Any suggestions, recommendations or ideas found on this site are applied at your own risk. This page contains our opinions based on years of cleaning up computers and assisting customers with various problems...
If you are getting redirected, i.e., want to go to one website but end up at another site, or you suddenly have all kinds of ads popping up, or get a lot of page not found (404) errors or have any other strange issues with the Internet, get your computer checked!
First some quick reminders:
Sorry, but you are not important enough to get a phone call from Microsoft, Norton, Adobe, etc. The scam: A "support" person asks you to allow them to take over your computer and clean it up. Just hang up!
While browsing the Internet, if you see any warnings that your computer is infected, drive is about to fail, someone has taken control, Java, Adobe, Google or most anything else needs updating, it is likely a scam!
Never download an app to your PC that promises better security or improved performance on an impulse. Yes, there are some legitimate programs that can boost performance in minimal ways, and of course you need some kind of security program, but there are a lot of scams and junkware claiming that as well. The article
You never need to install or use a third-party driver update application. Don't install them and if one already exists, uninstall it.
When cleaning up machines, you may find the Internet browser home page and/or search results are changed (hijacked), often without permission and sometimes via deceptive means. Typically occurring when you install a toolbar or other Internet junkware. My Web Search, Conduit, Babylon and Start Now are just a few of the more popular home page hijackers we see.
Some of the scams offering to "clean your PC", also install a variety of junk including online "vaults", tab hijackers, hot spot advertising and a whole host of undesirable applications. The end result is the computer runs worse, you have unexplainable pop-ups, your home page and/or default search method changed, and sometimes much, much worse...
- First thing you must do is scan the computer for a root kit virus - see our Infected article.
- Next, be sure your antivirus has not expired, it is up to date and operating correctly - do a full scan with it.
- After you think you have uninstalled all the junk (below), check near the bottom for additional cleanup ideas including inspecting your scheduled tasks!
An important note about antivirus applications: Running more than one can cause problems. It certainly causes a slow computer, but also, when installing an AV application with one already installed (expired or not), the new AV may not become fully functional, e.g., may not turn on a firewall because the other AV application's firewall is on. So with all that out of the way...
Go into the Control Panels' Programs and Features (Add/Remove Programs older Windows) and uninstall all the known junk listed below...
If you are running Windows 7 or later, you can sort the list of installed applications by date installed. That makes it very easy to pick out the recent junk...
Click the view button (red arrow) and change the view to Details
Then click the Installed on heading to sort the list.
Look through everything installed on the computer, regardless of the install date. If you are unsure, search the Internet for the item of interest - if it seems unnecessary, unneeded or undesirable, uninstall it!
Also important: Home page, search providers, scheduled tasks, add-ons and others discussed near the bottom of this article.
What is junk?
- Any application claiming to speed up the computer, performance booster, etc...
- Coupon finders or printers
- Any File Type, File Open, File Association programs
- All PDF "reader" other than the actual Adobe Reader (unless you know for sure they are ok)
- Any "registry repair" applications
- ALL toolbars, yes even Yahoo, Google and Bing
- In our opinion, the following are all junkware (and some far
- 1Click Downloader
- 24x7 Help
- 7Go Games
- Activeris AntiMalware
- Ad's by Display%Settings or similar popup typically right upper corner of the browser, check registry settings we show below.
- Advanced File optimizer
- Advanced System Care
- Advanced System Protector
- Ascentive - anything
- ArcadeCandy not a game, rather popup and keyword hover advertisement in the web browser
- ArcadeParlor same as above
- Ask Toolbar Note: Ask may not remove the updater which will have to be disabled via msconfig
- Begin Converter
- Blitz Media Player
- Browser Defender
- Browser Extensions
- Browser Manager
- Browser Protect any variation like that
- Buzzdock really crap as it requires internet connection to uninstall
- Cloud Scout Parent Control
- Common dictionary
- Conduit (all)
- Consumer input
- Deal Vault
- Dealio (may add search device that will not uninstall instead has to be removed using autoruns)
- Delta / Toolbar
- Default tab
- Desktop 365
- dEualpeak adware
- DNS Basic
- Download Updater
- Download Terms
- Download(er) most anything similar
- Driver ANYTHING!!!
- Driver Restore
- Driver Support
- Driver Genius
- Driver Updater etc...
If you need drivers, go directly
to the manufacturer!
- DU Meter Note: Even after uninstall, parts remain - see msconfig
- Extended Update
- Fast Free Converter
- Facemoods / Funmoods
- FastAgain PC
- Files opened
- Find Lyrics
- Flash Player (not by Adobe)
- Friend Checker
- Free Downloader - most anything listed as "free"
- Free Video Player
- fst_us x
- GamingExtensions (Playbryte)
- Geek Help
- GorillaPrice real
crap! Not easily uninstalled
- Because it does not uninstall and will not allow you to disable, we consider it a virus and must be handled as such. See our Infected page.
- Happy Lyrics
- HD+ or most anything labeled "HD". Check the installed on date, if newer, get rid of it.
- High Tail
- Hot Spot
- Internet Explorer (Enable DEP)
The above is exactly how you will find this listed. You will see the manufacturer is not Microsoft.
- Internet Helper...
