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Need help with an answer? Here are some frequently asked questions from our customer base.

If you’re not running your Web browser and are still getting pop-up ads on your desktop, you’ve most likely installed adware—a program that displays unwanted ads. Although benevolent adware exists, most of the time adware is up to no good. Getting rid of it isn’t easy. “There’s a ton of little system-utility tools out there that promise to clean up everything, with names like PC Speed-up, PC Speed Pro, PC Speedifier,” Geek Squad’s Meister says. “A lot of times those programs are not going to do much. Some programs will work, others are snake oil.”

Avoid downloading programs that offer to speed up your PC or clean up your registry. Instead, use a trustworthy adware scanner like the free version of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware tool.

Running a full scan with credible antivirus software is your first step. If that program doesn’t find and remove the adware, turn to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free, a great utility for removing all types of malware. Just make sure to disable your standard antivirus software before running it.

“Multiple antivirus programs working at the same time will often result in problems,” Falcon Northwest’s Petrie says. “You only want one active, real-time antivirus scanner installed, but it doesn’t hurt to run an additional ‘on demand’ virus or malware scanner.”

Searching online for the name of the advertised product can sometimes yield solutions from fellow victims. If all else fails, there’s always the nuclear option: a complete system reinstall. It might take a long time, but it’s the only surefire way to remove adware or spyware. Remember to back up all your personal files.

Category: Advice

Speedtest.net is your best friend when you’re having connectivity problems. Run a speed test to see what your download and upload speeds are—ideally they should be at least 50 percent of your Internet service provider’s advertised speeds, with a ping under 100 milliseconds. If you are on Virgin broadband speed should be very close to what you are paying for – often its more.

If the speeds seem solid, make sure that you aren’t inadvertently downloading or uploading anything. Many torrent downloading programs run in the background and minimise into the system tray instead of the task bar.

A good speed test should give you an accurate assessment of your ping, download speed, and upload speed.

Check your network hardware. Updates for network cards aren’t all that common, but if your card’s manufacturer offers a newer driver, download it. Resetting your router and modem can help with connection problems, too. Most routers and modems have reset buttons, but pulling the power cable for a second or two can do the same thing. Don’t cut the power for much longer, or the hardware may reset itself to factory defaults.

Still having problems? Call your ISP, which can tell you whether the problem is on your end. As a last-ditch measure, the ISP could reset the master connection to your home.

Category: Advice