FAQ

How does Ad-Aware Web Companion protect me?

Powered by Lavasoft Malware URL Blocker technology, Ad-Aware Web Companion proactively protects you against malicious websites by identifying the bad guys before you ever visit them. When you visit a website that contains malware, Ad-Aware Web Companion will instantly alert you of the threat and block the malicious website.

What does Ad-Aware Web Companion protect me from?

Ad-Aware Web Companion protects you from malicious website or fraudulent websites that deliver malware infections, phishing attacks, exploits, malicious or unauthorized redirections and browser hijacks.

How do I know if I'm visiting a malicious site?

When Ad-Aware Web Companion is running, you are protected against malicious websites. If you visit a malicious website, Ad-Aware Web Companion will instantly notify you with a warning page. From this page, you can choose to continue to the site or return back to safety.

When you visit a malicious website, Ad-Aware Web Companion alerts you with a warning page.

Home page settings don't work. What should I do?

While the Web Protection function is available for every web browser, you can only change the default home page of browsers currently supported by Ad-Aware Web Companion, which are Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. If you are using Google Chrome, you can click on the 'Enable' option in the greyed-out 'Browser Homepage' section of the Web Companion main menu to be taken to the one-click switch webpage that will help you switch to a supported browser in a hassle-free way.

If you are already using either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox and are still experiencing problems with the Homepage settings, please send us a message from within the Web Companion program, along with a snapshot of your system info. To learn how to do that, click here.

Search settings don't work. What should I do?

While the Web Protection function is available for every web browser, you can only change the default search engine of browsers currently supported by Ad-Aware Web Companion, which are Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. If you are using Google Chrome, you can click on the 'Enable' option in the greyed-out 'Default Search Engine' section of the Web Companion main menu to be taken to the one-click switch webpage that will help you switch to a supported browser in a hassle-free way.

If you are already using either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox and are still experiencing problems with the Default Search Engine settings, please send us a message from within the Web Companion program, along with a snapshot of your system info. To learn how to do that, click here.

Is Ad-Aware Web Companion compatible with other antivirus products?

Yes. Because Ad-Aware Web Companion is not an antivirus product, it is compatible with all other antiviruses on the market.

Is Ad-Aware Web Companion compatible with other antivirus products?

Yes. Because Ad-Aware Web Companion is not an antivirus product, it is compatible with all other antiviruses on the market.

Do I still need an antivirus if I use Ad-Aware Web Companion?

Even if Ad-Aware Web Companion protects you from visiting dangerous sites, it does not replace an antivirus. Ad-Aware Web Companion provides protection during your web experience, it does not monitor background processes nor does it analyze files on your computer or external drives.

This is why it is strongly recommended to always use an antivirus along with Ad-Aware Web Companion.

To download our Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+, click here.

What are Ad-Aware Web Companion system requirements?

You may install the Ad-Aware Web Companion only on computers running the following operating systems:

- Windows XP with Service Pack 3 (32-bit) (*not recommended)
- Windows Vista with Service Pack 2 (32- & 64-bit)
- Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 (32- & 64-bit)
- Windows 8, 8.1 (32- & 64-bit)

Note. 4.5 or higher version of Microsoft Windows Installer is required for installation of Ad-Aware Web Companion.

* Your computer must meet the following system requirements in order to run the application effectively.
Minimum system requirements:
- 1.8 GB available free hard disk space (at least 800 MB on the system drive)
- 800 MHz processor
- 1 GB of memory (RAM)

Recommended system requirements:
- 2.8 GB available free hard disk space (at least 800 MB on the system drive)
- Intel CORE Duo (1.66 GHz) or equivalent processor
- Memory (RAM): 1 GB for Windows XP and 1.5 GB for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8

What browsers does Ad-Aware Web Companion support?

- Microsoft Internet Explorer
- Mozilla Firefox

Other browsers can still benefit from the Malicious URL Web Protection, but unfortunately cannot be protected from homepage and/or search hijacking.

I did not ask to Install Web Companion. How did it get on my PC?

Web Companion is most commonly distributed within another software product that you or someone who uses your PC has elected to install. This is known as "bundled software distribution" and is a practice widely used by software makers worldwide to make money while delivering free software to their end-users. Most software vendors simply don't make enough money through paid licensing to continue their operations.

Lavasoft goes to great lengths to associate itself with only reputable software vendors, and also to ensure that the consent screen is clear and accurate. Despite these efforts, many users will inadvertently (due to no fault of their own) accept to install Web Companion and wonder how it ended up on their PC. Web Companion exists to protect users from this exact outcome, so we make sure the uninstallation process is as simple as possible and that any modifications of the configuration of the user's PC are simple to revert.

The installation/update seems to be stuck, and is not progressing. What should I do?

Web Companion uses Microsoft's MSI technology to install software on Windows PCs. One of the prerequisites for installing a product via MSI is that there is no other program currently being installed or uninstalled. It can often happen that another program is silently installing or uninstalling itself (e.g. Windows Updates) or that the locking system to protect against concurrent installs is stuck. In either case, Web Companion's installer will appear to hang. When this happens, we recommend rebooting the PC to complete any ongoing installations and reset the state of the installation locking mechanism, and try again.

