How to Stop Malware-Related Popups

How do I stop all the popups I'm getting on my computer? That is a popular question among many computer users. To answer that question a few basic pieces of information need to be asked. Namely:

• How frequent are the popups?
• What types of advertisements are they?
• Did you recently install any software?
• Are you using a popup blocker?

Typical popup windows only occur when visiting a website that employs them. Generally, only one per visit per website is the norm. If you are being bombarded with a barrage of unwanted popups, especially if you aren't visiting any websites when they are occurring, you probably have some type of malware running on your computer. Additionally, if you have popup-blocking software and it's enabled and the popups still keep jumping up at you, you more than likely have installed a Trojan virus which came bundled with another free piece of software.

If your web browser has popup blocking capability, which most do these days, check to ensure it is enabled. Doing this will prevent your basic website popups from occurring. If you find this has no effect, particularly if you are being hit with a barrage of pornographic windows jumping up at you, let's assume you have malware running on your computer. To remove it, follow these basic steps:

• Check your installed programs for a possible malware source
• Uninstall anything obvious like a new browser toolbar or a screensaver program
• Run a scan for malware

If you are running Windows XP, check under Start, Settings, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs and look for something you may have recently installed. For Vista or Windows 7, Start, Control Panel Programs, Uninstall a Program. Typically free software such as screensavers, toolbars, or a game has recently been installed. Find it and remove it. Unfortunately, just because you uninstalled the offending program doesn't mean your popups have stopped.

Next, run a malware scan with a product like MalwareBytes. Install, update, and run a full system scan. Remove anything it determines is spyware. You may want to play it safe by temporarily disabling System Restore. Right-click My Computer, Properties, System Restore Tab, make sure Turn off System Restore is checked (XP) or System Protection, Configure, Turn off system protection (Vista/7). This prevents any return of the malware, causing your popups, from happening.

As you can see, it isn't terribly hard to get rid of a popup explosion on your computer. You just need to ask yourself if the nature of the popups and the frequency of them seems like it could be spyware-related. If your basic web browser client is not able to stop the popups, chances are it's some form of malware you've installed. Make sure you keep your operating system up-to-date with its security patches and be sure to run, and keep updated, some form of antivirus protection to prevent future breakouts.

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