Need to buy a gift for somebody who loves technology but you can’t afford the big ticket items?
PC Tools Spyware Doctor 5.5 with AV
- Intelliscan for quick scans, optional full scan and rootkit scan for deeper scanning, OnGuard real-time protection, very good detection and cleaning, kernel compatibility mode
- We experienced blue screens when trying to run malware detective, slower scans than we would have liked.
While it's not as fast as we'd like, Spyware Doctor 5.5 does a good job of cleaning up infections and uses an intuitive interface to take control of your system's security. The small sum of $10 for added anti-virus protection is an extra bonus.
Price$ 59.95 (AUD)
PC Tool's latest release, Spyware Doctor 5.5 with AV, is a simple to use and thorough tool with a good set of cleaning and live protection features to help maintain the health of your system. The standard application is aimed at spyware and malware, but the addition of antivirus protection costs a mere $10 more.
Its predecessor, Spyware Doctor 5.0, was a complete re-build of the application, so it's unsurprising that this version's façade has seen little change. However, some significant work has been done out back, speeding up scan times with Intelliscan and reducing the overall footprint of the application. As well as this, Spyware Doctor 5.5 has changed its reporting to more correctly reflect the level of threat perceived by detected infections. In the previous version even the most non-threatening of cookies would trigger a red flag. Now users are able to clearly see which threats are benign and which are just that, threats.
Spyware Doctor 5.5 offers protection in a number of ways. The most obvious is via scanning, which can be done using a full system scan or a faster Intelliscan. Intelliscan is designed to search out actively running spyware and eliminate it, while a full system scan takes longer and searches deeper. Activating the rootkit scan is optional as it will take longer to search for hidden processes and check behavioural patterns. The antivirus protection, should you have purchased it, is seamlessly integrated into the spyware scan and can be disabled at will.
The second main source of protection comes from Spyware Doctor 5.5's OnGuard feature. This is a real time protection feature that checks for browser changes, cookies, e-mail protection, keylogger software, ActiveX protection, and has a site guard, among other things.
There are a couple of neat extra features such as secure community, a feedback system that helps PC Tools detect and clean new threats by processing data from automated user feedback. This setting is, of course, optional. Another feature is the malware detective, which can be used if your system exhibits symptoms, but is not detecting anything. Malware detective sends specific information to PC Tools for examination in the hope of discovering hidden malware. Unfortunately on one of our test machines attempting to run the malware detective, using Windows Vista Business, caused instant blue screens time and time again. Spyware Doctor 5.5 also claims to be compatible with other spyware and antivirus programs by running in kernel compatibility mode, an excellent feature if you're an avid fan of one particular antivirus or spyware application that you'd like to use it simultaneously.
The software is reasonably intuitive to navigate with scans and OnGuard controls in separate tabs. The only confusing element is the segregation of settings. OnGuard settings can be found in the OnGuard tab, while all other settings are under a separate tab. Detection and cleaning has always been a strong point of Spyware Doctor, but speed has not, though version 5.5 has improved. Our Intelliscan took less than a fifth of the time of a full scan and both scans cleaned 100 per cent of detected infections without issue. Scan times will vary on the infection status, but we were happy with the increased speed over previous versions.
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