The word “adware” refers to any home computer software that pops-up advertisements on the PC monitor with or without the user’s consent. It is a variant that generally falls under a class of surreptitiously installed software called “spyware.” Many consider them a form of virus but unlike virus, spyware and adware are not as fatal to the computer’s operation but can be annoying, intrusive and disruptive to regular use.

Adware that installs on your PC without your knowledge and consent can be annoying and invasive of your privacy. Apart from annoying advertising pop-ups, it can work in the background to collect information on your Web browsing habits. Such programs gather statistical data to aid advertisers in further enhancing advertisements to acutely target consumers.

Some Web sites do install such adware on your PC when you visit them, giving advertising revenues to these adware makers. In fact, since 2000, a new industry catering to adware have sprung up as a result of huge advertising revenues.

Legitimatre adware?

There are legitimate programs that you install on your PC that can and do have programs that work and behave like an adware. The freeware email client Eudora for instance has advertisements displayed on your monitor as revenue to Eudora makers in lieu of registration fees.

In fact, a number of downloadable freeware from the net get revenues this way. These adware may not fall as spyware because the users are aware of them and have accepted them in exchange for the free use of the associated software. A problem arises when these bundled adware render the useful software they are bundled with inoperable when cleansed by an Anti-spyware utility software.

This has actually posed a challenge to Anti-spyware makers whose products often cleanse the PC quite effectively of such adware programs, but it can leave the wanted or useful application software inoperable.

There’s an industry group call Anti-Spyware Coalition that is addressing this by determining adware behavior that is not acceptable to consumers. A number of Anti-spyware programs like AdAware have come out that ignores adware bundled with legitimate software like those found in some PC games. But for most good anti-spyware programs, its goodbye to adware, and the bundled programs that came with them. You just might have to re-install it after you’ve cleansed the PC of adware and spyware.
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