Lavasoft's Ad-Aware SE is one of our favourite pieces of software: great for detecting and removing spyware that infects systems. So why pay $US27 for the Plus version? The reason: real-time protection.
We installed Ad-Aware SE Plus, version 1.05, on a Windows 98 PC and on a Windows XP machine (the installation process automatically removes previous Ad-Aware versions).
Ad-Aware SE Plus then automatically connected to Lavasoft's servers and updated its spyware signatures before its first scan.
We've learned that selecting "Use custom scanning options" and leaving things checked nets a far more comprehensive scan than the default "Smart system scan" choice. In informal tests on the 98 and XP systems, we found that SE Plus dug deeper than previous versions, subsequently finding and eliminating more spyware problems.
We'd prefer that the Ad-Watch real-time scanner be active by default, but turning it on from the main menu was easy. Ad-Watch stops severe attacks, as it detects (and interrupts) attempts to modify the Registry.
Free stuff is hard to resist, and the free Ad-Aware SE is a solid post-infection tool. But Ad-Aware SE Plus's Ad-Watch component is a defensive measure that savvy users shouldn't be without.