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PC Security

Security scanners, tools, and safety guidelines for your PC, laptop, or mobile device.

How to remove spyware

How to remove spyware

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.

Where to get antispyware software

If you're having trouble uninstalling unwanted software, you might need a tool to do the job for you. Microsoft Security Essentials is a complimentary consumer anti-malware solution that will help you remove spyware. It also helps protect your computer from spyware, viruses, and other malicious software. It's available as a no-cost download for Windows XP SP2 and higher, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

Several other companies also offer complimentary and low-cost software that will check your computer for spyware and other unwanted software and help you remove it.

Keep in mind that removing unwanted software with these tools might mean you will no longer be able to use a free program that came with the spyware.

How do I install antispyware software if I can't use my computer?

It might be difficult to download tools if your computer is infected with spyware. In this case, you can try one of the following options:

  • Use another computer to download the tools to a disk.

  • Get help through Microsoft support.

Beware of fake antispyware software

Cyber criminals know that we want to keep our computers safe from spyware. They will often try to trick us with fake security software known as "rogue security software" or "scareware." This is software that appears to be beneficial from a security perspective but provides limited or no security, generates misleading alerts, or attempts to lure you into participating in fraudulent transactions.

For more information, see Watch out for fake virus alerts.