What, exactly, is Spyware and why should we be concerned with it? Spyware is software that hides on a computer and usually has negative effects. First of all, it is designed to monitor your activities. And while it's running on your computer, it can consume valuable resources. On top of this, some spyware programs can steal passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information! So how can you protect your computer from spyware? First of all, you should install an anti-spyware utility that will detect and remove any spyware when it is found. Popular anti-spyware programs are Spybot S&D, Ad-Aware, and Spyware Blaster. These are all Freeware Programs. Run them regularly and above all, keep them updated.


Double Click on the Ad-Aware icon on your desktop. Click on the line that reads Check For Updates Now to get the updates (need an Internet Connection). Then follow the online instructions. When the updates are complete you will need to click Start, then click Next and wait for the program to run. A full scan will take about 10 minutes. When it finishes click on each box by a spyware to put a Check Mark in it. Follow the prompts again and delete the checked items. When they are deleted, find the line that reads Open Quarantine List, click it to open, then highlight the entry and delete it from the Quarantine File. Update and run this program once per week.

SpyBot Search & Destroy

Double Click on the SpyBot icon on your desktop. When it opens click Search for Updates. You will need an Internet Connection for the updates, and you may need to check the boxes it puts up to get the updates. When updates are finished click on Search & Destroy then Check For Problems and wait for the program to run a scan. When it finishes look to the top for Fix Selected Problems, click on it, and it will give you another box to click OK. Follow the prompts, and you are done. Update and run this program once a week.


Connect to the Internet then double-click the Spyware Blaster icon on your desktop. Click on Download Latest Protection Updates; when they have finished click on Enable All Protection. Close the program, and you are finished. Update this program once per week. It does not need to be run otherwise.


CCleaner is a new product that is great for just cleaning the junk and temporary files from your hard drive. In the process, it often cleans out some of the spyware that may have been planted on your computer.

AVG Anti-Virus

To see if has found virus-infected files, double click the AVG Desktop Icon, and it will open a row of 6 buttons on the Left Side of the Dialog Box. Click on the Bottom Button that reads Test Results and you can see the date it last checked your files, and if it found a Virus it will have the entry line in red. If you want to run a test on your machine manually, look for the Top Radio Button to the left of Scan Computer and click on it. AVG will then run a complete test on your file system. If it finds a virus it will try to put it in the virus vault where it can be removed.

To check the AVG Program to see if it Needs an Update or if it is already up to date do the following: Double click the AVG Icon in the Task Bar down by the Clock, and when it comes up you will see a Dialog Box With 7 Large Radio Buttons. Click once on the one that Reads Update Manager (bottom Right). You will see the date of your last update download in the extreme right bottom corner. If it is older than 2 days, click on the Radio Button that reads "Update". You will get a dialog box that reads AVG Update File Download. An Internet Connection will be needed, and it will perform an update if one is available. Just follow the screen prompts, and it will install the updates.