Ad-Aware SE Personal Edition
With the ability to scan your RAM, registry, hard drives, and external storage devices for known data-mining, advertising, and tracking components, Ad-aware SE easily can clean your system, allowing you to maintain a higher degree of privacy while you surf the Web.
Ad-aware SE Personal Edition boasts a number of improvements. Extended memory scanning now scans all modules loaded by a process. Scanning uses the all- new CSI (Code Sequence Identification) technology to identify new and unknown variants of known targets. Extended registry scanning now scans registry branches of multiple-user accounts and performs additional smart checks to detect dynamically created references. Scanning speed is noticeably faster, and this version offers an Extended Scanning mode for known and unknown/possible browser hijackers.
New in version 1.06: Disk-scan is approximately 30% faster. CSI scan is now more efficient. Added “Scan for low-risk threats” option, to scan for targets with low TAC index. Ad-Watch CSI engine performance highly improved; using less CPU and Memory as well as having a smaller footprint. GUI adapted to use the new TAC.
One of the first applications built to find and remove adware and spyware, Ad-aware SE Personal Edition’s excellent reputation is well justified. The sky-blue, skinnable interface features five buttons. The first two, Status and Scan, lead to the core function of the application. These buttons initiate a scan of your files for adware components. After scanning is complete, the program presents a summary of results, followed by a list from which you select exactly which components to remove. Right-clicking an individual entry gives some information about the piece of suspected adware, though we would like more details. Ad-aware SE can alert you to more malignant forms of malware by separating items into critical and negligible categories. The third button, Ad-watch, is nonfunctional in the Standard version. The fourth button, Plug-ins, shows you which Ad-aware plug-ins are installed. The fifth leads to the help files.
Ad-aware SE does an excellent job of quickly finding and removing most adware and spyware components, although you will have to restart and rescan for a seriously infected machine. We were pleased to see an auto-update feature included with the program, keeping Ad-aware up-to-date with the latest adware components. Ad-aware SE should be part of your arsenal for keeping your machine free of adware and spyware components.
Ad-aware SE Personal Edition 1.06 is the latest version of Lavasoft’s popular free antispyware program, and not surprisingly, it continues to meet the high standards that Ad-aware is known for. Long considered the grandfather of antispyware programs, Ad-aware keeps getting better and is one of our recommended additions to any desktop.
This latest version of Ad-aware SE runs faster than previous versions, and it finds and deletes even more illicit programs that track your surfing and cause many of those annoying pop-up ads. With its light use of resources and thorough scans, Ad-aware also beats paid antispyware programs, such as McAfee Anti-Spyware. In addition to providing a more robust scanning engine, Ad-aware now sports a sleek new interface that makes the program more attractive and extremely simple to use. Ad-Aware’s custom skins let you change the look and feel of the app in a variety of ways.
Downloading and installing Ad-aware SE Personal took only a few minutes. It’s best to run a full system scan the first time you use Ad-aware. After that, it’s much faster to use the Smart Scan option, which checks only files that have recently changed on your hard drive. Ad-aware is highly configurable, with more options and choices than you’d expect in a free spyware-removal program. The default settings work great with most systems, though, and unless you have an unusual situation, you shouldn’t have to fiddle with any settings.
If you’ve been using your PC on the Internet without any spyware protection, you’ll probably be amazed at how many offending programs Ad-aware finds. Unfortunately, the process of removing offending apps with Ad-aware can be confusing at times because Ad-aware doesn’t provide much helpful information about the suspect spyware it marks for quarantine. For example, it doesn’t identify which applications might need a suspected spyware/adware component in order to run. But don’t worry, Ad-aware doesn’t entirely remove the spyware, just quarantines it in a secure folder, so if for some reason you actually needed one of those adware components, you could easily reinstall it later within Ad-aware.
Our only gripe is regarding Lavasoft’s paltry support options. E-mail technical support is not available for the free version, and the support area on Lavasoft’s Web site is underwhelming to say the least. That said, the program is pretty easy to use and the integrated help system is complete and should be able to answer most questions.