Spybot Search and Destroy 1.3 is free and doesn't require you to provide an e-mail address, plus it does an excellent job wiping your system clean of spyware and adware. Of the antispyware software we tested, Spybot was the best, finding every possible pest in our tests. Its default mode is easy to use and perfect for home users; its advanced mode offers features that will please most high-end users. Spybot has wide international appeal, with its support of more than 30 different languages, and it remains available as a free download. (You can download Spybot Search and Destroy from ZDNet Australia's Downloads channel.)
After downloading the 3.5MB file, installation is smooth. Simply select your language preference, and you're ready to go. Spybot has an easy-to-use interface: From the main window, you can scan your system for spyware, update the program, and recover your system to a previous state, if needed, thanks to the backup copies that Search and Destroy makes of everything it changes. A highly configurable advanced-mode interface is available for power users who like to schedule their scans, manage cookies, add skins, and even customise Spybot's operation, such as deciding whether to launch at start, to log files, or to display warnings.
Like all antispyware applications, Spybot scans your computer's active memory and hard drive for pesky programs that add unwanted advertising or track your online moves. In our informal tests, Spybot performed the most thorough job of finding and removing these pests. For example, Spybot is the only spyware-cleansing program we tested that detected other antispyware programs installed on our system, and it properly warned us about false-positive results caused by running multiple antispyware programs. (Files quarantined by one antispyware app remain on your hard drive and could be viewed by a second antispyware app as potential threats, although they are not.)
Unfortunately, the integrated help within Spybot Search and Destroy left us wanting more information. Also, Spybot's Web site doesn't offer online support other than e-mail. Our test question went unanswered. If you run into any problems, you're on your own. On the other hand, this easy-to-use app is unlikely to give you any real headaches.
Spybot Search and Destroy's main interface is friendly and easy to use.
Spybot Search and Destroy
Price: Free for download
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