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13 February 2007
Adtools, Inc.
Risk Impact:
File Names:
Systems Affected:


Adware.Advertbar is a set of programs, which includes the MessageMates software from Adtools, Inc. These small advertising Windows programs have various characters that display across the screen, such as the animals from Ice Age (2002), the animated movie.

This particular program installs files on the system, as well as a unique identifier in the registry. Upon the closing of the application, this Adware has been known to try and contact remote servers. Adware.Advertbar is detected with various MessageMates and/or ScreenMates software.


The files on the system are detected as Adware.Advertbar.


Adware.Advertbar can be installed from MessageMates, ScreenMates, and Screen Movies.

Antivirus Protection Dates

  • Initial Rapid Release version 02 October 2014 revision 022
  • Latest Rapid Release version 09 July 2019 revision 005
  • Initial Daily Certified version 20 May 2003
  • Latest Daily Certified version 09 July 2019 revision 007
  • Initial Weekly Certified release date 22 May 2003
Click here for a more detailed description of Rapid Release and Daily Certified virus definitions.

When Adware.Advertbar is executed, it performs the following actions:

  1. Creates the following folder:

    %Windir%\Program Files\Ice Age

    Note: %Windir% is a variable that refers to the Windows installation folder. By default, this is C:\Windows or C:\Winnt.

  2. Drops the following file into %Windir%\Program Files\Ice Age:

    • ice_age.exe

  3. Adds the following key to the registry:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\AdTools, Inc.

    • This key may contain several subkeys.
    • Depending on which MessageMate software is installed, the subkeys will be the name of the MessageMate, such as Ice Age.
    • There will also be a key named UserInfo, in which a unique identifier value exists.

The following instructions pertain to all current and recent Symantec antivirus products, including the Symantec AntiVirus and Norton AntiVirus product lines.
WARNING: Removing this adware component from the system will most likely cause the application that installed it to not function as intended. The uninstaller generally identifies the applications that will not work after uninstallation.
  1. Update the virus definitions.
  2. Uninstall the Security Risk using the Add/Remove Programs utility.
  3. Run a full system scan and delete all the files detected as Adware.Advertbar.
  4. Delete the key that was added to the registry.
For specific details on each of these steps, read the following instructions.

1. Updating the virus definitions
Symantec Security Response fully tests all the virus definitions for quality assurance before they are posted to our servers. There are two ways to obtain the most recent virus definitions:
  • Running LiveUpdate, which is the easiest way to obtain virus definitions: These virus definitions are posted to the LiveUpdate servers once each week (usually on Wednesdays), unless there is a major virus outbreak. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by LiveUpdate, refer to the Virus Definitions (LiveUpdate).
  • Downloading the definitions using the Intelligent Updater: The Intelligent Updater virus definitions are posted on U.S. business days (Monday through Friday). You should download the definitions from the Symantec Security Response Web site and manually install them. To determine whether definitions for this threat are available by the Intelligent Updater, refer to the Virus Definitions (Intelligent Updater).

    The Intelligent Updater virus definitions are available: Read "How to update virus definition files using the Intelligent Updater" for detailed instructions.

2. Uninstalling the Security Risk
  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 way as Windows 98, so follow the Windows 98 instructions. 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 the program, Ice Age.

    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. Scanning for and deleting the infected files
  1. Start your Symantec antivirus program and make sure that it is configured to scan all the files.
  2. Run a full system scan.
  3. If any files are detected as infected with Adware.Advertbar, click Delete.

4. Deleting the value 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 and delete the key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\AdTools, Inc.

  4. Exit the Registry Editor.