We have found that in most these cases, the culprit is adware and other Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs). Most PUPs are system add-ons, like extra toolbars and advertising plug-ins for your web browser. Many antivirus programs won’t automatically block PUPs because they are often legitimately installed by a user when installing other free software. Also, it’s sometimes difficult to determine if an add-on is really unwanted. For example, you may want that browser toolbar for your webmail program. But if you download several “free” programs and they all install their own toolbars, it becomes a problem.
Here are 3 rules for helping to ensure that programs you’re installing aren’t putting PUPs on your computer:
1. Go to the Source! Download programs from the software maker’s official site whenever possible. One PUP installation technique is to wrap a popular program in an unauthorized installer app that will install malware, adware, unneeded toolbars, and other extra items along with the original program.
2. Slow Down! When you’re installing a program, don’t rush to hit the “NEXT” button. Take the time to read each screen to help ensure that you’re not agreeing to unwanted add-ons hidden in the terms and conditions or information screens. Some of these unwanted programs are tricky, and are hidden in an “Agree” button during the install.
3. Uncheck Those Checks! Now that you’re taking the time to read each installer screen, look for any checkmarks next to toolbars and other add-ons that you can uncheck. This will reduce the unwanted add-ons that tag along with the install.
If you do find your system running slowly and are having issues like slow web browsing with lots of pop-ups or misdirected websites, it’s possible that your computer – though virus-free – could benefit from a Computer Tune-Up service to clear out the add-on clutter.