I was called by a friend to help find out, why his PC had become considerably slow, took ages to react and so on.
Whereas there are a number of factors that may contribute to that, it might be a sign your PC has a malware infection or lots of junk programs.
Further signs: Pop-ups, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), browser hijackers and toolbars or suspicious browser add-ons, changed browser startup page and search engine, i.e. not Google or whatever you had set, programs opening or closing automatically, etc.
Here is part of how it is described in Wikipedia:
“Malware (a portmanteau for malicious software) is any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or computer network … A wide variety of types of malware exist, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and scareware.
Programs are also considered malware if they secretly act against the interests of the computer user.”
A most effective way to deal with this is with this small and free tool, which does not even need installation. It removes all that vermin. After download, just click => Scan.
Once it finishes scanning, you are fine if it find nothing. If it does, like in the shown picture, look carefully at the results in the next step, with at least 33 items detected. This program is extremely good at detecting harmful programs, because it knows where they hide.
In most cases, one can go ahead and just delete the findings. In the above case, the results include finds related to Driver Booster and Advanced System Care, both programs I recognize, from iObit.com. So I excluded Driver Booster. Detected elements of Advanced Care, which I do not need were installed by DriverBooster had to go, though.
If you know your system well, you can go to Settings and exclude programs you recognize and you are sure are not harmful and re-scan.
If you manually installed any browser toolbars, you can exclude them.
Before clicking Next, be sure to save all your documents as the next step is likely to involve a restart to complete deletion or quarantine. On restart, it will load a list in a text file showing what it removed.
In case you mistakenly quarantined something, start ADWCleaner, go to => Quarantine, select the entry and click => Restore.
On some Samsung notebook, there was no way of excluding quarantining some “Pre-installed” software, which happens to be a desirable Battery Life Extender. I let it finish and on restart, went on to select all related entries and restored them. You have the option to permanently delete elements you know are of no use.
As long there are no other issues with the PC, like a need for cleaning junk and disk defragmentation, you will see as a side effect an immediate improvement in performance, because some of these programs, use lots of resources in the background.
If the browser Start-up page and default search engine had been changed by one of the removed programs, you can now manually set them to what you want.
It does no harm to once in a while scan your PC with this tool, especially if you use it a lot for online work.
Download Malwarebytes AdwCleaner
Go to: https://www.malwarebytes.com/adwcleaner/. Go for the FREE download, which will get you an about 8MB set-up file looking like “adwcleaner_8.0.1.exe”, or a bit different, if it is a more recent version than “8.0.1”.
Requirements: Windows 10 (32/64-bit), Windows 8 (32/64-bit) and Windows 7 (32/64-bit)
For more advanced cleaning and real-time monitoring of your pc, you will need the premium big brother from Malwarebytes.