How to Remove Adware from Browser. Step-By-Step Guide

Adware is a kind of unwanted software that is designed primarily to bring revenue to its owners rather than for users’ profit. In many cases adware programs are totally useless. They can pretend to optimize performance of your PC, find best prices, offer discounts, help download music and videos for free and even promise to block ads while their only aim is to inject ads in your browser, show you ads on the desktop, install other sponsored software. In this article we will explain:

  • where does malware come from;
  • how to remove adware and PUP from PC;
  • how to get rid of pop-up ads in browser: Chrome, Firefox, Opera, IE.

How to remove adware from browser

Where does adware come from?

Many developers of freeware programs include sponsor’s software in their installation packages. Sometimes it is possible to refuse from sponsor software installation. But in some cases the unwanted software installs itself without user’s permission (so called silent mode).

So be sure to unset the checkboxes before clicking Install while installing new software.

adware installer

In most cases ads are generated by harmful browser extensions. Those extensions usually add to browser during the installation of various freeware programs.

How to remove adware and PUP

There exist several malware-removal tools. Also it is possible to remove malware manually. But we recommend to combine these two methods into the universal removal algorithm. Follow the steps of the manual.

1. Close all browsers and other running programs

Save your work and exit all applicatios, because you will have to reboot your computer.

2. Kill suspicious and harmful processes

Launch the task manager. Go to Processes tab (in Windows 7) or to Details tab (in Windows 8 or 10). Look through the list of running processes. Right-click the suspicious processes (with strange names, chinese symbols, etc) and select End Process Tree:

kill malicious process

If you see the message Access denied when you try to kill the process, just proceed to the next step.

If you do not know if the process is harmful, right-click it and select Open file location. This will help you to understand what kind of process it is:

find malware location

In our example it is obvious that the process belongs to potentially unwanted program. Look for uninstall.exe and uninst.exe in the folder. Run it to remove the adware program or PUP:

uninstall unwanted program

3. Uninstall unwanted and unknown software

Go to Control Panel, choose Programs and Features (in Windows 10 go to Settings – System – Apps and features).

Click on Installed On to sort the programs by date. Look throught the list of recently installed software. Uninstall all malicious, suspicious and unknown applications:

uninstall adware program

4. Clean temporary and junk files

Use the CCleaner to wipe rubbish:

clean pc from adware installers

Then look through \AppData\Local\ directory. If there are some suspicious folders with strange names delete them:

find adware installers

Clean the local\temp folder

In most cases it is located here:


Almost every malware program extracts its files to this folder:

clean temp to remove adware

Inspect the Downloads folder

Try to find out which files from Internet could infect the system with malware. We advise that you sort files by date:

adware installer in downloads

Delete suspicious files.

5. Remove malicious tasks in scheduler

Search for harmful sacheduled tasks that can launch a hijaking page at startup or something like that. If you see the task designed to run suspicious file delete it. Very often harmful software uses to launch files from \AppData\Local\ directory or subdirectories. Usually the aim of such tasks is to overwrite some keys in registry to make the malware removal process as hard as possible.

Delete such tasks:

adware removal: malicious task

By the way it is very convenient to manage the startup items with CCleaner:

ccleaner removes malware from startup
Remove malware from startup and tasks

6. Check the browsers’ shortcuts

There should not be any arguments in the targets. For instance:


fix browser shortcuts
Remove hijacker from browser shortcut

Correct if needed. If the paths are modified delete the shortcut and create a new one manually.

7. Remove all unknown extensions from browsers

Check all extensions. If there are suspicious ones disable or remove them. As a variant you can also perform the reset procedure for all installed browsers (How to)

Remove adware extension from Chrome:

delete malicious extension
Malicious extension injectings ads

Remove unwanted adware extension from Mozilla Firefox:

remove adware extension from firefox browser
Adware extension removal

Disable adware add-on in Internet Explorer:

Clean IE from adware add-ons

Read the detailed manual on how to easily remove unwanted add-ons and extensions.

8. Restore the hosts file

Read the full guide

restore hosts file

9. Check the DNS settings

Very often hackers change your DNS to show ads in your browser. Specify the correct DNS servers. You may use Google DNS: To take effect please restart your computer or clear DNS cache:

ipconfig /flushdns

We recommend using NetAdapter Repair tool to quickly restore the network.

You can use NetAdapter Repair utility to fix the DNS settings:

reset network card
reset network card

10. Scan computer with MBAM

Malwarebytes is a perfect option to start with. Often it is capable of removing all common malware and adware. Follow our guide to download the program, scan your system and remove all found malicious items:

automatic malware removal

11. Remove adware with AdwCleaner

This utility is very easy to use. It is able to remove adware and unwanted apps automatically.

  • Download
  • Lauch as admin
  • Press “Scan”
  • Wait for a minute
  • Press “Clean”
  • Agree to restart:
clean PC from adware using AdwCleaner
clean PC from adware using AdwCleaner

Detailed instruction: //

12. Remove all types of malware with HitmanPro

Use 30-day trial version of program to detect and remove a vast variety of harmful software


Detailed manual.

13. Kill adware using Zemana utility

Read our full guide on how to install and remove ads using ZemanaAntiMalware.

zemana is removing adware
Zemana: adware removal

Hopefully our guide will help you to completely get rid of adware in browsers, remove all unwanted software from your computer and clean all its traces like installers, modified shortcuts and registry keys.

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