AdwCleaner: Get rid of toolbars, adware and other potentially unwanted programs

Lots of free applications but sometimes even paid ones include adware in their installers. It appears under various forms, such as browser add-ons, toolbars, hijackers and other third-party programs that may not be malicious but are certainly not wanted.

AdwCleaner is a free small utility that can detect and remove the software category known as potentially unwanted programs by scanning not just installed applications but also your system’s services, registry, files, folders and web browser data.

Installation & Requirements

You don’t need to install AdwCleaner on your computer to use it because the application is portable. As a result, simply double-clicking the executable file launches the program. This also means you can use AdwCleaner from CD, DVD, USB flash drive and other removable storage devices.

AdwCleaner is a lightweight tool so it’s only requires one of the following operating systems: Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 (both 32 and 64-bit versions).


AdwCleaner’s GUI is very simple, just like the tool itself. A status bar shows the progress of any deployed action and the program’s functions are displayed as four buttons: Search, Delete, Uninstall and Donate.

When using the Search function AdwCleaner will reveal information in a log file about any adware-related leftover data such as services, files, folders, registry entries and internet browsers. Nevertheless, AdwCleaner won’t take any actions until you press the Delete button. Before starting the removal process, the application notifies users that it will close all running applications. After all the detected items have been deleted, AdwCleaner will require a reboot. This is a good thing, since some entries cannot be properly removed without restarting the system.

While the program can detect a large variety of PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) it also informs users on how to avoid them in a pop-up window that appears automatically after the system reboot, along with the program’s log file.

The Uninstall option is something rarely found within a program: pressing this button makes AdwCleaner go away for good, removing the program from wherever it’s stored.


– Portable tool with no installation needed.
– Using it is resumed to two simple options: Search and Delete.
– A log file displays detailed information for any of the two functions.
– Can detect and remove many types of PUPs and browser hijackers.
– The program’s option lets users include/exclude from detection several items.


– Users don’t have the option of selecting/deselecting entries for the removal process.


AdwCleaner is more than capable of removing some very annoying forms of adware. Not much tweaking can be done, but at least inexperienced users won’t have any reason to be confused by complicated options. Since all system optimization tools tend to miss out a few junk files and programs in their scans, using more of them during your scheduled maintenance is recommended and AdwCleaner makes a good addition to that group.