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Adware is short for advertising-supported software. Programs displaying advertising material fall under this category. Adware applications often automatically open a new window containing advertisements in an internet browser or change the browser’s home page. Adware is frequently bundled with freeware programs, allowing their creators to cover the development costs of their (usually useful) applications.

Adware itself is not dangerous—users will only be bothered by advertisements. Its danger lies in adware's ability to perform tracking functions (as spyware does).

Pay specific attention to the installation program if you use a freeware product. The installer will notify you of the installation of an extra adware program. Often, you will be allowed to cancel it and install the program without adware.

Some programs will not install without adware, or their functionality will be limited. This means that adware may often access the system in a “legal” way because users have agreed to it. In this case, it is better to be safe than sorry. If a file is detected as adware on your computer, it is advisable to delete it because it is highly likely to contain malicious code.