How to effectively remove spyware from your Windows XP computer.


  1. There is always a possibility of losing data when removing spyware or virus from your computer. It is advisable to make a backup of important data using programs such as Ghost or Drive Image.


  1. Turn off “System Restore”

A.      Right click on “My Computer” either from the desktop or from the start bar.

B.       Go to the bottom of the menu and “click” on properties.

C.      Go to the “System Restore” tab and check “turn off”.

D.      “Click” on apply.

E.       “System Restore” is now turned off so anything hiding in there does not reinstall.

F.       Remember to turn on “System Restore” once the hard drive is clean.


  1. Removing unnecessary files

A.      Open “My Computer” to locate your main or “C” drive. 

B.       Double click on the drive to open it up.

C.      In the “My Computer” window locate “Tools” on the top tool bar.

D.      “Click” on “folder options” under “Tools”

E.       “Click” on the “view” tab.

F.       Under advanced settings in the section called “Hidden files and Folder” “click” on the “show hidden files” bubble.

G.      There are also two boxes that need to be unchecked. These are “hide extensions” and “system files”.  All hidden files should now be listed. “Click” “apply” then “cancel” to close the window.

H.      Go to the “temp” directory in the “windows” directory and delete everything in that

folder.  Do not delete the folder itself. 

I.         Next you will want to clear the “user temporary files”.

J.         Find the directory called “Documents and Settings”.

K.      Locate the folder for the current logged in user.

L.       Now look under that User and find a folder called “Local Settings”.

M.     Next open “Temporary Internet Folder” and delete everything in that folder.

N.      Do this for each user that is listed and has folders.


  1. At the desktop “Click” on “Start” and then “Click” on “Control Panel”, find and “Click” on the “add or remove programs” icon. In this listing you may find some Spyware program that installed itself and can be removed.  Be careful, all of your programs are listed in this section.  If you remove any program make sure you make the right selection.


  1. Download and install Adaware software, it is available as a free or paid version from or An icon will be placed on the desktop, “click” on the icon.  Next, update the software and definitions files.  When that is done “click” on “Start” and Adaware will scan the hard drive.  It will finish the scan and will require you to click on ”Finish” to remove any spyware that it found.   Run the Adaware program a second and a third time to ensure all the spyware has been removed


  1. Now you can go online and do a free virus scan at   On the top left of the page you will see “scan now for free”.  Click on that and follow the screens.  When it asks what to scan, click on “Virus and Spyware”.  Let the program run and remove anything it finds at the end.  


  1. Now if the system is clean it should be protected with some Antivirus Software and Internet Security.  When installing the virus software be sure you enabled the firewall. Once the software is installed than check to make sure it automatically updates itself.  Never leave it in a disabled state because it leaves you unprotected.


  1. If your system is running well, follow the directions in # 2 to turn on “System Restore”.   If something gets installed again you can always restore the system to a prior date and get back up and running.


  1. Good rules to follow that will keep you system clean

A:   Go to “well known” site that are safe. 

B.        Never ever install any programs that come from a popup.

C.        Never allows any unapproved active-X or Java scripts from installing.

D.        Periodically scan for spyware, the more time spent online, the more often it should be scanned.

E.         Never open any email that you do not know who it is from. Just the act of opening an email can be enough to infect your system. 

F.         Keep your antivirus program up to date. You will be better off to spend a few dollars each year than to spend  the time and possibly hundred’s of dollars cleaning the system.