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Any software that covertly gathers information about a user while he/she navigates the Internet and transmits the information to an individual or company that uses it for marketing or other purposes.

Information is sent via the Internet to a server somewhere, normally as a hidden side effect of using a program. Gathering this information may benefit the user indirectly, e.g. by helping to improve the software he is using. It may be collected for advertising purposes or, worst of all, to steal security information such as passwords to online accounts or credit card details.

Spyware may be installed along with other software or as the result of a virus infection. There are many tools available to locate and remove various forms of Spyware from a computer.

Some HTTP cookies could be considered as Spyware as their use is generally not made explicit to users. It is however possible to disallow them, either totally or individually, and some are actually useful, e.g. recording the fact that a user has logged in.

(Source: The Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing


The following are MY recommendations based on years of experience and what has worked best for me. I am sure that there are other great programs out there, but these are the ones that I use and would recommend. To many programs trying to do the same things will only give you headaches.

SpyBot Search & Destroy:

Microsoft AntiSpyware, now Windows Defender:

Trend Micro Antivirus with Spyware protection: