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How to Remove PUPs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Unwanted Programs

A Potentially Unwanted Program, commonly known as a PUP, is an acronym and abbreviation used in computer security programs to identify programs that may be unwanted or unnecessary. These programs are often referred to as grayware, riskware, offerware, or bloatware, and can fall into categories such as adware, browser hijacker, dialer, remote tool, scareware, and spyware.

what is a PUP

PUPs are not necessarily classified as malware or computer viruses, but they can still pose a security risk to users by allowing access to personal information and installing other potentially harmful programs. Antivirus and antimalware software can detect PUPs during scans, with detection names such as Optional.PUP, PUP.Spyware, Adware.PUP, and more.

Are PUPs dangerous?

Potentially Unwanted Programs are not classified as dangerous in the same way that malware or computer viruses are. However, PUPs can still pose a security risk to computer users by allowing access to personal information, installing other potentially harmful programs, modifying browser settings, or displaying unwanted ads.

While some PUPs may be harmless and simply unwanted, others can be harmful and compromise the security of your computer. PUPs can also indicate the presence of other malware, adware, spyware, or malicious programs that are bundled with them.

Therefore, it is important to have effective antivirus and antimalware software installed on your computer and to be cautious when downloading and installing software from the internet to avoid PUPs.

  1. PUPs can compromise your computer’s security by collecting personal information or installing other harmful software without your knowledge or consent.
  2. PUPs can slow down your computer’s performance by displaying unwanted ads, causing browser redirects, or consuming system resources.
  3. Some PUPs can modify your browser settings, such as the homepage or search engine, without your permission.
  4. PUPs can be difficult to remove, as they may leave behind residual files or reinstall themselves after removal.

To avoid these risks, it’s recommended to have effective antivirus and antimalware software installed on your computer and to be cautious when downloading and installing software from the internet.

How PUPs get installed

Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) can get on your computer through various means. One of the most common ways is by bundling with other software that you download from the internet. Sometimes, when you download and install a program, additional programs or toolbars may also be included in the installation package. These additional programs are often PUPs and can be installed on your computer without your knowledge or consent.

PUPs can also get on your computer through email attachments, malicious websites, and social media. Some PUPs are disguised as legitimate software updates or system tools and can be difficult to detect. Once installed, PUPs can cause a range of issues such as slowing down your computer, displaying unwanted ads, and collecting personal information.

To avoid PUPs, it is important to be cautious when downloading and installing software from the internet. It is recommended to only download software from trusted sources and to read the terms and conditions before installing any software. Additionally, users should be mindful of the software packages they choose to install and should always select custom installation to review and deselect any additional programs that may be bundled with the software.

How to Remove PUPs

Here’s a guide on how to remove PUPs, malware, and viruses with Malwarebytes:

  1. Download Malwarebytes by visiting their website and downloading the correct software. Follow the on-screen instructions to install it on your computer.
  2. Open Malwarebytes and click on the “Scan” tab.
  3. Click “Check for Updates” to make sure the program is up to date.
  4. Click “Scan Now” to start the scan.
  5. Malwarebytes will scan your computer for malware and other harmful software.
  6. Once the scan is complete, a list of detected items will be displayed.
  7. Review the list and select the items you want to remove.
  8. Click “Quarantine Selected” to remove the detected malware.
  9. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the removal process.
  10. Finally, restart your computer to ensure that all changes take effect.

After completing these steps, your computer should now be free of potentially unwanted programs. Malwarebytes is a reliable and effective tool for detecting and removing malicious software from your computer. By running regular scans with Malwarebytes, you can help keep your computer safe and secure. Remember to keep your antivirus software up to date and use cautious when downloading software from the internet.

Lead Editor

Sean is a tech author and engineer with over 20 years of experience in cybersecurity, privacy, malware, Google Analytics, online marketing, and other topics. He is featured in several publications.

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1 Comment

  • What I want to know is how I MYSELF can LOCATE ALL PUPS and PUMS on my PC computer and then how I MYSELF can DELETE ALL PUPS and PUMS from my PC computer.
    All I seem to be getting in my online search is to get someone elses software to do this, which in my mind means, they are probably in fact NOT LOCATING AND DELETING THEM ALL and may even be ADDING THEIR OWN PUPS and PUMS to my PC computer.

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