Ad-Aware 6: Reference Guide

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Thread Starter
Aug 18, 2003
Ad-Aware 6, Build 181
Complete Reference Guide
By Winchester73

Please print these instructions to make it easier to follow during set-up and use.

About Ad-Aware 6
Ad-Aware 6 is a powerful tool that is used to detect and give the user the ability to quarantine and safely remove the offending objects that are targeted.
More about Ad-Aware below these instructions for use.

Step 1- Download and Install Ad-Aware 6
Please download your copy of the free Ad-Aware 6 Personal Build 181 from here:
If you have ever had Ad-Aware on your computer before, please first uninstall it via Add\Remove Programs before installing the new version. Install A-A after closing as many running programs as possible.

Step 2- Updating the Ad-Aware reference file
You will need to run the Web-update Feature before each scan to make sure you have the current reference file installed. It is imperative that you always have the current Build and Reference File in use to ensure the proper detection and removal of objects.
On the start screen:
Click on the "Check for updates now" hotlink. (The globe at the upper right also opens the web-update feature)
Click "Connect".
If you see that a new reference file is available, click "OK", and it will download and install automatically.
Click "Finish".

If you have a Proxy, you will need to configure the Web-update feature. Click on "Configure", check the "Use HTTP Proxy" option, and enter the information.
[NOTE: If you need to enter a username\password for your Proxy, you will have to manually update your Reference File]
Connect to the Internet. Click on "Connect", then "Finish" after the update is completed.

Step 3- Manually updating the reference file
If you need to update your reference file manually, you can download the file from:
Unzip the folder, and place the file inside your Ad-Aware 6 folder.
Then choose "OK" when asked to over-write it.
If you would like a backup of the previous reference file, simply re-name it "Reflist.ref.old" before moving the new one in.

Step 4- Configuring Ad-Aware 6 for your first scan
[NOTE: Ad-Aware 6 has two scanning options: SmartScan and Custom. As explained more fully below, SmartScan is faster, but also less comprehensive. While SmartScan is satisfactory for routine use, it is HIGHLY recommended that your FIRST scan with A-A be a Custom scan. After a thorough cleaning, use the capabilities within SmartScan for everyday use. Think of SmartScan as your regular oil change, whereas the Custom Scan is the 30,000 mile checkup.]

Ad-Aware 6 comes pre-configured with default options that are already ON (green check-mark) ... do not change them. The following are changes that you will need to make to prepare the "Full" custom scan that is recommended for the first look into your computer (instead of a red "x", you will make them a green "check-mark")
[NOTE: any options that are greyed out are only available for users of the paid Plus or Professional versions of A-A]

Launch the program, and click on the Gear at the top of the start screen to access the preferences/setting window.
Click the "Scanning" button.
Under Drives & Folders, select "Scan within Archives".
Click "Click here to select Drives + folders" and select your installed hard drives.
Under Memory & Registry, select all options.
Click the "Advanced" button.
Under "Log-file detail", select all options.
Click the "Tweaks" button.
Under "Scanning Engine", select the following:
"Include additional Ad-aware settings in logfile" and "Unload recognized processes during scanning."
Under "Cleaning Engine", select the following:
"Automatically try to unregister objects prior to deletion" and
"Let Windows remove files in use after reboot."
Click on 'Proceed' to save these Preferences.

When you are finished, you will be using the Custom Scan with Memory and Both registry scans ON. Please make sure that you activate IN-DEPTH scanning before you proceed.

NOTE: For the Full Scan setup instructions for users with the paid Plus or Professional versions, or if you have previously changed your settings in the Personal version, see this thread:

Step 5- Scanning
From the start screen, click on the "Scan now" button.
On the next screen, select "Use custom scanning options". [You would change this to SmartScan in the future]
Click on "Next" to begin the A-A scan.

---------- Note: Important decision -----------

If you are unsure about what to remove, you will need to post your logfile for someone to evaluate and assist you in the removal

Posting your Logfile
When the scan is complete, click "Show Log", then hi-lite all of the text in the logfile with your mouse. On your keyboard, press Ctrl + C, which will copy the text to your clipboard. Right click "Paste" in your thread.

Or, you can navigate to your Ad-aware 6 folder in Windows Explorer: C:\Program Files\Lavasoft\Ad-Aware 6\Logs
Open this folder and find the correct logfile. The logfiles will be named "Ad-Aware-log ##-##-##.txt (the #'s will be the date of the scan, shown in the European format). Right click, choose "Select all", then right click and choose "Copy". Right click and select "Paste" in your thread.

