doesn't know what file it is. Leo says that's disconcerting. Leo suspects AdWare or worse! There's something on his system that is running in the background and the antivirus can't kill it. He'll have to figure out what the app is that's starting up. He'll have to expect that his system has been compromised, though, and the only real way to be sure he's gotten rid of the malware is to backup his data, wipe his hard drive, and reinstall Windows.

Why can't I get back online after removing malware?

Episode 1186

Ed from Philadelphia, PA

Ed has discovered malware on his computer so he took it off and now he can't get on the internet. Leo says that Malware comes through any browser and when you get malware, or in this case adware, removing it can be problematic. Installers will attach the malware or adware to a critical system file and then when you remove it, you also remove the critical files for your system.

How do I get rid of adware?

Episode 1155

Joan from Anaheim, CA

Joan has an HP computer running Windows 7, but she wound up with something on her system. Leo says that chances are she went on Download.com to install software and it's installed adware on her computer. Leo says that Microsoft displays a message if she wants to remove a system file, which may be what she's trying to do to remove that adware. On Microsoft's UAC popup asking to update the system file, Joan should say yes.

How can I uninstall Search Donkey?

Episode 1095

Peter from Tustin, CA

Peter was looking for video codecs and he got bit by some malware called "Search Donkey." Leo says that even legitimate sites can get bit by malware. And places like CNet will install adware in their installer without really drawing attention to it. Leo says that the only difference between Malware and Adware is that Adware lets the user uninstall and technically gives an opt out on installation (if the user can find it).

Why am I getting popups on my new laptop?

Episode 1086

Mike from Long Beach, CA

Mike is getting a ton of popups on his laptop that he just bought. Leo says that is likely a bunch of software included on the laptop, called bloatware. The laptop was so cheap because they can subsidize the price with adware on your computer. And there's no real answer. You could try PCDrcrapifier. Or if you have a copy of Windows, you can just format your drive and reinstall the OS.

How can I get rid of adware?

Episode 1084

Lou from Inland Empire, CA

Lou has adware and after scanning for it, it hasn't disappeared. Leo says that adware is annoying, but most antivirus software doesn't view it as malware because the user chooses to install the software that had the adware in it. He can probably remove it through "add/remove programs". Leo advises getting rid of TechGenie and whatever's left of McAfee, and install only Microsoft's Security Essentials. Lou should also run the Malicious Software Removal Tool. Start -> Run -> type "MRT" return.