Ad-aware 6.0 is the granddaddy of the spyware-removal crowd. This workhorse has probably rid the world of more spyware and adware than all of the other newer antispyware programs we've reviewed combined. The Standard edition of Ad-aware 6.0 remains free and provides an excellent integrated help system. Paid versions start at US$26.95, with different pricing for home and office use. (You can download Ad-aware 6.0 from ZDNet Australia's Download Channel).
After downloading Ad-aware 6.0's 1.61MB install file, installation and setup are a breeze. Ad-aware 6.0 Standard Edition now starts with a handy status screen that displays objects removed, total number of scans, objects in quarantine, and objects to ignore. Thanks to an interface redesign, the software is now extremely intuitive to use. New to this version: finer control over how Ad-aware scans your system, including the ability to tell it to ignore large files or specific directories, thus avoiding lengthy scans of your music or photo libraries, for example. There's also a top-level button to update the antispyware app with the latest reference file.
Ad-aware also contains safety features such as automatic quarantine and recycle-bin storage of removed components that make file restoration a snap. For example, if your favourite freeware app no longer starts after removing all the spyware from your PC, Ad-aware will easily restore the missing freeware spyware component.
Unfortunately, in our informal tests, Ad-aware didn't find as many spyware and other intrusive programs and tracking components as Spybot Search and Destroy or PestPatrol. Of those it does find, Ad-aware removes them quickly and efficiently.
Although Ad-aware 6.0's integrated help file isn't as detailed as we'd like, all users--free and paid--can take advantage of the Ad-aware online support forum and e-mail technical support. There is no telephone technical support available.
Ad-aware can quarantine and restore suspected spyware
Ad-aware Standard Edition 6.0
Price: Free for download; Paid versions start at US$26.95