Using the Internet can be a wonderfully rewarding and enjoyable experience. The only problem is that it can also open your computer up to infection with spyware. Although most of us regularly hear and viruses and trojans through the media, spyware can be much more harmful, and it’s quite possible that you don’t even know it’s present on your computer. It’s basically advertising spyware that gets installed on your computer, without your consent of knowledge.

The tough part is that spyware can present itself in almost as many different ways as there are spyware programs. Most of the time you’ll only become conscious of spyware when ‘popup’ advertisements start appearing on your computer all the time. These are likely to only be the tip of the iceberg, although they can be annoying enough all by themselves. You can find yourself with extra toolbars you don’t want, you computer can slow down to a crawl, your home page will change, and worst of all, your computer may lock-up or crash, causing you to lose precious data.

The first step in removing spyware from your computer is to find out if you have any! Chances are that you do – estimates suggest that at least 80% of computers contain spyware, with over 90% of computer owners unaware of its existence on their computer. Don’t panic, though, because there are plenty of good programs for removing spyware. A spyware remover program will first scan your computer drives and check for spyware installations. Once it’s found, the program will generally be able to remove it.

Some very good spyware removal programs, such as SpyBot and AdAware are available for free. It’s important to keep your spyware protection up to date, and regularly check your computer, because like most technology, spyware constantly evolves into new and more subtle forms. If you’re looking for spyware removal programs online, it’s possible that you’ll find some programs that scan your computer for free, but charge you a fee before they will clean the spyware off your computer. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but it seems unnecessary when you can get good spyware removal programs for free.

It’s important to remember that removing spyware can be difficult, and quite often the spyware removal programs can be a fair way behind the constantly evolving spyware programs. Sometimes it’s helpful to run a couple of different spyware removers on your computer, because they may well detect different spyware installations. Some types of spyware are particularly nasty, and can be extremely hard to remove. In that case, it’s possible your spyware remover won’t be able to clean your computer properly, and it may be necessary to search online for further information about how to clean the spyware from your computer. This requires some technical knowledge, so if you’re not that way inclined, it may be quicker and easier to get a professional to clean your computer for you.