Web Companion did not uninstall the program that sets my homepage and search. What should I do?

Web Companion is effective at detecting the presence of a number of unwanted products that alter your search or homepage settings, and prompts you to remove the offending program. This process identifies and invokes the uninstaller at which point the user must follow the instructions presented by the program. These uninstallers intentionally ask you to select the components to uninstall. Failure to do so, does not uninstall the product. This is referred to as "opt-in" uninstallation, and is considered a somewhat malicious practice.

The Web Companion team is hard at work to resolve these problems using a number of mechanisms (which we cannot divulge since this would tip off the malware makers). Future versions of Web Companion will make this process smoother. In the interim, we recommend:
* Carefully read each uninstallation screen and follow instructions.
* Verify the installed browser extensions and remove any that are not recognized. Note: For Chrome, this can only be done within the browser, and not by an external program.

If that doesn't work, we recommend reporting the problem to Lavasoft by sending us your feedback from within the Web Companion program via "Report a problem" and a snapshot of your system information (an option which will be clearly presented to you upon submission). For steps on how to do this, click here.

Why does Web Companion keep telling me that my search engine or homepage has been modified?

Web Companion is periodically checking for changes to your homepage and search engine across all your installed browsers. It notifies you when it detects a difference between those settings and what is configured in Web Companion, and prompts you to accept the change or revert to what is set in Web Companion. It will do this 3 times before giving up.

If you accept the change, Web Companion's settings will be set accordingly. If you revert, Web Companion will attempt to change your browser's settings to what you have requested in the Web Companion UI. This action might fail for one of several reasons (eliciting another cycle of prompts):
* Web Companion does not detect a specific program installed on your PC that is changing your browser settings. New programs (and versions) are released all the time, so this can be quite common.
* Web Companion has detected the offending program, but the uninstallation process was unsuccessful. The program will still be present and will block changes to the settings.

The browser has recently implemented additional security measures to prevent external programs from tampering with the settings. These measures affect both malware and security programs such as Web Companion.

In all cases, we recommend that you report the situation to Lavasoft by sending us a snapshot of your system info (via the Web Companion UI) so that we can analyze the system and create a solution to the problem. Once resolved in house, we would roll it out to our user base in a subsequent product release or malware definition update.

Lavasoft is currently working on techniques to make this process stronger and easier to follow.

Why doesn't Web Companion work with Chrome? The options in the Web Companion UI are disabled.

As of Chrome 34, Google has independently decided to prevent any program from changing the homepage and search settings. This unfortunately prevents security products like Web Companion from performing its function, namely protecting the user and offering a simple/unified user experience across all major browsers.

The Web Companion team is currently working on a solution that does not interfere with the Chrome application or process in a malicious or unsupported way. In the interim, Lavasoft recommends using Microsoft Internet Explorer which offers significantly better security and performance than Google Chrome. Alternatively, users can visit Google's support page to learn how to set the homepage and search in Chrome:
https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95314?hl=en

Does Web Companion work with Opera, Safari, Yandex, etc?

Web Companion is only compatible with Internet Explorer and Firefox. The Web Companion team is currently working on a solution that will be independent of the browser application, at which point support for virtually all versions of all browsers will be provided.

After installing Web Companion, my applications can't access the internet. Why?

Web Companion installs proprietary security technology that can sometimes interfere with running programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Skype, or your web browser, preventing them from accessing the internet to perform their function.

The underlying technology is complex, and every system is different due to the variety of configurations and programs installed. It only takes a bug in one running program to elicit this issue.

Fortunately, the workaround in most cases is simply to restart all running applications or restart the PC.

My antivirus program is flagging Web Companion as malware (or a virus). Why?

Antivirus programs use a combination of sophisticated signatures and heuristics to assess whether or not a file is safe. Large teams of malware engineers build and update these detection databases and algorithms worldwide. The task is so daunting that competing antivirus vendors will share their detection databases with each other to increase protection.

If a file is deemed a risk, it's "flagged" to the user and potentially removed automatically. If your antivirus has flagged one or more of Web Companion's files, one of the following is likely the cause:
* False positive detection - The antivirus has accidentally (and incorrectly) flagged Web Companion. This often happens when one of Web Companion's file signatures accidentally matches another file that has been flagged.
* Behavioural detection - The antivirus has detected a behaviour of Web Companion that it deems unsafe. Security products (like Web Companion) and malware often use similar techniques, so this can be a common occurrence.
* Policy detection - Some antivirus products will automatically flag any file provided by a specific company (which it can do easily from the code signing certificate used to identify executable files). Sometimes this policy is merited, while other times it's used as a competitive tactic.

In all cases, the correct course of action is to notify Lavasoft of the incident, and we will press to have the flag removed as quickly as possible. (Lavasoft routinely monitors flags on its own products, but a few get through on occasion.)