CNET Editors' review
We all love freeware, but someone has to pay the bills. That means sponsors who want you to try their products. You can decline optional downloads, but every now and then, unwelcome programs appear. The answer? More freeware, of course! Xplode's AdwCleaner is portable freeware that targets and removes adware, toolbars, browser hijackers, and other potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). It's lightweight and fast, making it ideal for quick, regular preventative maintenance. It's Windows 8-ready, too.
We extracted and ran AdwCleaner on an ordinary Windows 7 PC with typical protection. AdwCleaner's logo-dominated user interface is small and generally easy to figure out. The controls are limited to Search and Delete buttons, though an unobtrusive Help feature in the upper-left corner accesses not only the program's options, which basically let you remove browsers and other items from the scan, but also the developer's site, where you'll find more information about AdwCleaner and PUPs, too. Clicking the Uninstall button completely removes this portable program from your system. That's a great feature if you're disinfecting a computer for a friend or relative since it leaves no traces behind, but it also deletes the executable file, so we suggest simply closing the window when you run AdwCleaner at home. When you're cleaning someone else's PC, simply copy AdwCleaner from your USB drive to the host machine and hit Uninstall when you're done.
We clicked Search, and a progress bar tracked AdwCleaner's scan. The scan finished quickly and turned up a small litter of PUPs whose pedigree AdwCleaner listed in a text file. While none was a serious threat, we were only too happy to send the whole bunch packing. AdwCleaner required a reboot to finish the job, which is usually a good sign, because a reboot is often required to thoroughly purge persistent PUPs, not to mention adware, toolbars, and other unwanted yet hard-to-eradicate software. But before and after we cleaned up after the PUPs, we also ran some similar freeware cleaners. AdwCleaner found things the others missed but also missed some minor items other tools found. That was more than enough reason to add AdwCleaner to our regularly scheduled maintenance.AdwCleaner - Search and remove unwanted adware and toolbars from your PC - Download Video Previews:
AdwCleaner is a free tool that will scan your computer and efficiently removes Adware (ads softwares), PUP/LPI (Potentially Undesirable Program), Toolbars, Hijacker (Hijack of the browser's homepage). It also features anti adware host that will help to prevent advertising software from installing on your machine. It works with a Search and Delete mode. It can be easily uninstalled using the mode "Uninstall".
What's new in this version: Version 3.014 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes.
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All versions:3.9 stars
out of 53 votes
Current version:4.0 stars
out of 1 votes
My rating:Write review
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"An excellent manual scaner. Finds things others do not."
Version: AdwCleaner 3.014
Finds and removes problems that others did not. You can exclude from deletion any program you want to keep, but you have to do this each time you scan (see below).
Needs a saveable and easy way to exclude desirable programs that it marks for deletion. Triggers an AVG alert.
It saved my electronic butt when it found and removed something others would not. This is a simple manually run scanner that searches your system for problems. It does not designed to reside in memory, run in the background to watch for problems, or do a scheduled scan, etc. It is just one executable file that you can put in any folder (including a flash drive) and run.
When others did not detect "level quality watcher," it found and removed it. "Level quality watcher" would re-install "scorpion saver." Both are classified as PUPs (potentially unwanted programs)that can harm one's system and let other nasty things in without your permission. For this reason I will keep it on my system as a supplement to my other scanners, anti-virus, and anti-malware programs.
Version 3.014 (not the version reviewed by c-net) does not have a way to "exclude" files for deletion. This means every time you scan you must de-select any programs you want to keep as well as any files, folders, and registry entries associated with them. This can be a bit complex to do each time.
Upon install, first run, and creation of a log file and quarantine folder, AVG (and perhaps other Anti-Virus software as well?) will give you an alert and stop the process until you give permission to continue. It is very obvious that the alert is caused by AdwCleaner's action so it is easy to tell AVG to allow it. AVG saves this info and does not alert upon subsequent runs of AdwCleaner.
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