Ad-Aware SE tutorial

Table of contents.
Installing Ad-Aware SE
Starting Ad-Aware SE for the first time
Using Ad-Aware SE
Ad-Aware SE real-time protection module and add-ons

Ad-Aware SE is one of the most popular and effective spyware removers. This anti-spyware program uses powerful scan engine with heuristics analysis, has simple and convenient interface, correctly detects spyware and easily removes it. Its database contains about 40,000 signatures of different pests. Only few anti-spyware programs can compete with Ad-Aware SE.

More information about Ad-Aware SE can be found in our review.

By reading the following guide you will learn how to use this program in order to get rid of dangerous parasites.

Ad-Aware SE comes in three flavours: Professional, Plus and Personal editions. The latter edition is free for non-commercial use. You can download it from the official site. Version 1.06 size is about 3MB. The download shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Now you can install the program. Double-click on the downloaded executable file to start the installation. Follow setup instructions, read and accept the license agreement, select the installation folder. Now you are ready to start installing the application. Press the Next button.

Image 1. Starting the installation

After all files have been copied, you should see the last setup screen. It will offer you to perform a full system scan and update definition file. You should uncheck corresponding options (on Image 2 they are in the green box). You will learn how to scan the system and update Ad-Aware in next section.

Image 2. Finishing the setup

To start the program you have to double-click on Ad-Aware SE desktop icon or find Ad-Aware shortcut in start menu and click on it. On the first run the application will ask you to update its spyware definitions database. You should reply OK. This step is very important, because without latest updates Ad-Aware may be unable to detect and remove recent threats.

Image 3. Update the program

In the next screen you will have to press the Connect button. Ad-Aware SE will contact its home server. If recent updates are available, the application will ask your permission to download and install them. Reply positively.

Image 4. Start WebUpdate

Image 5. Allow to download and install updates

Now you are ready to start using the program.

1. Scanning the system for threats

To perform your first system scan press the Scan now button (on Image 6 it is designated by the red box). This will bring the Preparing System Scan window. In part of the screen designated by the blue box you will see scan settings that you should configure. For the first system scan it is recommended to select the Perform full system scan option. The program will scan all your hard disks, the Windows registry, running processes, cookies and other system components, potentially affected by parasites. You also should toggle on the Search for low-risk threats options. Ad-Aware SE will be able to detect relatively harmless, but undesirable pests like advertising programs, toolbars, etc. After having configured the scan you can start it by clicking on the Next button (it is in the green box).

Image 6. Prepare the system scan

Full system scan takes a while, so be patient. After the scan is over you will see the number of detected malicious objects. Press the Next button. You will be presented with the Scanning Results screen.

Image 7. Scan is finished

2. Removing detected parasites and critical objects

In the Scanning Results screen you can see all detected infections and undesirable objects found in the system. The main list of recognized items is in the Scan Summary tab. Here you can select threats you want to eliminate. Place a checkmark next to an item and press the Next button. Ad-Aware SE will ask you for confirmation. If you are sure about detected objects, answer positively by pressing the OK button. This will remove selected threats and all their components from your computer.

Image 8. Remove selected parasites

If you are in doubt what entries to remove, you can find out more about them by opening other tabs in the same screen. The Critical Objects tab contains the list of all found malicious files, processes, registry entries and other similar objects. The vendor, type, category and exact location are provided in this list. From here you can remove all the items or choose only few of them.

Image 9. Select objects to remove

3. Dealing with quarantined objects

After each system clean up Ad-Aware SE backups removed objects, so that they could be easily restored later. This feature can help to repair the system in case harmless essential system objects were accidentally removed. However, if you are sure that all eliminated items were malicious, you can delete them from the Quarantined Objects list. This list is Ad-Aware SE tool that allows to delete or restore items from backup. To access it, click on the Lock icon (on Image 10 it is designated by the red box).

Image 10. Quarantined objects

Before deleting or restoring any quarantined item, you should see its details. This can be done by right-clicking on the item and selecting the Item Details… option (on Image 10 it is in the green box).

Image 11. The quarantined item’s details

To remove certain item from the quarantine, select it with your mouse and click on the Delete button (it is in the red box). To restore certain item, select it and press the Restore button (in the green box). Ad-Aware SE will ask you to confirm the action. If you want to restore or delete an item, you must reply positively by clicking on the OK button (in the blue box).

Image 12. Deleting quarantined objects

4. Updating the program

To call the WebUpdate screen click on the Globe icon (on Image 13 it is designated by the red box). Further operations are completely the same as described in Starting Ad-Aware SE for the first time section.

Image 13. WebUpdate screen

5. Configuring the program

Ad-Aware SE has plenty of settings that can be used to completely change default program behavior. In my opinion, the default Ad-Aware SE installation is well optimized and doesn’t need to be reconfigured. However, I recommend you to enable one feature called Scan within archives. It will allow the program to thoroughly examine archive content and detect threats located in it. This option can be enabled from the configuration screen. Within the program’s main screen click on the Gear Wheel icon (on Image 14 it is in the red box). The Ad-Aware Configuration Window will appear. Within it click on the Scanning button (it is in the green box). This will bring the Scan Settings section. Here you will have to select the Scan within archive option (designated by the blue box) and apply changed settings by pressing the Proceed button (in the yellow box). Now Ad-Aware SE will be able to check files within ZIP, CAB and other archives.

Image 14. Allow the program to scan archived files

Ad-Aware SE Professional and Ad-Aware SE Plus include the real-time protection module called Ad-Watch. It monitors the system and detects active malicious processes and suspicious cookies, blocks pop-ups and prevents parasites from modifying the system. The Personal edition doesn’t have this module. Although it is not required, it is a generally good idea to have one. You should purchase Professional or Plus edition or use different freeware spyware remover with integrated real-time protection tool, for instance, Spybot – Search & Destroy with included TeaTimer.

Ad-Aware SE supports add-ons and extensions. They must be separately installed. The list of free add-ons can be found on the official site These subprograms are not essential, but quite useful, so I recommend you to try them out.

Ad-Aware SE is a perfect and powerful tool to fight all kinds of spyware, adware and other parasites. Even the Personal edition is much more effective than some non-free spyware removers. If you do not like Ad-Aware or want to use another anti-spyware, take a look on our recommended anti-spyware programs

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