Inside Out

Take action—but which action?

How do you decide what to do based on the rather cryptic information that's presented? Begin with the Windows Defender advice, if shown. Then consider the publisher of the program: is it a company that you've heard of and trust? Examine each of the details and, for the ones you can understand, consider if that's a reasonable action for the type of program you think you're installing.

If you're still unsure, search the web for the names of any programs or files shown; you're likely to find many sites that better describe the source and potential risks with a particular file or program. (You're also likely to find a number of sites packed with misinformation, and it's sometimes hard to tell the difference. Until you find a site that gives you confidence, check several sites to find a consensus. And when you do find one of those good sites, bookmark it for the next time you have to deal with an uncategorized risk.) Dealing with potentially risky software is not clear-cut. Not everyone agrees on what constitutes a risky program; some are willing to accept the risk in return for benefits derived from the program . Furthermore, some perfectly safe, perfectly legitimate programs work in ways similar to some spyware, and they could be flagged as spyware. Ultimately, you have to decide.

troubleshooting

You can't get rid of a spyware program

Some spyware is pernicious and uses every trick in the book to avoid being removed and to reinstall itself—much like a monster in a horror movie. After you take action to disable spyware (either remove or quarantine), be even more vigilant in case it rears its ugly self again. After you restart your computer (usually required by Windows Defender after cleanup), run a full scan . Be sure that all real-time protection agents are enabled . And watch out for the sequel .

If spyware does return, you're dealing with a tough one, and you're going to need some up-to-date expert advice to help you through the process of manually removing it. Because the advice depends on the particular spyware as well as other factors, we can't provide it here—but we can point you to an excellent resource: the Spyware Warrior forums (w7io.com/1521), where you'll find links to diagnostic and removal tools and volunteer experts to help solve problems .

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