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Outsmart Pesky Adware in 2023 – The Complete Removal Guide

Tired of annoying pop-up ads and sluggish computer performance? You may be dealing with a bad case of adware. These invasive programs sneak into devices, bombard users with advertisements, quietly track online activity, and can pave the way for more dangerous malware infections.

But don‘t worry – removing adware in 2023 is very doable if you use the right tools and techniques. This comprehensive adware removal guide will walk you through everything you need to know to clean up infections and browse in peace again. Let‘s get started!

What Exactly is Adware and How Does it Work?

You‘re probably familiar with seeing advertisements on free apps, videos and other online content. This is how creators generate revenue.

Adware takes this to more intrusive levels by injecting unchecked advertising into your computing sessions without consent. But how does it work technically?

Browser Hijacking

One common technique adware uses is browser hijacking. This allows it to change key browser settings like your homepage, new tab page, and default search engine without permission.

For example, you may suddenly notice your browser always opening to an unfamiliar search portal like Or new tabs display bothersome ads instead of your usual settings. This indicates your browser has been hijacked by adware that wants to expose you to more sponsored content.

Click Injection

Another tactic adware uses is click injection. This intercepts your clicks while browsing and redirects them to ad affiliate pages instead of the actual links you wanted to visit.

For instance, you may click on a friend‘s Facebook profile but suddenly find yourself on a shady pharmaceutical website. Adware injected this redirect to earn commission.

Code Injection

Adware also leverages code injection to plant unwanted advertising scripts into web traffic. So even if you visit a legitimate website, you‘ll still see odd banner ads and pop-ups due to the adware injecting external code.

This ad injection also allows adware to circumvent ad blockers since the ads are loaded directly from "trusted" sites you intentionally visit.

Understanding these sneaky distribution methods makes you better equipped to identify and remove adware. Now let‘s look at why it can be so problematic.

The Havoc Adware Can Wreak On Your Device

Adware may seem like just a nuisance, but it can cause a wide range of problems:

  • Slows Down Your System – All the background ad processes choke up RAM and drain CPU, resulting in sluggish computer performance.
  • Drains Your Mobile Data – The increase in intrusive ads means you burn through more data volume on your capped mobile plan.
  • Tracking and Privacy Violations – Adware profiles your browsing habits, clicks and searches to serve "targeted" ads without consent. This is a major privacy concern.
  • More Malware Downloads – Adware makes your system more vulnerable to viruses, spyware, ransomware and other threats. It opens backdoors for them to slip through.
  • Scamming – Some adware auto-clicks ads for shady offers or services to generate fraudulent commissions. You could become an unwitting scam participant.
  • Sensitive Data Theft – Adware can stealthily harvest login credentials, financial information and other sensitive data entered online for identity fraud and account hijacking.
  • Annoying Redirections – Browser redirects to unwanted ad pages disrupt your online experience and make web browsing extremely frustrating.

Regular adware removal is crucial to avoid these issues. Let‘s look at common symptoms that indicate an infection.

Does Your Device Have Adware? Watch For These Signs

Adware symptoms can range from mildly annoying to system crippling:

  • Sudden onslaught of pop-ups, coupons and video ads
  • Browser redirects to random pages
  • Default search engine and homepage changed
  • New toolbars and browser extensions installed
  • Programs freezing and crashing frequently
  • Sluggish computer performance
  • High data usage even when idle

If you notice any of these symptoms, your device is likely infected with adware that requires removal. Now let‘s explore the leading adware removal solutions for 2023.

Top Adware Removal Tools for PCs and Mobile Devices

Removing adware manually is complex and time-consuming. Your best bet is to use specialized anti-adware software. Here are the top options based on malware detection rates, system performance impact and ease of use:

For Windows PCs


Malwarebytes logo

Malwarebytes excels at detecting and wiping out tricky adware like browser hijackers and hidden browser extensions. It‘s the top choice of most cybersecurity experts.

Norton AntiVirus

Norton logo

Norton is one of the most capable antivirus suites for eliminating adware. It offers real-time monitoring and extra tools like a password manager and VPN.

Bitdefender Antivirus

Bitdefender logo

Bitdefender excels at removing adware infections without slowing your system down. The free version provides robust adware protection.


AdwCleaner logo

Specializing in adware removal, AdwCleaner by Avast is ideal for wiping out pesky browser hijackers missed by other tools.

For Mac Computers

Malwarebytes for Mac

Malwarebytes Mac logo

Malwarebytes brings its stellar adware detection abilities to Mac with real-time protection and threat removal.

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender Mac logo

Bitdefender leverages its Windows expertise to scrub Macs of invasive adware effectively without impacting performance.

