Webroot Spy Sweeper 5.3 with Antivirus would seem like a powerful combination, given that McAfee, Norton, and Trend Micro all combine their antivirus and antispyware scans. And rather than build its own antivirus engine, Webroot has wisely partnered with top-rated U.K.-based Sophos Anti-Virus, which sells primarily to the enterprise market. But the antivirus scanner included within Spy Sweeper isn't fully implemented and doesn't extend protection to common virus vectors such as e-mail or IM. Webroot says that additional antivirus functionality will be added to later versions of Spy Sweeper, but for the moment, we're nervous about making Spy Sweeper our only antivirus protection. As for traditional antispyware protection, Spy Sweeper 5.3 did well at shielding our machine from new spyware and detecting spyware already established. However, it took the longest to complete its scan, it didn't do so well at removing all traces of found spyware, and not all of Spy Sweeper's defense shields are turned on by default. For now, we think Spy Sweeper 5.3 isn't ready for prime time. For the same $39, we think you're better off with a traditional antivirus product that also includes antispyware protection, such as our Editors' Choice, Kaspersky.
Spy Sweeper 5.3 is available for retail purchase or download, with or without antivirus enabled. We question why Webroot would make antivirus an option--shouldn't it be standard? In light of this, we recommend buying the antispyware version only at $29. Current Spy Sweeper customers' apps will be automatically upgraded to version 5.3 (with an option to enable antivirus for $10 more). We suggest all Spy Sweeper users wait and purchase the antivirus component in a future release. Note: the trial copy of Spy Sweeper will not remove any spyware it identifies unless you purchase the full product; we think this is wrong, and a crude way to force sales.
We experienced no difficulties installing Spy Sweeper 5.3 with Antivirus. After installation, we were asked to reboot our system.
Should you decide to uninstall Spy Sweeper, Webroot includes an uninstall icon on the All Programs list. After rebooting, we found no trace of Spy Sweeper in the Program Files directory or the system registry.
The Spy Sweeper 5.3 with Antivirus interface remains unchanged from that of Spy Sweeper 5, with the exception of a tiny upper-right corner panel informing you whether antivirus protection has been enabled. Webroot's integration of Sophos is invisible; for example, there's no separate configuration page for antivirus scans, which initially started us wondering just how much antivirus protection exists within Spy Sweeper.
To tweak antispyware scans for individual files or folders, simply use the various Spy Sweeper configuration screens; however, we could find no separate configuration options for the antivirus part of the product, such as protective settings to block incoming viruses from e-mail or IM, a setting found in many traditional antivirus products.
Spy Sweeper's interface is crisp and intuitive, the result of many hours of user-interface testing. For example, we like that during a scan, the color-coded tabs on the scan page mark your progress: Sweeping, Quarantine, and Summary.