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What you can do about spyware and other unwanted software

How to get rid of spyware

Published: May 1, 2005 | Updated: February 14, 2006
Spyware: Remove

Many kinds of unwanted software, including spyware, are designed to be difficult to remove. If you try to uninstall this software like any other program, you might find that the program reappears as soon as you restart your computer. If you're having trouble uninstalling unwanted software, you may need to download a tool to do the job for you. Several companies offer free and low-cost software that will check your computer for spyware and other unwanted software and help you remove it.

Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) include antispyware software in their service packages. Check with your ISP to see if they can recommend or provide a tool. If your ISP doesn't offer a removal tool for spyware and other unwanted software, ask people you trust to recommend one, or see the links in step 1 below. Keep in mind that removing unwanted software with these tools may mean you will no longer be able to use a free program that came with the spyware.

To remove spyware


Download the new Windows Defender (Beta 2) or another spyware removal tool.


Run the tool to scan your computer for spyware and other unwanted software.


Review the files discovered by the tool for spyware and other unwanted software.


Select suspicious files for removal by following the tool's instructions.

More support

You can also read the Microsoft Help and Support article Unexplained computer behavior may be caused by deceptive software to learn more symptoms of a spyware infection and get advice on other ways to remove spyware and other unwanted software from your computer.

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