How to remove adware and other stubborn apps

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How to remove adware and other stubborn apps
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Ever had adware, extensions and junk apps that refuse to be uninstalled? Here’s how to get rid of them once and for all.

Some stubborn software keeps reinstalling no matter what you do to remove it. Here’s how to stop unwanted adware, toolbars, Chrome extensions, apps and even Windows updates from returning.

Remove adware and other PUPs permanently

Any security software worth its salt will detect and remove adware and other annoying junk along with more dangerous threats, but because its main target is malware, it won't always scour deep enough to stop the pests reactivating themselves when you next start your computer.

Step forward Malwarebytes AdwCleaner, which is specifically designed to find and blitz adware, potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), toolbars, hijackers and other unwanted elements that keep coming back.

AdwCleaner couldn't be easier to use – simply click the Scan button to locate junk, then click Clean to remove the selected items. You need to close all other programs and restart your PC to complete the clean-up process, but that's a small price to pay for giving junk the heave-ho.

The software keeps logs of every scan to show you what it found and where, and lets you delete leftover traces and restore altered settings that could allow PUPs to sneak back in.

Prevent Windows 10 apps from reinstalling

Many Windows 10 users have found that unwanted apps they've removed mysteriously reappear when they restart their PCs or install the latest update for the operating system. This happens most frequently with pre-installed promotional apps such as 3D Builder, Get Office and Candy Crush Saga. There are a few solutions you can try to prevent this unwanted reinstallation – with varying degrees of difficulty.

The easiest way to banish pre-installed apps is to use the free program 10AppsManager. This tool lists every app that's built into Windows 10 and lets you uninstall them with a single click. There's no guarantee they won't reinstall in future, though.

A better option is to delete the app's package from the operating system, to stop it boomeranging back (you can reinstall it manually if you choose). Type PowerShell into the search box and press Enter to run the command. When Windows PowerShell opens, type the command Get-AppxPackage to see all the apps you have installed. Locate the app you want to banish permanently and note or copy its package name – for example 'king.com.CandyCrushSaga_1.93.1400.0_x86__kgqvnymyfvs32'. Type the command Remove-AppxPackage followed by the package name, and press Enter to get rid of the app for good.

Alternatively, you can tweak the Registry to stop Windows 10 downloading apps automatically. Type regedit into the search box and press Enter, then navigate to the key
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsStore\WindowsUpdate

In the right-hand pane, you should see a value called AutoDownload – if not, right-click, choose New, DWORD (32-bit) Value and create one. Double-click the value and set it to '2' to stop apps installing without your permission. You can still install them manually.

You should always create a restore point before making any changes to the Registry.

Next: Stop Chrome extensions and Windows 10 updates from coming back

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