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May 14, 2007

AdWare – What Exactly is It?

If you have been on the Internet for any length of time it is likely you have heard the term Adware mentioned at least once. You may have also likely heard of the term Spyware. While both are similar in some ways, as they run in the background generally with you unaware of their presence, they serve two completely different functions. Today I will be discussing Adware and what it does in its most common forms.
Adware is a software program that is created to display advertisements on your computer. Adware comes in many forms but it is most commonly a simple popup that appears on your desktop when you are not surfing the Internet and when you least expect it.

Adware can also come in less insidious ways such as with another software application that you download for free. Many of these free software applications cost nothing due to the advertising or adware they run on the software.

The company provides you with a free service because they take in advertising revenues from other companies who use adware to “pop up” offers as you use the free software. This has proven to be an effective advertising medium for these companies otherwise they would not be paying for it.

Needless to say, the existence of adware, though less of a threat than spyware, can be quite annoying. Many companies do not make it clear that their applications contain adware programs from third party advertisers, so you could be left with a big mess on your computer after awhile, simply by using common applications.

Adware has a tendency to slow down your computers performance and make surfing the Internet sluggish at best. For those Internet users who are still on dial-up connections, this can prove to be a real problem. Those on DSL and Cable connections are not exempt though. Since DSL and Cable are often left on 24/7 the potential for adware to appear is even greater.

Not all adware is a problem though so it is important for Internet users to become knowledgeable about adware, what it is, and what software applications they are downloading and using as part of their computer experience. Knowing that a piece of software is free due to the fact that it comes with adware bundles will give the user much more control over what they allow on their computers. Knowing what to expect can help protect individuals and their children from being exposed to unwanted advertisements.

There are many software applications that allow users to clean their computers of unwanted adware, and that also give the ability to search for and modify specific adware modules to gain an increasing control over every aspect of their computer and Internet experience.

These specialized software applications have a delicate balance to maintain. They have to be configured well so that important data is not lost and accidentally seen as adware. They also have to avoid confrontations with the advertising industry who provide alot of revenue for smaller software companies through the existence of adware bundles.

This delicate balance has thus far been maintained fairly well, but it is important to know which adware removal and modification software are helpful and which are just adding more adware on your computer as you use them. Sometimes free is not always the best option since someone, somewhere is always paying for it somehow!

Author:  Article courtesy of: We’ve tested dozens – even hundreds! – of adware removal programs. Some of them are great, most of them get the job done (more or less), and too many simply don’t work. We’ve gathered the top contenders in the field, and reviewed them for your convenience.