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Webroot Spy Sweeper 4.5 review: Webroot Spy Sweeper 4.5

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Spy Sweeper's Shields provide real-time protection.


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.

In testing performed by CNET, Webroot Spy Sweeper's 30-minute, 39-second scan time was the longest among all participants. But even with a long scan time, it's hard to argue with the results: Webroot Spy Sweeper found and removed everything we threw at it. However, although each threat was named, the supporting information was vague. For example, Webroot Spy Sweeper couldn't tell us much about what it detected, only that the threats were detected and removed. While other programs such as Microsoft AntiSpyware and PC Tools Spyware Doctor do a better job with reporting, only Webroot Spy Sweeper removed all of our test spyware apps.

The context-sensitive built-in help system within Spy Sweeper is very complete. If you still have questions, Webroot offers good online options, including extensive FAQs and e-mail technical support. Though you might not be able to find the phone number, the company does offer tech support at 1-800-772-9383.

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