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Win32:Adware-gen. How to remove? (Uninstall guide)

removal by Olivia Morelli - - | Type: Adware

Win32:Adware-gen is an adware program that might run on users' machines silently

Win32:Adware-gen virus

Win32 Adware-gen is a name under which Avast security software detects this potentially unwanted program. The adware program typically enters computers using software bundling – a technique which allows developers to hide unwanted applications within Recommended or Quick installation settings of legitimate program installers. The PUP is capable of executing several changes to the targeted machine and may attempt to install additional questionable software. 

SUMMARY
Name Win32:Adware-gen
Type Adware
Main dangers Malware infection and exposed personal data
Targeted browsers Google Chrome, MS Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, etc.
Symptoms Invasive ads in various forms, redirects, slowdown of the browser or/and PC
Distribution Software bundling, malicious sites
Elimination Download and install Reimage. Otherwise, check manual guide below

Win32:Adware-gen [adw] virus attacks all installed browsers, including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, etc. However, adware is a sneaky application that might be not noticed by users at the start, especially if they never saw PUP in action before.

There might not even be a process in the task manager (or it might hide under a legitimate name), neither high activity that would indicate the infection. Nevertheless, users soon notice an increased amount of intrusive ads (in the form of pop-ups, video-ads, in-text links, banners, offers, deals, etc.), obnoxious redirects and, in some cases, a slowdown of the browser or/and the computer.

As soon as it is apparent that a suspicious application is interrupting normal browsing activities, users should start thinking about Win32:Adware-gen removal. As this application is quite tricky to detect, we suggest using Reimage for prompt elimination of the PUP. If you do not want to install additional software, however, you can make use of our illustrated guide below.

Another very distinctive feature of Adware-gen is that installation of additional components without permission. The installed unwanted programs may include:

  • Toolbars;
  • Search engines;
  • Add-ons;
  • Browser hijackers;
  • System optimizers;
  • Codec packs,[1] etc.

Most of these apps are completely useless and only clutter the machine. The biggest problem is that the more unwanted programs are installed, the more significant is the possibility of severe malware infection. Generally, adware is legal software which is created to display advertisements to users. However, the tunnel of redirects and accidental clicks on malicious pop-ups might not only infect a machine with other viruses but also steal sensitive information, including name, address, credentials or even bank details.

Security experts[2] also observed Win32 Adware gen gathering search data, IP address, links clicked, websites visited and other non-personally identifiable information. This allows developers to research target's interests and control his/her browsing habits by displaying sponsored content.

Without any doubt, you should remove Win32:Adware-gen, as this piece of software, will not only annoy you to death with ads but may also expose your PC to malware infections, as well as snatch your personal information without you even noticing. Identity fraud is a serious problem, and you should do everything to avoid it.

 Adware can appear on your machine after freeware or shareware installation

There is probably no person in the world who would like to see invasive ads deliberately, every day. Adverts are the plague of the current time, as an average person is exposed to about 5000 ads a day.[3] There is nothing wrong with marketing techniques, but we believe that tricking users into installing software that can harm your PC or even steal sensitive information is not a right thing to do.

Adware and other PUP developers do precisely that. They use software bundling to inject unwanted programs into as many PCs as possible. Unfortunately, the only way to protect yourself from these unwanted programs is to be attentive during the installation process of the application, even if it is a simple 3D screensaver. Any free software can contain search engines, toolbars and other useless apps within its installers. Thus, take a good look at what are you clicking – pick Advanced or Custom settings, so that all the additional components could be eliminated before the installation of the desired software is complete.

Delete Win32:Adware-gen [adw] from you computer

You can remove Win32 Adware-gen in two different ways: manual or automatic. Both methods are valid, and you should pick the one that suits you most.

Manual Win32 Adware-gen adw removal should be performed with caution. Do not tamper with your system files yourself, and rely on a guide created by our team. Follow each step carefully and in the correct order. If you fail to execute the procedure, the Win32:Adware-gen virus will return.

If you are not that confident in your computer skills, we suggest you pick security software to do the job for you. Additionally, even after manually eliminating the PUP, there might still be traces left, and to make sure that all of the infection is exterminated, scan your PC with reputable security software.

You can remove virus damage automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. We recommend these applications because they detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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What to do if failed?
If you failed to remove virus damage using Reimage, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage is recommended to remove virus damage. Free scanner allows you to check whether your PC is infected or not. If you need to remove malware, you have to purchase the licensed version of Reimage malware removal tool.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

To remove Win32:Adware-gen, follow these steps:

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of Win32:Adware-gen from Windows systems

Eliminate Win32 Adware-gen from Windows:

  1. Click Start Control Panel Programs and Features (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs). Click 'Start -> Control Panel -> Programs and Features' (if you are 'Windows XP' user, click on 'Add/Remove Programs').
  2. If you are Windows 10 / Windows 8 user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once Quick Access Menu shows up, select Control Panel and Uninstall a Program. If you are 'Windows 10 / Windows 8' user, then right-click in the lower left corner of the screen. Once 'Quick Access Menu' shows up, select 'Control Panel' and 'Uninstall a Program'.
  3. Uninstall Win32:Adware-gen and related programs
    Here, look for Win32:Adware-gen or any other recently installed suspicious programs.
  4. Uninstall them and click OK to save these changes. Right click on each of suspicious entries and select 'Uninstall'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Delete Win32:Adware-gen from Mac OS X system

