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Trend Micro's Anti-Spyware 3 (formerly known as InterMute SpySubtract) is the established security vendor's latest entry into the PC spyware wars, bolstered by its recent acquisition of leading antispyware developer InterMute. The home version retails for $29.95, with an annual renewal fee of $14.95, and it features better scanning, faster definition updates, and more efficient memory and CPU usage than Trend Micro's previous antispyware products. Trend Micro offers a fully functional online antispyware scan and is the only antispyware vendor in our survey to provide free telephone technical support. However, based on testing done by CNET Download.com, Trend Micro Anti-Spyware 3 finished near the bottom of the list for removing known spyware and near the bottom in overall performance.
Installation and setup are as simple as can be; however, during installation of this program, we were required to give an e-mail address for future updates--this was the only program in our tests to require this. Accept the default choices, and without even the need for a reboot, Trend Micro Anti-Spyware 3 is ready to perform an initial scan of your system for known adware and spyware. The Venus Spy Trap real-time monitoring feature will automatically kick in and pay attention to an impressive list of system indicators that can reveal spyware-related problems.
Trend Micro Anti-Spyware 3 is easy to use and control. The main display window gives direct access to the key functions of scanning for spyware, cleaning your history tracks, restoring your system, and viewing log files of the program's activity. Along the top are tabs that offer quick views of your system status, statistics, and any blacklists or whitelists you have defined. The History Clean Up screen is especially nice and offers a finely grained and clear way to remove history tracks.
Trend Micro Anti-Spyware 3 packs a lot of useful features into its friendly and intuitive interface. In addition to the expected range of system spyware scans and monitoring, there is an excellent history-tracking cleaner, a simple cookie manager, a restore utility, and a secure file-delete function that will wipe your files in accordance with DOD standards. Trend Micro Anti-Spyware 3 also includes a rudimentary scheduler that allows you to configure Anti-Spyware 3 to perform a system scan or delete your history items on start-up.
In testing done by CNET Download.com, Trend Micro Anti-Spyware finished scanning in slightly more than 11 minutes. Thanks to the integration of InterMute's highly regarded CWShredder program, Trend Micro Anti-Spyware 3 does a better job of finding and deleting all traces of the notorious CoolWebSearch family of browser-hijacking spyware than most competing products; however, a confusing removal process requires that you first blacklist all found spyware threats. After two scans, the program turned up different numbers of spyware threats and included false-positive spyware traces that were independently found not to be on the test system. When Trend Micro Anti-Spyware finished its removal process, we were disappointed to find that it had left Bookedspace, Search Exe, and 180 Search Assistant, as well as other minor traces.
The integrated help system is adequate to handle basic questions, but Trend Micro's online FAQs weren't exactly helpful when it came to Anti-Spyware 3. The searchable knowledge base wasn't any better; it was confusing and seemed to contain very little information about the Anti-Spyware product. Luckily, technical support is available at no extra charge via both telephone and e-mail, with a guaranteed response time of 48 hours.