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by Ray Carlson

Q. Something called SweetPacks keeps appearing on my computer. What is it and how do I get rid of it?

A. When someone downloads software, some companies include additional programs you did not request. SweetPacks is an example. Unwanted software can also be included in fake update files like those for Adobe Flash. SweetPacks sets itself up as the primary search engine and finds various ways to insert advertising. To avoid this problem, when you download software look for an option that tells you what is included and only accept what you want. In addition, use a firewall to monitor what is being downloaded and click no if the firewall says an unrequested program is about to be added.

If you accidentally download an unwanted program, use a free uninstaller like RevoUninstaller, IOBit Uninstaller or Advanced Uninstaller Pro to remove it. Some of these unwanted programs find ways to hide, and these uninstallers will usually hunt out and eliminate these hidden components. RevoUninstaller, for example, will list all the programs it finds on your computer. Point at any you do not recognize and click the right mouse button. Select Google search to learn what that program does and if it is worthwhile.

If you find one you do not want, click it and then click uninstall at the top of the page. It will give you four options. Option 3 is usually recommended since it does an extensive scan looking for related program or extra program components. Option 4 is the slowest since it does a complete scan for all program components and is recommended if the program reappears after using Option 3.

More information on these uninstallers can be found at Cnet or Softpedia. Type the program names mentioned above on the search line. If you have questions, the Prescott Computer Society will celebrate its 25th anniversary on November 16th with a guest speaker who will talk about avoiding and getting rid of viruses and other unwanted or dangerous programs.

Published: Courier 10/20/13 - Page 3C