  1. If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications. Cick 'Go' and select 'Applications'
  2. Wait until you see Applications folder and look for Win32:Adware-gen or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash. Click on every malicious entry and select 'Move to Trash'
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Remove Win32:Adware-gen from Internet Explorer (IE)

  1. Remove dangerous add-ons
    Open Internet Explorer, click on the Gear icon (IE menu) on the top right corner of the browser and choose Manage Add-ons. Click on menu icon and select 'Manage add-ons'
  2. You will see a Manage Add-ons window. Here, look for Win32:Adware-gen and other suspicious plugins. Disable these entries by clicking Disable: Right click on each of malicious entries and select 'Disable'
  3. Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
    Click on the gear icon (menu) on the top right corner of the browser and select Internet Options. Stay in General tab.
  4. Here, remove malicious URL and enter preferable domain name. Click Apply to save changes. Delete malicious URL, enter your desired domain name and click 'Apply' to save changes
  5. Reset Internet Explorer
    Click on the gear icon (menu) again and select Internet options. Go to Advanced tab.
  6. Here, select Reset.
  7. When in the new window, check Delete personal settings and select Reset again to complete Win32:Adware-gen removal. Go to 'Advanced' tab and click on 'Reset' button. Now select 'Delete personal settings' and click on 'Reset' button again
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Uninstall Win32:Adware-gen from Microsoft Edge

Reset your MS Edge browser:

Reset Microsoft Edge settings (Method 1):

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge app and click More (three dots at the top right corner of the screen).
  2. Click Settings to open more options.
  3. Once Settings window shows up, click Choose what to clear button under Clear browsing data option. Go to Settings and select 'Choose what to clear'
  4. Here, select all what you want to remove and click Clear. Select 'Clear' button
  5. Now you should right-click on the Start button (Windows logo). Here, select Task Manager. Open the start menu and select 'Task Manager'
  6. When in Processes tab, search for Microsoft Edge.
  7. Right-click on it and choose Go to details option. If can’t see Go to details option, click More details and repeat previous steps. Right-click 'Microsoft Edge' and select 'Go to details' Select 'More details' if 'Go to details' option fails to show up
  8. When Details tab shows up, find every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right click on each of them and select End Task to end these entries. Find Microsoft Edge entries and select 'End Task'

Resetting Microsoft Edge browser (Method 2):

If Method 1 failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method.

  1. Note: you need to backup your data before using this method.
  2. Find this folder on your computer: C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  3. Select every entry which is saved on it and right click with your mouse. Then Delete option. Go to Microsoft Edge folder on your computer, right-click every entry and click 'Delete'
  4. Click the Start button (Windows logo) and type in window power in Search my stuff line.
  5. Right-click the Windows PowerShell entry and choose Run as administrator. Find Windows PowerShell, right-click it and select 'Run as administrator'
  6. Once Administrator: Windows PowerShell window shows up, paste this command line after PS C:\WINDOWS\system32> and press Enter:
    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml -Verbose}
    Copy and paste a required command and press 'Enter'

Once these steps are finished, Win32:Adware-gen should be removed from your Microsoft Edge browser.

WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Eliminate Win32:Adware-gen from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Mozilla Firefox, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Add-ons Extensions. Click on menu icon and select 'Add-ons'
  2. Here, select Win32:Adware-gen and other questionable plugins. Click Remove to delete these entries. Select 'Extensions' and look for malicious entries. Click 'Remove' to get rid of each of them
  3. Reset Mozilla Firefox
    Click on the Firefox menu on the top left and click on the question mark. Here, choose Troubleshooting Information. Click on menu icon and then on '?'. Select 'Troubleshooting Information'
  4. Now you will see Reset Firefox to its default state message with Reset Firefox button. Click this button for several times and complete Win32:Adware-gen removal. Click on 'Reset Firefox' button for a couple of times
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Erase Win32:Adware-gen from Google Chrome

  1. Delete malicious plugins
    Open Google Chrome, click on the menu icon (top right corner) and select Tools Extensions. Click on menu icon. Select 'Tools' and 'Extensions'
  2. Here, select Win32:Adware-gen and other malicious plugins and select trash icon to delete these entries. Look for malicious entries and delete each of them by clicking on the Trash bin icon
  3. Click on menu icon again and choose Settings Manage Search engines under the Search section. When in 'Settings', select 'Manage search engines...'
  4. When in Search Engines..., remove malicious search sites. You should leave only Google or your preferred domain name. Click 'X' to remove malicious URLs
  5. Reset Google Chrome
    Click on menu icon on the top right of your Google Chrome and select Settings.
  6. Scroll down to the end of the page and click on Reset browser settings. When in 'Settings', scroll down to 'Reset browser settings' button and click on it
  7. Click Reset to confirm this action and complete Win32:Adware-gen removal. Click on 'Reset' button to complete your removal
WindowsMac OS XInternet ExplorerMicrosoft EdgeFirefoxGoogle ChromeSafari

Get rid of Win32:Adware-gen from Safari

  1. Remove dangerous extensions
    Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences. Click on 'Safari' and select 'Preferences'
  2. Here, select Extensions and look for Win32:Adware-gen or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them. Go to 'Extensions' and uninstall malicious add-ons
  3. Reset Safari
    Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari.... Click on 'Safari' and select 'Reset Safari...'
  4. Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete Win32:Adware-gen removal process. Select all options and click on 'Reset' button

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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References

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