Webroot Spy Sweeper 2.6 is a well-designed spyware-removal program. Spy Sweeper offers a free demo version that's limited to a one-time access to Spy Sweeper's updated spyware definitions file, so you'll have to buy a subscription to get regular updates. At US$29.95 a year, Spy Sweeper is no more or less expensive than the other paid apps we reviewed. (You can download a trial version of Spy Sweeper from ZDNet Australia's Downloads channel.)
After downloading the 3.43MB file, you'll find Spy Sweeper's installation process is straightforward. Besides the usual icon placement choices (system tray or desktop), Spy Sweeper offers options to subscribe to Webroot's e-mail news and tips, set up program launches at start-up, or perform automatic updates. The program interface is easy to use, with obvious buttons for the basic features of sweeping your system, viewing the results, removing files, and restoring quarantined programs. Spy Sweeper is also highly configurable, so power users can make detailed adjustments to how it scans your system.
In our informal tests, Spy Sweeper did a good job of finding spyware and adware. Like McAfee AntiSpyware, it provides automatic blocking of new spyware and malicious program updates, and like Ad-aware and Spybot Search and Destroy, Spy Sweeper has the ability to quarantine and restore deleted files. Like all the apps we considered, Spy Sweeper offers convenient scan-scheduling options. In fact, Spy Sweeper had the nicest automation features of any antispyware program we saw: For example, its user-friendly schedule screen made it easy to set up automated, regular sweeps of our system. But Spy Sweeper also took much longer to scan our test system compared to the thorough and fast PestPatrol.
Spy Sweeper's integrated help file is clear and well organised. E-mail technical support is also available on Webroot's Web site, with a 48-hour turnaround.
Spy Sweeper's scheduling options allow for easy automated sweeps.
Price: US$29.95 (one year subscription)