PestPatrol offers fast and thorough spyware protection, but it is also the most expensive antispyware app we reviewed.
PestPatrol 4.2 aggressively scans your PC system for spyware, Trojan horses, and many other software pests. With its easy-to-use interface and extensive configuration options, PestPatrol is an excellent spyware-protection choice for home or office. The free demo version requires your full name and e-mail address and only shows you how PestPatrol performs its scans. To delete or quarantine files, you'll need to pay AU$49.95 for the registered version. For small businesses, reduced-price packages of 5 and 10 copies are also available. (You can download a free trial of PestPatrol 4.2 from ZDNet Australia's Download channel)
Installation is a breeze: After downloading the 5.6MB file, just provide your name and e-mail address, and with a single click, PestPatrol starts scanning your system. As with most antispyware programs, you can select the individual directories you want to scan or just scan your entire drive.
PestPatrol includes a sophisticated scheduling feature that lets you set up scans in advance so that you can, say, let your system scan while you sleep, and it has separate program modules that detect spyware cookies, scan for key loggers, and perform active scans for pests residing in your system's memory. The PestPatrol interface is easy to navigate and provides clear and useful information about the pests it finds, including links back to details available on PestPatrol's Web site.
Overall, PestPatrol's scans were faster than those of most of the antispyware applications we've seen. In our informal tests, PestPatrol identified an impressive list of problem programs, including Trojan horses, key loggers, worms, spyware, adware, DoS tools, ANSI bombs, sniffers, spoofers, and password crackers. This list is comparable to the wide varieties of maladies also found by Spybot Search and Destroy.
Fortunately, there's no shortage of help options with PestPatrol. However, the help file integrated into PestPatrol was not as friendly as some of the other programs we tried; it can be a little hard to find exactly what you're looking for, but if you try hard enough, you'll find that it's usually there. On the support Web site, PestPatrol offers e-mail technical support and extensive, searchable online FAQs.
PestPatrol's main interface looks a bit intimidating, but once you get the hang of it, it's easy to use.