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Ad-Aware Configuration Preferences Explained

Configure Ad-Aware Properly

The Ad Aware configuration button looks exactly like the one displayed here.

Upon initially clicking the button on the top right of the Ad Aware window, it will automatically bring up the window shown below with the general settings tab already opened. Here you can modify the following settings.

  • Automatically save log file - This creates a log file so the program can be troubleshooted if need be
  • Automatically quarantine objects prior to removal - Safely store objects in an outer area before they are removed. This ensures that removing the object from the Windows domain will not affect the performance of Windows
  • Safe Mode (always request confirmation) - Operation in Safe Mode
  • Prompt to update outdated definitions - Here you can set the number of days that it will give wait before prompting you with new updates
  • Write log files to - This is the section where you can choose where the log file is written to
  • Using definitions file - This is the section where you can choose the location of the definition file

The Scanning button in this section has a few more options that you can alter. Here you can modify the following settings.

  • Scan within archives - You can scan within compressed files such as .zip file
  • Skip non-executable files- Filenames with .exe as a file extension tend to be the majority of files that spyware hides in and controls. While the .exe stands for executable, meaning let's execute a series of commands. Within approved programs, there is absolutely no harm in using these files. However spyware uses this for malicious reasons. In essences skipping all the non-exe files, will reduce the amount of time scanning
  • Skip files larger than ____ Kb - Skip certain files based on their potential size. This option is not recommended at all.
  • Scan active processes - Scan current objects in memory to check if they are infected with malicious spyware
  • Scan Registry - The windows Registry is the tool that controls windows stable operation, having unauthorized registry keys is often a sign of spyware. Recommended that this option be checked off
  • Deep scan registry - Scanning deep within the registry to ensure that there aren't malicious keys hiding within it.
  • Scan my IE favorites for banned URL's - This means scanning the favorites folder for Internet Explorer for banned web sites. Banned web sites are web site that leave spyware on your computer and are known for it. There is a general list made up and distributed as part of the updates
  • Scan my Hosts file - File pertaining to the Internet activity that PC logs everyday.

Within the Advanced button, one can find another set of settings to manipulate. Here you can modify the following settings.

  • Move deleted files to Recycle Bin - You want deleted files removed from your computer, not hiding in your recycle bin where you may forget to delete them later.
  • Add "Scan with Ad Aware" to Explorer - You can add that term to the right click of your windows PC. This enables you to scan objects by simply right-clicking on them and selecting "Scan with Ad Aware".
  • Include additional object information - Provide extra details with regards to the objects found while scanning.
  • Include negligible objects information - Provide extra details with regards to the negligible objects found.
  • Include environment information - Will add system related as well as Ad-Aware SE specific environment information to the log file
  • Don't log streams smaller than "file size here" Bytes: Streams smaller than the specified file size will not be logged.
  • Don't log ADS with the following names: Alternate Data Streams (ADS) with the specified names will not be logged. Values should be comma separated with no space following.

The Startup Settings button takes you to a section where you can edit the settings upon starting the computer. Here you can modify the following settings.

  • No automated scanning - No automated scanning will be performed. This works independently of the command line parameters
  • Perform smart system scan - A smart system scan will be performed on Windows startup if the proper start up actions are selected
  • Perform full system scan - A full system scan will be run on Windows startup if the proper start up actions are selected
  • Use custom scan settings - A custom scan will be run on Windows startup if the proper startup actions are selected
  • Customize - Takes you to the Scan settings screen where you can customize the scan settings
  • Clean automatically - If a scan is chosen to be performed above then any objects found will be removed without asking for user confirmation
  • Close Ad-Aware after startup scan - Once the scan has finished and any detected objects have been handled Ad-Aware SE will shut down automatically
  • Use delayed loading - This setting is useful when Ad-Aware SE is set to automatically check for definition file updates and scan on startup. To check for updates your computer must be connected to the Internet. On Windows startup it may take a few seconds for your computer to connect to the Internet, depending on what kind of connection you have. Use this delay option to delay the automatic update and scan for 15 seconds.
  • Look for updated definitions on Ad-Aware startup - Automatically checks for updated definition files. If an updated file is available it is automatically downloaded to your computer.

The Default settings button takes you to a section where you can edit the default program settings. Here you can modify the following settings.

