Downloads - Computing Services

Removal Tool for Spyware & Adware

How to Remove Unsolicited Advertisement

This document is in response to questions and concerns regarding pop-up advertisements which include Adware, Spyware, and Hotbar.  Many students have complained about the numerous e-mails and advertisements received each day.  What is commonly unknown is that the USER OPENS THE DOOR FOR MOST ADVERTISEMENTS.  You might expect recurring occurrences of spam mail and pop-up messages, generated constantly, until such time as upgrades can be completed, which will reduce these nuisances.

Please review the following information for your security.

What is Adware?

Adware is a program that hides itself on your computer and creates “pop-up” advertisements. Adware is usually also spyware so that it can provide advertisements based on what Web sites you are viewing.

What is Spyware?

Spyware is a program that hides itself on your computer and watches you and your habits as you use your computer. It then reports this information to the company that created the spyware. Contrary to the name, spyware is usually legal. In most cases, you must click “Yes” or “I Accept” before the spyware is installed.
The picture below shows a common way that spyware is installed.
In almost cases where you get this window, you will want to press “No”.

What is Ad-Aware?

Ad-Aware is a spyware removal utility that scans your memory, registry, and hard drive for known spyware components and lets you remove them.  Options such as scanning depth and automatic modes can be set in the preferences menu.  It features a wizard-style interface that will guide you though the scanning and removal process.

How do I install Ad-Aware?

  1. Download Ad-Aware to your desktop from Once it has downloaded, locate the file on your desktop and open it. Note: If you need help on downloading a file, and opening it on your desktop, see the How to Download and Open a File tutorial.
  2. After you open the installation file on your desktop, a wizard will open that will guide you through the install. Press “Next” through all the screens, and then press “Finish” when it is done.

How do I use Ad-Aware?

1a. To open Ad-Aware in Windows 95/98/2000, go to Start —> Programs —> LavaSoft Ad-Aware —> Ad-Aware.

1b.  To open Ad-Aware in Windows XP, go to Start —> All Programs —> LavaSoft Ad-Aware —> Ad-Aware.

2.  After Ad-Aware opens, always use the “Webupdate” feature to make sure Ad-Aware is up-to-date before it scans. Click “Check for updates now” in the lower right hand corner.

Then click “Connect” to download updates.

If there are new updates, a message box will ask if you would like to download them. Click “OK”.

Once the updates finish, click “Finish”.

3. You should now be at the “Ad-Aware Status” screen again.
Click “Start” to begin the scan of your system for spyware/adware.

4. On the “Preparing system scan” screen, click“Next”.

The scan will begin and you will see the “Performing system scan” screen.
The scan can take from 5 minutes to 30 minutes.

5. After the scan is completed, you will see the “Scan complete” screen. You should see a number for “New Objects”.

A. If you DO NOT have any “New Objects”, then your computer is clean. Click “Finish” and close Ad-Aware.
B. If you have ONE OR MORE “New Objects”, then your computer has spyware/adware. Click “Next” to continue.

6. On the “Scanning results” screen, right click anywhere in the list, and click “Select all objects”.

You may want to scroll the list to make sure Ad-Aware does not quarantine any files that you need. If you find any files that you would like to keep, uncheck them.

Click “Next” to quarantine the spyware/adware found.

Click “Yes” when it asks if you would like to remove the files.

7. In some cases, Ad-Aware may ask you to restart your computer. This is usually to remove spyware that is currently running and could not be stopped. If this is the case, then close all programs and restart your computer to finish the removal of spyware/adware.


It is recommend that you run Ad-Awareat least once a month to make sure new spyware/adware is removed.
If you still have Ad-Aware open, you may close it.

Where can I find more guides for Ad-Aware?

What is Hotbar?

