Editor's note: This article, originally published by Brian Satterfield, was republished on 3/5/08.
These days, using only one antispyware program is like playing with fire: sooner or later, you're going to get burned. Since not all spyware-combat tools share identical databases, we recommend running as many tools as you can get your mitts on--and Spybot - Search & Destroy, a time-tested and free application, should be part of your arsenal. The program might not have as pretty a face as some of its competitors, but it's certainly adept at eradicating spyware. It also offers a wide variety of settings and tools for maintaining your security and privacy that might not be immediately obvious. Read on to get the lowdown on removing spyware with Spybot, and to get tips for using some of the program's most important features.
Step 1: Set it up Some antispyware programs aren't highly customizable, but Spybot caters to the user by offering a number of tweaks. The app's primary screen emphasizes scanning your machine for threats and updating spyware definitions. If you switch from the default to the advanced mode from the Mode menu, though, you open up a world of options. The unobtrusive Settings button, located way down in the lower-left corner of the advanced window, contains tons of ways to fine-tune Spybot's behavior. This screen may at first appear overwhelming, but the Settings window lets you customize the app so it works for you.… Read more