Pop-ups plaguing your computer? Congratulations, you probably have some annoying malware that’s running behind the scenes on your system. Hopefully it’s nothing too bad, but it is likely super-annoying if nothing else.
We're not just talking about the conventional pop-ups that sometimes appear when you browse (annoyingly coded) websites. We’re talking about pop-ups that either seem to appear out of nowhere or appear when you browse otherwise vanilla sites – such as Google.com, for example, or anything that you know, for certain, doesn’t have a pop-up. Roll up your sleeves. It’s time to get fixing.
1. Download and install a freeware tool such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. This particular program is a popular, useful and free-of-charge tool for scanning and eliminating annoying malware. Click Scan Now and act on those problems the software detects.
2. Grab a TDSS Killer program. Just in case your system has become the victim of a more nefarious (and harder to untangle) rootkit, hit up Kaspersky Labs’ site and download their freeware app TDSSKiller. You don’t have to install it to run it; just fire up the executable, pass through the initial informational windows and hit the big Start Scan button when you’re ready.
3. Download a secondary anti-virus program such as Avast. If you’re seeing a pattern here, you’d be right. There are a ton of different antivirus and antimalware tools out there; we’re giving you a few of the better tools you can use to fight off infections, but they’re by no means the end-all, be-all of the identification/removal/recovery process.
Once you’ve downloaded Avast, you know the drill; go ahead and install it. Make sure you register the free version using your name and email address, lest it go away 30 days from now.
4. Boot into Safe Mode by opening Windows’ Run window – Windows Key + R on your keyboard – and then type in “msconfig” and hit Enter.
5. Select the Boot tab > Safe Boot > click OK, and then restart your system.
6. Scan, scan, scan. Once Windows has booted into Safe Mode, start running the three apps you just downloaded and installed. Sit back, relax and hope they find detect and clean whatever is causing your pop-ups. They’re as easy to run as firing them up and hitting the buttons that say Scan, or some derivative thereof. If given the option, make sure you’re going for a full system scan instead of any kind of Quick Scan.
Oh, and while you’re in Malwarebytes, hit up its Settings menu before you start your scan. Click on “Detection and Protection,” and enable the “Scan for rootkits” option. You can never be too sure.
7. Once you’re done scanning in Safe Mode, repeat step four to un-revert your Safe Mode option. If you don’t, you’ll keep booting into Safe Mode until you do.