Note that many websites have their own advertising, unrelated to adware.
DownloadWare is a process that runs on Windows startup. If a network connection is available it will connect to its servers, which can direct it to download and install software from advertisers.
It may be installed through an ActiveX control called ActiveInstall, which decodes and runs a built-in executable and then (tries to) remove itself. This executable can include DownloadWare and other bundled software - often premium-rate diallers from Movie Networks, Popcorn.net, MVPNetworks or Real-Tens [sic].
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This program is bundled with NetworkEssentials.
There is an Add/Remove Programs entry, for 'DownloadWare', but it may sometimes not work
As well as removing DownloadWare you should check your system for other things it has installed and get rid of them too. This may include:
Network Essentials (or its variant 'MediaLoads Enhanced')
PAgent - scans your hard drive for the popular P2P file-sharing applications bearshare.exe, grokster.exe, kazaa.exe, limewire.exe and morpheus.exe. After searching the entire local filesystem for any files with those names it connects to the DownloadWare servers and tells it what, if anything, it found. To remove, run regedit and go to:
and remove the "PAgent" value. Open the Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Delete) and kill PAgent if it is still running. You can now delete the 'PAgent' folder in your Program Files directory. You can also clean up the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\PAgent if you like.
Casino games (Vegas Palms, Royal Vegas) - large installation of gambling games. Use Add/Remove Programs to remove it. A key will be left in the registry under HKLM\Software\MicroGaming which you can remove if you wish.
KFH - lurks in the background and every so often launches a very large Flash advert, for Vegas Palms, Ryal Vegas or Five Roses casinos. Go to Add/Remove Programs and get rid of the entry with the name of the casino followed by '- Launcher'. Kill the task (Task Manager) and you can delete the 'KFH' folder in your Program Files directory. You can also clean up the key HKLM\Software\KFH if you like.
MediaLoads - downloads various pointless pictures and videos in the background if you ask it to, otherwise harmless. Remove from Add/Remove Programs. An empty Program Files folder and an entry in your Start menu will be left which you can delete if you want, along with the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\MediaLoads registry key.
WinEME - purpose unknown. It has mail-sending capability, and can send through any mail server set up in Outlook Express, but what it sends and when is so far a mystery.
Finally, check for a folder called 'MedCh', along with 'MovieNetworks', 'Popcorn.net' and 'Real-Tens' folders in Program Files - one of these or others may have come with the original ActiveInstall. If you find one of these, delete it and check your Dial-up Networking connections for a 'dialer' entry. Remove it - if you dial it it will cost you a lot of money.
Load regedit and go to:
Remove the 'DownloadWare' value. Open the Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del) and kill the task called 'Dw' if it is still running. Now you can delete the 'DownloadWare' folder in the Program Files directory. You can also clean up the 'DownloadWare' and 'WebInstall' keys in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\.