How to remove spyware
Spyware removal can often be a difficult and time-consuming task depending on the level of infection. 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
Windows 7 and Windows Vista include spyware protection called Windows Defender. To help fight both viruses and spyware, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials at no cost. If you download Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender will be disabled automatically. Make sure to uninstall any other antivirus software (whether you installed it or it came preinstalled) on your computer first.
Windows 8 includes antivirus and antispyware protection called Windows Defender. Windows Defender for Windows 8 replaces Microsoft Security Essentials. It runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action. If you install a different antivirus or antispyware program, Windows Defender will be disabled automatically.
Several other companies also offer free and low-cost software that will check your computer for spyware and other unwanted software and help you remove it.
How do I remove spyware 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:
Beware of fake antispyware software
Cybercriminals know that you want to keep your computer safe from spyware. They will often try to trick you with fake security software known as rogue security software or "scareware." It appears to be beneficial from a security software perspective but provides limited or no security, generates misleading alerts, or attempts to lure you into participating in fraudulent transactions. For examples of rogue security software, see our Real vs. Rogue Facebook app.
For more information, see Watch out for fake virus alerts.