Intego Mac Internet Security

Intego logo

Trusted by Mac users for over 20 years, Intego offers advanced adware removal tools optimized for the Mac platform.

CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac logo

In addition to adware removal, CleanMyMac X by MacPaw fine-tunes performance by deleting junk files and speeding up apps.

For iPhones and iPads

Norton 360 for Mobile

Norton Mobile logo

Norton 360 brings full-fledged antivirus protection including adware detection and blocking to iOS devices.

Avast Mobile Security

Avast Mobile logo

Utilizing its vast threat intelligence, Avast Mobile Security keeps iOS devices free of intrusive adware.

Lookout Mobile Security

Lookout Mobile logo

Lookout is a leading iOS security app that uses advanced ML technology to detect and remove adware and other mobile malware.

Malwarebytes for iOS

Malwarebytes iOS logo

Malwarebytes brings its adware removal prowess to iOS devices with real-time protection, privacy auditing and system optimizations.

For Android Phones and Tablets

Bitdefender Mobile Security

Bitdefender Android logo

Bitdefender uses minimal battery life to provide Android devices with continuous adware monitoring and blocking.

Norton 360 for Mobile

Norton Mobile logo

Norton 360 layers robust antivirus protection over Android devices to eliminate adware and other threats.

Malwarebytes for Android

Malwarebytes Android logo

Malwarebytes brings its superior adware detection to Android devices along with other key protections.

Avast Mobile Security

Avast Mobile logo

Avast uses its vast threat intelligence to block adware and other malware threats on Android devices in real time.

These leading solutions will rid your computers and mobile devices of pesky adware for smooth, uninterrupted performance.

Step-By-Step Guide to Manually Remove Adware

Although using anti-adware software is the easiest method, you can also remove adware manually if needed. Here is the basic process on Windows 10:

Step 1. Open Windows Security and run a full system scan to catch any adware threats. Under Virus & threat protection settings, initiate a full scan.

Step 2. In the Windows Security app, go to Protection history and click "Remove threat" on any detected adware. Make sure not to remove any safe applications.

Step 3. Download AdwCleaner and run a scan. Delete any leftover adware extensions or registry entries it finds.

Step 4. Open web browsers and go to Extensions. Remove any suspicious extensions you don‘t recall installing.

Step 5. In browser Settings, check Default apps and reset to your preferred browser if changed by adware.

Step 6. Go to Programs > Uninstall a program and uninstall any dubious apps, addons and toolbars.

Step 7. Type msconfig in the Windows search box. Go to the Startup tab and uncheck any unknown startup entries.

Step 8. In Registry Editor, delete the "DisableCMD" DWORD under HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System if present.

Take your time during manual removal to avoid deleting any legitimate programs by mistake. An automated anti-adware tool is generally much quicker and safer though.

Pro Tips to Prevent Adware Infections

Removing existing adware is crucial. But prevention is equally important to keep it from sneaking back in:

✔️ Avoid shady downloads – Never obtain software from questionable sites. Stick to official sources like app stores.

✔️ Don‘t blindly click – Use discretion before accepting browser notifications or clicking pop-up ads and banners. These often harbour adware.

✔️ Patch diligently – Regularly update your operating systems, browsers, apps and plugins. Updates squash security bugs exploited by adware.

✔️ Use anti-adware tools – Have a robust antivirus solution like Malwarebytes conducting real-time adware scans. This catches infections before they escalate.

✔️ Browse securely – Use encrypted browsers when accessing sensitive accounts. This blocks adware tracking and data harvesting.

✔️ Back up data – Maintain backups so you can easily factory reset devices if stuck with a persistent adware infection.

Following this advice will help you avoid the pitfalls of pushy adware. Now let‘s recap some key takeaways from this guide.

The Key to Adware-Free Computing in 2023

Adware causes intrusive ads, slow performance, privacy violations and opens the door to more malicious threats. But with the right tools and precautions, you can stay adware-free:

  • Understand adware – Knowing distribution and injection methods makes you better at identifying it.
  • Watch for symptoms – Increased ads, sluggishness and browser redirects indicate infection.
  • Use top removal tools – Malwarebytes, Norton, Avast and others effectively wipe out adware from PCs and mobile devices.
  • Remove manually – Deleting dubious extensions, files and registry entries works if done carefully.
  • Prevent future infections – Avoid shady downloads, patch diligently, browse securely and use anti-adware tools.
  • Back up data – Maintain backups to easily reset infected devices when needed.

With this comprehensive guide, you now have the key facts and tools to keep computing devices free of disruptive adware in 2023. Here‘s to smooth, uninterrupted browsing!

Stay vigilant and keep adware scurrying back to the dark corners of the web where it belongs.


Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.