For years, people have sworn by Lavasoft Ad-Aware, both the free (SE Personal) and the paid (SE Professional) versions, for stopping adware and spyware on their PCs. Last year the product placed first among our top 10 antispyware applications reviewed. In this year's tests, however, the paid Ad-Aware SE Professional 1.06R1 fared poorly, neither blocking nor scanning and removing more than three out of the eight files we used. Worse, Ad-Aware failed to remove any of the adware and spyware we used in our testing. That may be because the threat landscape has changed in the last year and the product has not; this is the same version of Ad-Aware we tested last year. Given that Ad-Aware 1.06 ranked first last year, we felt compelled to rank against this year's selection. Lavasoft is in the final stages of testing a new product, Ad-Aware 2007, which will be a completely redesigned antispyware application. We look forward to the release of Ad-Aware 2007 this summer and for its inclusion in next year's roundup.
Our installation of Ad-Aware SE Professional 1.6r1 was quick and easy. We quickly updated to the latest definition files without a problem.
There's an uninstall icon provided in the All Programs list, should you want to remove Ad-Aware SE Personal 1.06R1. After our uninstall, we found no traces of Ad-Aware on our system. Most of the antispyware apps we tested had clean uninstalls.
The interface for Ad-Aware has not change in years. Down the left-hand side are buttons for Status, Scan Now, Ad-Watch (Professional version only), Ad-Ons, and Help. The Status windows provides definition file information and stats on items found, ignored, and quarantined. The results window displays items found (with color bar indicating threat level) and additional information accessible via tabs across the top. The tabs include Scan Summary, Critical Objects, Negligible Objects, and Scan Log.