Adware

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What Does Adware Mean?

Adware is free computer software that contains commercial advertisements. Adware programs include games, desktop toolbars or utilities. Commonly, adware is Web-based and collects Web browser data to target advertisements, especially pop-ups.

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Adware is also known as freeware and pitchware.

Techopedia Explains Adware

Adware is categorized as follows:

  • Legitimate: Free or trial product sponsored advertisements
  • Spyware: Tracks user website preferences and compromises privacy

Adware may appear innocuous and provide users with legitimate business software but then unleash spyware that collects browser search data for targeted user-specific advertisements.

Uninstalling adware generally requires anti-adware software. A variety of free and paid versions are available, but licensed adware is the most reliable, aggressive and recommended. Anti-adware software is also included in virus scanning packages.

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.