How-To Geek

Remove Malware from an Infected System with Ad-Aware 2009

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
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Earlier this week, we showed you just how much of a problem spyware really is, then we showed you how to clean it up with Spybot—and in today’s lesson we’ll show you how you could have cleaned up the mess with Ad-Aware 2009.

Scanning for Malware

The nice thing about Ad-Aware 2009 is that as soon as you finish installing it, it will automatically check for and download updates.

Once the updating process has finished, you will be asked to restart your computer. After restarting, the following window will display and you can start your scan for malware by clicking on the “Radar Symbol”.


After you have clicked on the “Radar Symbol”, this is the window that you will see. To get the best results for removing malware, it is highly recommended to choose “Full Scan”. You can see in the screenshot the areas that will be checked and the types of malware that will be scanned for. Click the “Scan Now” button at the bottom to begin.


Once Scanning is Complete

Depending on the size of your system (i.e. the amount of files, etc.), the scan time will vary. Once the malware scan has finished, the results will be displayed as shown below and broken into categories. Notice that there are drop down menus for each category to allow you to choose the specific type of action to be taken (very nice!).


Here is a look at the options available on the drop down menus. The default setting is “Recommended” but may not be the action that best suits your needs.

Note: “Recommended” for each category will vary in the action that is taken, so choose the one that works best for you.


As you can see, we chose “Remove all” for each category in our example. We knew for certain that each item category listed was a definite problem. If you are not certain which action to take, a quick search using Google, Bing, or another search engine should easily provide adequate information to help you decide which action is the best one to choose.

Notice that there is also an option to “Set System Restore Point”. It is recommended to select the option. Click the “Perform Actions Now” button at the bottom when you have finished choosing your settings.

Note: If you have selected “Set System Restore Point”, Ad-Aware will “appear” to not be working for a moment. This is nothing to worry about…just Ad-Aware creating the System Restore Point.


Removing the Malware

Here you can see that while removing the malware from our example system, a suspicious file was brought to our attention. We chose to “Submit” the file for evaluation by Lavasoft. Submitting suspicious files is recommended and helps improve future scan results.


Once you have dealt with any suspicious files (if any were found on your system), you will see the following window displaying the results of the actions that you selected. Notice that you may be prompted to “Reboot Your Computer”.


A Quick Look at the Reboot

If you were prompted to “Reboot Your Computer”, you can expect to see the following types of action being taken by Ad-Aware during the system reboot.



Like any anti-malware software, Ad-Aware may not remove everything by itself. But it is a wonderful program to have installed on your system and when used with other anti-malware software, will help keep your operating system clean and healthy.

Download Ad-Aware Anniversary Edition (version from

See our previous article about Ad-Aware 2008 here.

Next Up: Cleaning Spyware with MalwareBytes

We’ve already shown you how easily you can infect your system, and then clean it with Spybot, and now Ad-Aware, but stay tuned because tomorrow we’ll show you how to remove spyware with MalwareBytes.

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 08/5/09

Comments (5)

  1. Firas

    Thank you Angel, its really great program

  2. venkat

    That’s a good tutorial very helpful for beginners,I use AVG free edition,Spybot search and destroy ,malwarebytes antimalware to protect mycomputer from viruses,spywares adwares and malwares.

  3. tneria

    I use both Spybot Search and Destroy and Ad-Aware, but—when I’m removing malware from my friends computers, I seem to have much better luck with SUPERAntiSpyware. It was the only program that found and removed “AntiSpyware 2008” from my friends computer last year. I actually use all three programs.

  4. kifissia

    Thank you for reminding me to re-install this program. It found a Trojan that no other program did!

  5. Michael

    Great explanation for the novice in the first of this series, and a great step-by-step. I’ll be referring a LOT of folks to this series. However, could you all go back and modify the end of each of the four articles to point at all four, just as you have for the fourth one? Or at the very least, point to the next and previous from each. It won’t be obvious to those referred how to find all four, unless we start them on the last one – and that just ain’t right!

    For protection purposes, almost any one of these tools, with automatic scanning enabled, will keep reasonable surfers safe, but when confronted with a nasty infection (which never comes as a single item any more, does it?!) I run all these tools PLUS Windows Malicious Software Removal tool and Windows Defender and Alwil’s Avast! and when people have a tool already installed, I’ll run MacAfee or Norton too. I need to see two passes, before and after a reboot, from three tools in a row virus free before i trust an infected system to be clean. A clean bill of health from only one tool is not adequate!

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