- Internet Updater
- Iminient anything
- IOBit Malaware Fighter
- Laflura requires internet connection to uninstall
- Less Tabs
- Linksicle Note: After uninstall, bits and pieces remain that must be manually deleted:
- LTCM Client
- LPT System Updater
- Lyrics Party
- Lyrics Container - probably most anything with the word Lyrics
- Mindspark products (all)
- My Web Search
- My Tech Helper
- My PC Backup - Does NOT uninstall scheduled tasks, see below
- Offers4u - will not uninstall completely! You will need to use a few of the cleanup tools listed below and even then, it may not be completely removed making it necessary to reinstall Windows from scratch.
- One Click Privacy
- Open Software Updater
- PC Cleaner see a trend here?
- PC Fix Speed
- PC Helper 360
- PC Optimizer Pro
- PC Performer
- PC Tech hotline anything from webcrawler
- PC Tuneup again, any variation of performance or speed fixers
- Plus HD...
- Program Updater That's its name; it does not specify what program...
- Pro PC Cleaner again, any "cleaner"
- ProtectMe antivirus app see the uninstaller as a threat and shuts it down. Manual removal necessary.
- RegCleaner - any other "registry cleaner"
- RemoteDesktopAccess anything from VuuPC
- RivalGaming not a game, rather popup and keyword hover advertisement in the web browser
- Safe Monitor
- Safe Finder
- Safer Surf
- Savethechildren (put your emotions aside)
- Scorpion ScreenSaver delivers hover/popup ads.
DOES NOT UNINSTALL COMPLETELY - You MUST kill the task that AUTOMATICALLY reinstalls, see Scheduled Tasks and this article.
- Search Protect by Conduit again anything by Conduit
- ShopAtHome Upon uninstall, does not remove everything, use msconfig to cleanup, also check scheduled tasks
- Sing Along
- Smart Defrag
- Real crap, won't fully uninstall. Regedit: HKey_Currentuser_Enviornment and look at the Internet Explorer shortcut properties. Likely has additional parameters.
- Solid Savings
- Software Download
- Software Installer
- Software Version Updater - That's its name; it does not specify what program...
- SP Downloader
- SparkTrust PC Cleaner
- Speed Analysis
- Speed browser
- Speed Up anything claiming to speed up your computer!
- Strong Vault
- SuperLyrics again most anything with "Lyrics"
- Sweet packs
- Swift Browse
- Symbol Dialup
- Tech Utilities
- Tidy network
- TopArcade Hits not a game, rather popup and keyword hover advertisement in the web browser
- Total Receipt
- Uninstall Helper
- Unfriend - actually seen as virus by MS Essentials, Symantec and others
- Uniblue - anything
- Updater - That's its name; it does not specify what program...
- Updater Service
- Video Performer
- Video Downloader - anything
- Wecare - Savethechildren (put your emotions aside)
- Weather anything
While the common Weather bug and
Weather channel are safe, they are just more load on the
processor and Internet slowing things down, showing ads,
etc... Want to see weather and/or
radar, go to noaa.gov
- Web Assistant
- White Smoke all - Note: White Smoke may not completely uninstall and must be disabled via msconfig
- Win Diagnosis
- Win Check
- WSE Rocket
- WSE_ anything
- Your Local Lotto toolbar again all toolbars
- Zip Opener
- ZombieNews does not uninstall instead you will need to manually remove using suggestion below
- There may be "services" running that are not uninstallable. Some simply reinstall what you just removed. Some make it impossible to uninstall.
Very important to look here for more
- Some of the above junk probably has installed tasks that run on a regular basis and may not have been removed during uninstall. See also Microsoft's Autoruns!
Microsoft Security Scanner
- Run directly. Full scan takes two + hours, but highly recommended!
Other things you can do
- Variety of tools found here
- A great site with a lot of tools for cleaning up and tweaking your computer
- Emsisoft tool
(note that's .ORG and not .com)
- If you think there may be unwanted/unneeded software slowing things down. Note: This does not replace a good antivirus application.
- See also MSConfig and more in PCMag's article on removing bloatware
We repaired a computer with problems also having
an ad similar to this --->
This crapware used a combination of registry hijacks mostly through proxy server settings but there were other issues.
Probably a good candidate to format and reinstall Windows fresh but we were on a mission and finally able to resolve it. Briefly, here's how...
First: If you do not know what you're doing in the registry, DON'T GO THERE!
In regedit, find (F3) all occurrences of proxyenable - change the value from 1 to 0. Just below those you will also find proxyserver with a value of 127.0.0.1:5050 or something along those lines, simply delete the entire key (on the right side).
Look in services, stop and disable "Proxy" service.
Delete any host files with a recent date from the c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc folder.
Use Autoruns and look for (and delete) new drivers, unknown startup items, etc. but be careful in there!
So with all that, we thought everything was ok, but that was not the case. When we switched from network via local network connection to WIFI, a new problem occurred where the Internet would open to a page indicating "the server is under OpenX control" (something along those lines), even thought the address bar was google.com.
So a little more digging we found the Wireless adapter drivers had very recent dates. Connecting back to the local connection instead of wireless, we updated the wireless driver (from the device manager) which seemed to resolve that problem.
Change the Search providers
Internet Explorer: Tools menu > Internet Options > Programs Tab > Manage Add-ons button. Select Search providers.
In the list (we have only Google), select the undesirable search engines then lower right (not shown) click the remove button...
still in process