Spyware removal

Although it hasn't been as prevalent as in years' past, malware continues to threaten PCs. Here are some tools for keeping your computer clean.

  • Malwarebytes

    CNET Editors' ChoiceOct 17


    Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware is a surprisingly effective freeware anti-malware tool. It's a relatively speedy malware remover, with the quick-scan mode taking about 10 minutes. The heuristics engine proved on multiple computers during empirical testing that it was capable of determining the difference between false positives and dangerous apps.

    The app has some nice features rolled in, too. It supports multiple drive scanning, context menu options including a scan-on-demand for individual files, and the FileAssassin option under the More Tools section for removing locked files. The interface is simple, but pleasant-looking and well-organized. Tabs live just below the oversize logo, with few options per tab to keep the clutter to a minimum. The installation process was fast enough, but interestingly offered up the well-kept change log and an instant definition file update. You can pay for an upgrade to some snazzier features such as real-time protection and automatic updates, but the free version is still a worthwhile, responsive malware remover. Read full review

  • ThreatFire AntiVirus Free Edition

    ThreatFire AntiVirus Free Edition

    ThreatFire offers real-time prevention of virus and malware infections by identifying suspicious behavior ("zero-day" events) as it happens, before malicious code installs itself on your PC.

    ThreatFire does do some things very well. It seeks out rootkits, heuristics-based threats, viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, adware, keyloggers, and buffer overflows. The software real-time protection didn't noticeably slow down our computer, and the customizable advanced settings were excellent. Users can pick and choose their preferred trusted processes and create rules for detection, such as scanning for SCR files created by an e-mail client. You can also avail yourself of the scheduler, and create a system restore point before moving threats into quarantine. Working as a complement to your currently installed antivirus, ThreatFire has improved markedly in the past few years. Read full review