  • Default homepage - Ad-Aware SE uses the defined homepage when recovering from a browser hijack
  • Default Search Engine - Ad-Aware SE uses the defined search engine when recovering from a browser hijack
  • Read current settings from system - Changes the default homepage and default search engine entries above to the current settings on your computer. This option is an easy way for you to reset your defaults without having to enter the paths manually
  • RegHance Executable - Use the browse feature to locate the folder where the RegHance.exe file is installed. Note! RegHance is an advanced registry editor made by Lavasoft and is a replacement solution for the native registry editor that ships with Microsoft's Windows Operating Systems. It is not included in Ad-Aware SE, but can be purchased from Lavasoft's web site. For more information on purchasing please view our shopping section. The RegHance installer IS however included in the Ad-Aware SE Plus + RegHance and Ad-Aware SE Professional + RegHance bundles

The Interface settings button takes you to a section where you can edit the program interface settings. Here you can modify the following settings.

  • Language File - Select your preferred language by locating the flag that corresponds to your country. The interface of Ad-Aware SE will refresh in your chosen language once you click "Proceed". You must install the language pack from Lavasoft in order to change the language from those included in the installation.
  • Select Skin - Click in the field to select the skin of your choice. The interface of Ad-Aware will change to reflect the look of that interface once you click "Proceed". For more information see the Changing Ad-Aware SE's skin chapter.
  • Auto Apply - Changes the appearance of Ad-Aware immediately when a new skin is selected. If Auto apply is not selected you must click the "Proceed" button to change the appearance. If Auto apply IS activated, Ad-Aware SE will close and then reopen automatically with the new skin applied
  • Play this Wave file if Targets are found - Select a wave-file that will be played when content is detected. Any file with a .wav extension can be used.

Within the Tweak Settings button there are several different options that you can check off. Each has their own respective category. The first section we highlight is the "scanning engine".

  • Unload recognized processes & modules during scan - This allows Ad-Aware SE to close any currently running process or module that is recognized by Ad-Aware SE's definitions. If this setting is disabled, the recognized process or module will continue to run during the remainder of the scan. Deactivation of this option does not imply that Ad-Aware SE will not be able to remove the executable if selected for removal by the user, just that removal will happen more efficiently if the process has already been stopped.
  • Obtain command line of scanned processes - Ad-Aware SE can determine what command line instructions (including any command line parameters) that were used to start a process. If enabled, this option lists this information in the scan log. If disabled, Ad-Aware SE lists the location of the process executable only.
  • Run scan as background process (Low CPU usage) - Forces Ad-Aware SE to run in the background with a lower priority level. This allows for other programs running concurrently with Ad-Aware SE to obtain more processor time.
  • Ignore spanned files when scanning cab archives - Ad-Aware SE skips CAB files which are spanned. Spanned CABs are where several CAB files make up a single CAB archive
  • Scan registry for all users instead of current user only - Enabling this option will allow Ad-Aware SE to scan the registry sections for the all users', user-specific registry information on the system. If this option is disabled, Ad-Aware SE will scan the currently logged on user's user-specific registry information. In other words, this option will allow you to scan multiple user accounts on a single system rather than having to scan within each user profile separately
  • Use permanent archive caching - Ad-Aware SE builds a checksum for each archive after scanning it as long as it does not contain any detected objects. During the next scan, it will compare the archive's current checksum against the stored checksum, and only decompress to scan within it again if it has been changed. The checksum changes if the file's contents change in some way. Stored checksums are erased after updating the definitions file to ensure they are scanned against the new definitions.

Within the Tweak Settings button there are several different options that you can check off. Each has their own respective category. The second section we highlight is the "cleaning engine".

  • Automatically check all objects in results lists - Ad-Aware SE will automatically check all items in the results list.
  • Always try to unload modules before deletion - Ad-Aware SE will try to unload running process modules that match Ad-Aware SE's definitions.
  • Prior to deletion, unloading Explorer and IE if necessary - Windows Explorer, and if necessary Internet Explorer can be unloaded during the removal process. In many cases, items that would normally require a system restart to remove can be removed by Ad-Aware SE without a restart.
  • Let Windows remove files in use at next reboot - If a file cannot be removed without a restart, enabling this option will cause Ad-Aware SE to request that the files be removed during the next system restart. If approved, Ad-Aware SE will instruct Windows to remove these files during the restart, and then perform a reboot scan to ensure their removal.
  • Delete quarantined objects after restoring - After the objects in a quarantine file are restored, the quarantine file is deleted. If disabled, the quarantine file will remain on the system even after restoring its contents.
  • Suppress warning if objects cannot be removed - Messages that certain objects cannot be removed will be suppressed. If the "Let Windows remove files in use at next reboot" option is enabled, it will automatically do so.
  • Suppress progress bar during list operations - Disables showing the progress bar during the quarantine and/or deletion process
  • Disable manual quarantine if auto-quarantine is selected - If the auto-quarantine option is enabled, this option will disable the ability to manually create a quarantine archive.