According to their web site, Hotbar enhances and personalizes your internet and e-mail applications. Most people use Hotbar to add smiley faces to their e-mail or to add colorful backgrounds to Internet Explorer (aka: “skins”). However, there are a few important facts you should be aware of:

  1. Hotbar is adware/spyware. It monitors all web sites you visit, collects information about your interests and habits, displays pop-up ads, and provides buttons and advertisements in its toolbar.
  2. Hotbar automatically updates itself from their web site without your approval. These updates can include new functionality that can by-pass security/privacy protection programs, and update the way it gathers information about you.
  3. Hotbar is not an official upgrade from Microsoft for Internet Explorer or Outlook.

How do I know if I have Hotbar?

There are several ways to tell if Hotbar is installed. If any of the following steps show that you have Hotbar, go to the How do I remove Hotbar? section on this page.
Note: If you have changed the “skin” for Hotbar, the buttons may look different. If that is the case, you may want to jump to step 3 to see if Hotbar is installed.

  1. Open Internet Explorer (aka: your web browser). If you see a series of gold buttons, like in the picture below, you have Hotbar installed.
  2. Open Outlook or Outlook Express. If you see a series of silver buttons, like in the picture below, you have Hotbar installed.
  3. Open Internet Explorer. Go to the “View” menu and then click “Toolbars”, like you see in the picture below. If you see “Hotbar” in the Toolbars menu, you have Hotbar installed.
  4. If you send an e-mail to someone, an image similar to one of the following may be automatically appended to the bottom.

However, if someone sends you an e-mail, and at the bottom there is an image similar to one of the following, then the sender may have Hotbar.

How do I remove Hotbar?

The following instructions are taken from Hotbar’s web site:
To uninstall Hotbar from your computer please follow these steps:

  1. Click “Start”, “Settings” and choose “Control Panel”
  2. Choose “Add/Remove Programs”
  3. Find “Web Tools by Hotbar”
  4. Click the “Add/Remove” button at the bottom right of the window
  5. Check both browser and email toolbars
  6. Press the “Uninstall” Button

If the steps above do not work:

You can also try using Hotbar’s uninstaller which can be downloaded from

After download is complete, locate the file “HBUnInst.exe.” on your computer. Double-click this file to start the uninstall process and follow the on-screen instructions. If the instructions provided by Hotbar do not work, you can try one of the following 3rd party adware/spyware removal tools.

More tools are available at

Note: Howard University does not officially support the 3rd party adware/spyware removal tools above. Technical support for the tools will not be provided by the University helpdesks or by the University webmasters.

Is Hotbar violating your privacy?

Yes. It monitors web sites you visit, forms you fill in, and searches you make on the internet. This can happen even when the toolbar is hidden/disabled.

Is Hotbar a security risk?

Yes. Hotbar’s silent update feature gives the intruding company the ability to add any functionality they wish on your computer at any time, without notification.

Does Hotbar cause problems with my computer?

Yes. Hotbar slows down your computer and can cause lockups (aka: crashes) when you are using Internet Explorer or Outlook.

What information does Hotbar track/collect?

  • Web sites you visit, in what order you visit them, and how often you visit them.
  • What you search for on the web using search engines.
  • Personally identifiable information such as your full name, postal address, zip code, age or e-mail address.

The information above is taken from the Hotbar privacy policy at

Does Hotbar use pop-up ads?

Yes. Hotbar monitors your use of web sites and uses pop-up ads on a regular basis. In many cases, you do not need to be browsing the web for pop-ups to appear.

Doesn’t Hotbar have a privacy policy?

Having a privacy policy does not mean Hotbar will respect your privacy to the degree you would hope for. Their license agreement also states that they are free to change their policy or software at any time, without notification.

Policy links:

Where can I find more information about Hotbar?

Where can I find lists of spyware/adware?

About this page:

Information on this page was gathered from the Hotbar policy and terms of use, and from various security/university web sites. Screen captures on this page were created by Howard University web staff. For questions about installing/uninstalling software, please contact the Helpdesk using the contact information at
Comments, corrections, or concerns in regard to this page should be submitted using the webmaster contact form at