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People can use programs designed for spyware detection to find many examples of spyware on their computers. In cases where spyware is hidden, it may be necessary to consult a computer professional for advice with finding and removing it. Internet forums often provide resources people can use, although it is important to evaluate the spyware detection information on a forum carefully to make sure people aren't providing malicious or dangerous advice.
Spyware is software intended to collect and return data about a user. Computers can become infected with this malicious software when the user operates the browser, accepts files in email or chat, and engages in other activities online. The software is often designed to be hard to find, with the goal of preventing the user from getting rid of it. Some software will modify the computer registry and take other steps to make it hard to find or get rid of; it may start even when the computer is in safe mode, for example.
One option for spyware detection is to use built-in security software. Most operating systems come with a basic security suite, including programs intended to find and remove spyware. It is important to update the program regularly to make it more effective. It can be told to regularly scan the computer for spyware, and the user can also run a scan at any time if there are concerns about malicious software. If the utility does not reveal any spyware infections, it does not mean the computer is clean, but only that the software did not detect anything.
Programs designed specifically for spyware detection and removal are available online. Many are free and very low cost. As with Internet forums, it is important to get them from a reputable source, as malicious software could be embedded. These programs may come with more detailed scans than those offered by basic computer security, allowing for the detection of cleverly hidden spyware.
If spyware scans come up clean but a computer still behaves erratically, a computer professional can manually go through the computer to look for traces of spyware. She can check the registry along with other locations for signs of malicious software that might have evaded detection by other means. Step by step tutorials for people who want to do this at home are also available, although using a technician can sometimes have a better outcome. People who work with computers every day are familiar with the latest information on spyware detection and are very good at identifying irregularities in a computer system.