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13 February 2007
Network Essentials
Risk Impact:
File Names:
Systems Affected:


Adware.Dware is an Adware program that connects to a server and downloads and displays advertisements.


  • The files are detected as Adware.Dware.
  • The system crashes and reports an error in Dw.exe.


This adware program must be manually installed. However, there are several programs that have Adware.Dware within them and that install it as the program itself is installed.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 02 October 2014 revision 022
  • Latest Rapid Release version 07 May 2019 revision 006
  • Initial Daily Certified version 18 August 2003
  • Latest Daily Certified version 07 May 2019 revision 008
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date 18 August 2003
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

Note: There are non-adware files that use the file name Dw.exe. An example is a file from Microsoft that is installed with some versions of Office XP. The file name alone does not indicate the presence of Adware.Dware.

Adware.Dware is an adware program that uses the name "Downloadware" to display advertisements. When this adware is executed, it contacts on port 80. Then, it keeps open a connection to the server, which downloads and displays advertisements. The advertisements are generally displayed in a small browser window.

When Adware.Dware is installed, it does the following:
  1. Adds the value:

    "Downloadware"="[path]\dw.exe /H"

    (where [path] is the location of the file) to the registry key:


    so that the program runs when you start Windows.

  2. Creates the key:


    and several subkeys.

  3. Adds another key so that it can be uninstalled through the Add/Remove option in the Windows Control Panel.

    However, removing it using the Add/Remove option in the Control Panel seems to remove only the entry itself from the Add/Remove option; it does not appear to remove the files from the system, and it will not prevent itself from running when the system is started.

    Therefore, to remove this adware component, we recommend that you follow the removal instructions below.

This adware component contains several bugs, and therefore may occasionally crash.

Note: Removing this adware component from the system will likely cause the program that installed it to not function as intended. The uninstaller generally identifies the programs that will not work after uninstallation.
  1. Update the definitions.
  2. Uninstall DownloadWare using the Add/Remove Programs utility.
  3. Delete the value and key that was added to the registry and restart the computer.
  4. Run a full system scan and delete all the files detected as Adware.Dware.
For specific details on each of these steps, read the following instructions.

1. To update the definitions
To obtain the most recent definitions, start your Symantec program and run LiveUpdate.

2. To uninstall the Adware
  1. Do one of the following:
    • On the Windows 98 taskbar:
      1. Click Start > Settings > Control Panel.
      2. In the Control Panel window, double-click Add/Remove Programs.

    • On the Windows Me taskbar:
      1. Click Start > Settings > Control Panel.
      2. In the Control Panel window, double-click Add/Remove Programs.
        If you do not see the Add/Remove Programs icon, click "...view all Control Panel options."

    • On the Windows 2000 taskbar:
      By default, Windows 2000 is set up the same as Windows 98. In that case, follow the instructions for Windows 98. Otherwise, click Start, point to Settings, point to Control Panel, and then click Add/Remove Programs.

    • On the Windows XP taskbar:
      1. Click Start > Control Panel.
      2. In the Control Panel window, double-click Add or Remove Programs.

  2. Click DownloadWare.

    Note: You may need to use the scroll bar to view the whole list.

  3. Click Add/Remove, Change/Remove, or Remove (this varies with the operating system). Follow the prompts.

3. To delete the value and key from the registry

CAUTION : Symantec strongly recommends that you back up the registry before making any changes to it. Incorrect changes to the registry can result in permanent data loss or corrupted files. Modify the specified keys only. Read the document, "How to make a backup of the Windows registry ," for instructions.
  1. Click Start, and then click Run. (The Run dialog box appears.)
  2. Type regedit

    Then click OK. (The Registry Editor opens.)

  3. Navigate to the key:


  4. In the right pane, delete the value:

    "Downloadware"="[path]\dw.exe /H"

  5. Navigate to and delete the key:


  6. Exit the Registry Editor.
  7. Restart the computer.

4. To scan for and delete the files
  1. Start your Symantec antivirus program, and then run a full system scan.
  2. If any files are detected as Adware.Dware, click Delete.

  • If your Symantec antivirus product reports that it cannot delete a detected file, write down the path and file name. Then use Windows Explorer to locate and delete the file.
  • If you ran the Add/Remove programs applet as described in the previous section, all the files may have been removed, and thus none of them will be detected.