Within the Tweak Settings button there are several different options that you can check off. Each has their own respective category. The third section we highlight is the "Ad-Watch".

  • Deactivate Ad-Watch during Ad-Aware scans - Ad-Watch will be deactivated while Ad-Aware SE scans your system.
  • Log Ad-Aware events - Ad-Aware SE events are listed in the Ad-Watch Event log.
  • Block pop-ups aggressively - Ad-Watch blocks pop-ups based on browser window characteristics. It does not rely on sites.txt to determine what to block.
  • Load Ad-Watch minimized - Ad-Watch will load to the system tray rather than opening when activated.
  • Hide Ad-Watch tray icon - When Ad-Watch is activated the tray icon will not be displayed on your desk top. To make the icon reappear, simply open Ad-Aware SE and deactivate this option. Once the setting has been saved (by clicking the proceed button) the Ad-Watch tray icon will be visible.

Within the Tweak Settings button there are several different options that you can check off. Each has their own respective category. The fourth section we highlight is the "Safety Settings".

  • Automatically select problematic objects in results lists - Ad-Aware SE will automatically select listings which, if not selected, could lead to system instability if other objects are removed and the items appearing in bold are not.
  • Reanalyze result after scanning before displaying result list - After the scan completes, Ad-Aware SE will reanalyze its findings before presenting them.
  • Write-protect system files after repair (Hosts file, etc.) - Ad-Aware SE will write-protect certain system files after repairing them, such as the Hosts file.

Within the Tweak Settings button there are several different options that you can check off. Each has their own respective category. The fifth section we highlight is the "Log files".

  • Include info about ignored objects in PC, if detected in scan - Ad-Aware SE will list information about detected objects which are in the ignore list in the scan log file.
  • Include basic Ad-Aware settings in PC - Includes basic settings information in the scan log file.
  • Include additional Ad-Aware settings in PC - Includes additional settings information in the scan log file.
  • Include used command line parameters in PC - Includes any command line parameters used to launch Ad-Aware SE in the scan log file
  • Include computer and username in PC - Include the computer's name and the username currently logged on in the scan log file
  • Include reference summary in PC - Includes a summary of the references detected during the scan and their TAC rating.
  • Create log file for removal operations - Creates a log file for the items removed rather than just detected.
  • Include module list in PC - Includes the loaded modules for each process in the log file.
  • Include Alternate Data Stream details in PC - Includes information on any alternate data streams detected during the scan in the log file.

Within the Tweak Settings button there are several different options that you can check off. Each has their own respective category. The Sixth section we highlight is the "User Interface".

  • Show splash screen - Ad-Aware SE will show its initialization screen during program startup.
  • Remember window positions - Ad-Aware SE will remember where it was the last time it was opened.
  • Snap windows to desktop borders - Forces the Ad-Aware SE interface to remain on the desk top. This will prevent the interface from disappearing off the edge if moved too far to the left, right, top, or bottom of the visible work area.
  • Limit drive selection to fixed drives - Ad-Aware SE will only allow fixed hard drives to be selected for scanning.
  • Show grid lines in item lists - Grid lines will appear in the item lists.
  • Show detail tool tips in item lists - Ad-Aware SE will display detailed information when you move your mouse over items in the Ignore, quarantine, and results screens

Within the Tweak Settings button there are several different options that you can check off. Each has their own respective category. The final sections we highlight are the "Web Update Settings" and "Misc Settings".

Setting descriptions for "Web Update Settings"

  • Suppress WebUpdate confirmation dialogs - WebUpdate confirmation dialogs will not be shown.
  • Backup current definitions file before updating - Ad-Aware SE will make a backup of the currently loaded definitions file prior to downloading and installing an update.
  • Create and save WebUpdate log file - Ad-Aware SE logs and saves WebUpdate information in a separate log file. This is useful for trouble shooting update problems.

Setting descriptions for "Misc Settings"

  • Dump details about unhandled exceptions to disk - If an exception occurs that cannot be handled, Ad-Aware SE will append to (or create) a special log file for later trouble shooting and/or product support.
  • Play sound at scan completion if scan locates critical objects - Ad-Aware SE plays a sound at the end of a scan if any critical objects were detected.

Back to Ad-Aware Main Page

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