How to uninstall unwanted programs like Spyware using "Add / Remove Programs"

There isn't much you can be told about which programs you want and which ones you don't but I'll do my best to tell you which ones are known to be Spyware. First you need to get to the Add/Remove programs area.

  • Windows 95/98/ME/2000
    Click on "Start" then on "Settings" then "Control Panel" then in the resulting window double click "Add/Remove Programs"
  • Windows XP
    Click on "Start" then on "Control Panel" then in the resulting window double click "Add/Remove" Programs"

You can go ahead and safely uninstall the Bull’s-eye network, Bargain Buddy, and anything that has to do with helping you search such as SafeSearch, or CoolWeb. The one seen most often is called GAIN (Gator Advertising and Information Network) A.K.A. Claria after their recent name change. Other common ones that may be in "Add/Remove Programs" are SaveNow, New.net, Cydoor, CommonName, Golden Palace Casino, and IstBar. Pay attention while uninstalling the programs because some of them actually use double negatives such as "Do you want to discontinue the uninstallation of "insert spyware name here"? If you're not careful and just click "yes" you may accidentally decide not to uninstall the software and think that you did.

If you have doubts about the validity of a particular piece of software you can do a search on the web to see if there's any information available. Usually there are many results for most Spyware programs but if there aren't then you can take a look at the Spyware Guide and at Spyware Warrior and cexx.org. Uninstalling programs manually helps ensure that there are no programs left behind if the antispyware is unable to remove them, also, the number of running programs when the scans (see the next few steps) are finally performed are reduced. These manual uninstalls do not remove all your spyware, in fact, at this point your computer in all likelyhood is still infected with Spyware programs that weren't as courteous or forthcoming as the ones mentioned above. Don't worry too much about catching all of the spyware in "Add/Remove Programs" because it is very likely that it will be removed during the scans but this first step helps minimize the likelyhood that something will get missed.

Once you've uninstalled as many programs as you comfortably can move on to Using AdAware.
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Joe Magueta is an IT Consultant with Phoenix Community Works Enterprises (PCWE), a nonprofit organization that provides support to charities and other nonprofits.
Please send questions or comments to techtips@pcwe.ca.

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