Webroot Spy Sweeper 4.5
Webroot's Spy Sweeper is well known for being one of the better spyware detection and removal programs. Version 4.5 offers improved speed during system scans while still supporting an impressive list of advanced features and options. In testing done by Download.com, SpySweeper finished at the top of our list for removing known spyware and tied for fourth place with for overall performance. Spy Sweeper costs $29.95 at the start, plus there's an annual subscription fee to keep your signature files updated beyond one year. A 30-day free trial is available, however, it will not remove any spyware it detects; for that, you'll need to purchase the product, a practice we think is just plain wrong. That said, , which offers a fully functioning free version, remains our overall recommendation for best antispyware application.
Setting up and installing Spy Sweeper is a snap. After downloading a copy from the Internet and launching the installation wizard, you're prompted to choose your default settings, such as scan frequency. Spy Sweeper then asks permission (which you should grant) to connect to its home base and retrieve the latest version of its spyware-threat database. After updating, Spy Sweeper is ready to start cleaning your system.
Spy Sweeper uses an intuitive user interface. Just press the Sweep Now button to scan your system, then the Remove button to rid it of any found spyware. If Spy Sweeper identifies any programs you know you want to keep (for example, if you find out later that a removed app is essential to any shareware you use), you can tell Spy Sweeper to ignore them in the future.
Like Spybot and Microsoft AntiSpyware, Spy Sweeper includes proactive shields that scan for new pests trying to infest your system while you surf or download files. Whereas Spybot produces a pop-up dialog box requiring you to answer yes or no to a specific installation request, Spy Sweeper flags the new installations with a brief pop-up over the taskbar in the lower-right corner of the screen and asks later whether to accept or remove the installed components. As with Microsoft AntiSpyware, you can schedule Spy Sweeper to run only during off-hours.
Unlike the free antispyware apps, almost all of Spy Sweeper's functions can be automated. It can scan your system, update spyware definitions, delete quarantined files after a set time frame, and check all incoming files without you having to lift a finger.