Ad-aware: Does it kill everything?

Was wondering if ad-aware was really finding and killing all that bad spyware on my computer. Does it?

When one starts to scan, ad-aware tells you how many processes and how manyprocess mudules are currently running. I suppose processes are programs, but what is a process module and how many are supposed to be there on a healthy computer?

Thanks for your help

No, it isn’t comprehensive. You’ll need to run several programs to knock out most Spyware. Try Spybot and Spydoctor.

It’s pretty good, but when I was badly infected, I found out that Spybot picked up a couple of things AdAware missed.

The most important thing to remember is that AdAware doesn’t automatically update. Make sure you check for updates before you run it.


Like the other two said, AdAware is pretty comprehensive, but you need at least two programs to get 100% coverage. Spybot Search & Destroy picks up some that AdAware misses, and AdAware picks up some that Spybot misses.

Tell ya something funny. The other day ran an AP article about the nuisance of spyware. Of course, attempts to install spyware onto your system! I sent them an e-mail to point out how they should change their evil ways. :wink:

I keep Spydoctor running full time, so it blocks the attempted CNN intrusion. Spybot also has an innoculating feature that blocks a limited number of intrusions.

Believe me, if you use this trio of programs regularly, it will make your surfing a whole lot faster. Of course they don’t get everything, and you could take it to the next level with some of the more hardcore programs. But those are best left to the expert user, since they have a tendency to go overboard and over-report, which can be a problem if you delete apps that aren’t spyware!

If you turn off Javascript, you get the same effect and more - no popups or other nasty surprises. However, there are a few websites which don’t work if you don’t have Javascript enabled (but screw them - that’s why I don’t use Gmail).


Thanks, I might consider installing one of the mentioned programs as well…

Anybody knows the answer to my second question?

I can’t tell you for sure what a process module is, but the number running will depend on and vary according to the number of programs you’ve got running, both “normally” (ie taskbar-visible) and in the system tray.

What is a healthy computer?? The numbers of modules running depend on the OS and the software you installed. Just check yourself, and if you want to find out more about a certain service just type its name in any search engine.

I always kill everything that Ad-aware finds and marks as a potential danger.

AFAIK there are typically around 25-30 processes running under WindowsXP (no application open/running).

I’ve been using adsubtract for years and has greatly helped with killing all popup ads as well as other things. But it won’t help with spyware. spybot is excellent, but if you use it and like it donate a couple bucks to them.

Don’t worry about the process modules. If you are concern about the running processes, and want to keep an eye on it to make sure that your computer is healthy, use some programs such as Security Task Manager to display detailed information about all the running processes (applications, DLL’s, BHO’s and services), then your just have to make sure to know which OS function or programs that each process is about, and identify the malicious or unnecessary ones.

Sometimes these process looks innocent, like services.exe, the problem is I had two of them runnning. One is C:\WINDOWS\system32\services.exe and the other C:\WINDOWS\inetdata\services.exe, the first one is used by Window and the second one was used by spywares, and can’t be picked up by AdAware or Spybot S&D. Some other processes are genuine Window services that still needs to be turn off, like the Messenger service in XP, because the security risk.

If you are already infected by spywares then I think the thing to watch out for is the BHO (Browser Helper Objects), that’s the DLL that gives the developers complete control and the ability to alter your IE settings. So again you need to identify which BHO was installed without your consent, and which are the one’s that’s used by your regular programs. You can use BHODemon to check them up or use HijackThis to look at a comprehensive report of your system, I wouldn’t suggest you fixing your system through hijackthis, it is the most thorough methods but it’s better if you post the log file to let someone else take a look at it first.

Apologies if this has been mentioned before.
If you have Ad-Aware 6, you should update to the latest version, Ad-Aware SE Personal.
Get it at the spyware page at