Ad-Aware SE 1.06 review: Ad-Aware SE 1.06

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.6
  • Setup and interface: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 9.0
  • Service and support: 6.0

Average User Rating

Reviewed:

The Good Lavasoft Ad-aware SE is faster, easier to use, and more robust at finding and deleting most spyware than its predecessor.

The Bad Ad-Aware SE offers no e-mail support for its free version, and the online support area provides limited information.

The Bottom Line Ad-aware SE is your best option for keeping spyware and adware under control on your PC.

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Lavasoft Ad-aware SE 1.06

Ad-aware SE 1.06 is the latest version of Lavasoft's popular and venerable 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. Of all the antispyware software tested by Download.com, Ad-aware SE finished in the top three, removing virtually everything we threw at it, and it finished number one in overall performance. Ad-aware SE is available in two versions. Ad-aware SE Personal is free and will quarantine and remove spyware on your PC. Ad-aware SE Plus sells for $29.95 and includes real-time protection, automatic updates, and advertising block--features that are disabled within the free edition. Either edition of Ad-aware should be a must-have for every PC 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 AntiSpyware . 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. Both the free and paid versions of Ad-aware are highly configurable, with more options and choices than you'd expect. 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.

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Where to Buy

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Quick Specifications

  • Release date May 30, 2005