How to remove malware or adware from your computer

Are you seeing the same shopping ads on every website you visit? They might not be ads at all, but "adware." Adware is malicious software that injects ads into web pages in such a way that they can't be blocked. The only way to get rid of these ads is to remove the adware.

Step 1: Look for and remove malware extensions in your browser

Chrome and Opera

Type about:extensions in the address bar to open the list of extensions. Remove any extensions that 1) you don't remember installing or 2) you recently installed (say, just before those ads started appearing).


Choose Safari > Preferences > Extensions and remove any extensions that 1) you don't remember installing or 2) you recently installed (say, just before those ads started appearing).


Type about:addons in the address bar, select Extensions, and remove any extensions that 1) you don't remember installing or 2) you recently installed (say, just before those ads started appearing).

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge doesn't have many extensions yet. If you suspect Edge has been infected with malware, it's most likely not because of a bad extension.

Step 2: Root out malware in your operating system

Macintosh computers

To remove the malware from your computer, follow the instructions in The Safe Mac's Adware Removal Guide.

Windows computers

The name of the malware is usually found at the bottom of the block of ads in small gray letters. For example, you may see something like "Savings-Magnet" or "Ads by Shopping Deals." (See some examples of adware.) Search for the name of the malware on to find the appropriate removal guide.

If you can't find a removal guide for that specific malware, try the most appropriate link in the "Helpful Guides" section on the search results page. General malware removal instructions and instructions for removing any browser redirect virus might be a good place to start. also provides a good guide to help you avoid being infected with malware in the first place.

You can also ask for help in's Malware Help forum. 

By the way, be sure you're on the real site! Beware of "copycat" sites such as, which are scam sites designed to push a particular "malware removal" product.


To remove the malware from your Chromebook, follow the instructions in this post on the Google Chromebook help forum.

iOS devices (iPhone, iPad)

Apple's mobile devices are pretty safe from malware. Here's what to do if you suspect your device may be infected with adware or if AdBlock isn't blocking ads in Safari:

  1. Update your filter lists in AdBlock.
  2. Make sure iOS on your device is fully up-to-date.
  3. Make sure you have turned on pop-up blocking in Safari's settings.
  4. While you're there, clear your browser history and cache (Settings > Safari > Privacy & Security, Clear History and Website Data) and turn on Fraudulent Website Warning.

Step 3: If all else fails, check your wireless router

If you've tried everything we suggest and those ads aren't going away, your wireless router might have been hacked. Here's some information about how that can happen, what to do if it does, and how to prevent it from happening again:

If you're suddenly getting more spam email after a malware infection

If it feels as if you're getting more spam or junk email than normal after your computer has been infected with malware, it might not be your imagination. Thanks to that malware, your email address may have made its way onto the list of every spammer on the Internet.

You can try contacting your Internet Service Provider's customer support team. They may be able to tweak your spam filters to catch more of these unwanted emails.

We found an article with advice on how to stop spam from invading your mailbox. Hopefully, it will help to stop at least some of it. The other option, of course, is to get a new email address. But that cure might be worse than the disease. :)

Learn more about malware

How did I get it?

How did you get the malware in the first place? Sometimes it's by downloading a desktop application or installing a browser extension that begins secretly directing you to pages filled with ads (or worse). You can also get malware by visiting a site that is serving infected ads (often without the site owner's knowledge).

How can I protect my computer?

We have some suggestions about how to protect yourself from malware.

Rhana is the author of this solution article.

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