Step 6- Quarantine and Removal of Detected Objects
Quarantine: Ad-Aware includes a Quarantine feature, which can back up detected objects before they are removed. This can prove useful in the event a program doesn't work after certain detected objects are removed ... you can restore the detected objects, much like an anti-virus quarantine. The program is pre-configured to automatically quarantine the selected objects before removal, so you do not need to click on the 'Quarantine' button. Make a Quarantine only if you do not have the Auto-Quarantine option ON.

From the "Scan complete" window ...
Click on "Next".
This will take you to the "Results" window ... this is where you will need to mark the objects that you wish to remove. There are many options available with a right-click.
It is recommended (as stated above) to remove all of the objects unless you wish to ignore some (see below for instructions on the ignore list).
To remove everything, right click in the Results List and click "Select all objects".
DO NOT click the 'Quarantine' button, this is automatically done as
explained above.
Click "Next" to remove the chosen objects.
Click "OK".
The Quarantine will be made and the objects will then be removed.

[Please Note: After removing a Browser Hijacker, Ad-aware 6 will set your Start Page to "Blank", so you may need to set the Start and Search pages in your Browser manually back to your preferred one. The reason for this is that the hijack has changed the page, and since Ad-aware 6 does not know what it was set to before the hijack, it resets it to a blank page. If you do not see any differences, then disregard this note.]

Ignore List
Always do the Ignore List items first, before removing anything.
If you wish to ignore some of the detected objects:
From the same "Results" window that lists the detected items, select any items from the list that you want to "Ignore".
Right click in the scan results window and select "Add selection to
Click "OK".
Then continue with the removal process.

Subsequent Scanning with Ad-Aware 6
While a full custom scan is recommended for your first "cleaning", you can run the SmartScan after that. SmartScan is a set of preset scanning options.
Ad-Aware comes with pre-defined settings that most users will find sufficient for their scanning needs. [Of course, should a user require (or want) more or less than defined here, they can always perform a custom scan]
SmartScan uses these scanning options: Scan Memory, Scan Registry, Deep Scan Registry, System Folder, Cookies, and then the conditional scans based on what's located.

From the start screen, click on the "Scan now" button.
On the next screen, select "Perform smart system-scan".
Click on "Next" to begin the A-A scan.
Follow the same quarantine and removal instructions as above. The SmartScan option is obviously faster than the full custom scan.

If you used any other Anti-Trackware application to remove detected content immediately prior to running a scan with Ad-aware 6, you will need to perform a Custom Full System scan to ensure that the objects have all been successfully removed. Do not use the SmartScan option in this case. Also, it is recommended that you re-boot your computer between running the applications.

Spybot detection by Ad-Aware:
The reason that Ad-Aware 6 will detect SpyBot's backups is that the backups are simply relocated into a password protected zipped archive by design. A-A will detect any and all known objects that are in it's database if they are in your system ... even if they are archived (this includes System Restore, etc.). A-A is not targeting SB's archives, it is finding the objects that are contained in them. This is what the program is designed to do, find all instances of the objects in it's database no matter where they are located. This is not anything to worry about. You can add them to your A-A Ignore List, or use selective scanning to not scan SpyBot's backup folder.

Submissions of new files for evaluation
There will be occasions when newly created or updated objects come out and can cause problems before they have been included in new Ad-Aware reference files. These objects of course will not be detected and need to be submitted for evaluation. In those cases it is appreciated if you the user would contribute to the fight against this kind of activity by submitting those newly found files. There is a File Submission Tool (complete with instructions) to upload these files with a brief description here:

More About Ad-Awares capabilities.
The user also has the choice to ignore the objects they choose to keep (as some programs will not run without them). It might be sensible to look into alternative programs that are "clean" and will perform the same function, then eliminate everything found in the scan, as those objects could quite possibly be causing the problems you are experiencing. The program will detect Data-Mining and TrackWare objects, Malicious Cookies, BHO's and Dialers, as well as other offending objects that are out there.

A-A does not detect MRU's (Most Recently Used) ... they are redundant and do not present a threat to the user's privacy. There are specialized utilities out there that deal with MRU's if the user chooses not to keep that info on their computers. A lot of people like the convenience that they represent.

As always, the objects that are listed in the A-A logfile are optional to keep (ignore), or remove. It is up to the individual user to make the decision of what is loaded and running on their computers.

Useful Links:
Lavasoft KnowledgeBase:
Lavasoft FAQ's:
Detailed Removal Instructions:
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