Editors' note: On March 5, 2008, CNET revised its antispyware review ratings to emphasize a product's ability to remove spyware. The new ratings are based on the following formula: Installation (20 percent), Features (20 percent), Performance (50 percent), and Support (10 percent). In most cases a product's rating went down, expanding the range between highest and lowest rated.
Lavasoft Ad-Aware 2007 came in dead last in our CNET antispyware testing. Other than sporting a new interface, this long-awaited update doesn't feel much different than earlier versions. What cripples this release most is that Ad-Aware failed to detect half of the test spyware, either actively or on demand, and, unlike nine out of the 10 other antispyware apps we reviewed in December 2007, Ad-Aware left behind traces for all but one spyware. With such a detection and low removal rate, it's hard to get too excited by the latest iteration of this classic antispyware app. Also, with the exception of Microsoft Windows Defender, Ad-Aware remains one of the few well-known antispyware apps not to include (or provide the option of) antivirus protection. In a rapidly evolving market, Ad-Aware seems to have fallen way behind the times.
All versions of Ad-Aware 2007 run on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista (32-bit). There is a free version, but with that version, expect to find all features other than antispyware scanning turned off. The paid version, Ad-Aware Plus 2007, costs $29.95 for a one-year single-user license; Ad-Aware Pro costs $39.95 for a single-year license. The higher price points activate more features within the basic product, with Pro being more advanced than Plus.
Features in the paid products include a host file editor, Registry-blocking shields, and a system-restore point.