Win32:Adware-gen (virus) - Free Guide

Win32:Adware-gen Removal Guide

What is Win32:Adware-gen?

Win32:Adware-gen is the detection name that indicates a PUP-type intruder running on the system

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, potentially unwanted program
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 the anti-malware tool for the removal. Otherwise, check the manual guide below
Repair Control the virus damage with ReimageIntego that can find and fix affected parts

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 the threat removal. As this application is quite tricky to detect, we suggest using SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes 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 the 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 that 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 the target's interests and control his/her browsing habits by displaying sponsored content.

Without any doubt, you should remove the virus, 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.

Win32:Adware-gen adwareThe PUP is an adware program that displays intrusive ads and disturbs browsing sessions.

Insecure installations of freeware can result in adware-type infection

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.

Get rid of the Win32:Adware-gen virus with AV tools

You can remove the potentially unwanted program 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 intrusive 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 may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Reimage Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Reimage Intego has a free limited scanner. Reimage Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of Win32:Adware-gen. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

Instructions for Windows 10/8  machines:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find the entry of the suspicious program.
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK. Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Delete from macOS

Remove items from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for all related entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash) Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove an unwanted app, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the related .plist files. Uninstall from Mac 2

Remove from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom. Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear. Clear Edge browsing data

Restore new tab and homepage settings:

  1. Click the menu icon and choose Settings.
  2. Then find On startup section.
  3. Click Disable if you found any suspicious domain.

Reset MS Edge if the above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running. Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick Delete Advanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -Verbose Advanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove. Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now. Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset. Reset Chromium Edge

Remove from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove. Remove extensions from Firefox

Reset the homepage:

  1. Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Options.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear. Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

Reset Mozilla Firefox

If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information. Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox. Reset Firefox 2

Remove from Google Chrome

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove. Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data. Clear cache and web data from Chrome

Change your homepage:

  1. Click menu and choose Settings.
  2. Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
  3. Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.

Reset Google Chrome:

If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the unwanted components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings. Reset Chrome 2

Delete from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall. Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History. Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches. Reset Safari

After uninstalling this potentially unwanted program (PUP) and fixing each of your web browsers, we recommend you to scan your PC system with a reputable anti-spyware. This will help you to get rid of Win32:Adware-gen registry traces and will also identify related parasites or possible malware infections on your computer. For that you can use our top-rated malware remover: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

How to prevent from getting adware

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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References
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