We always appreciate when an application takes all the guesswork out of using it. That's the case with the well-designed Max Spyware Detector, which smartly guides you through the process of detecting spyware. Our only reservation was a stability issue that one Windows XP tester encountered.
Max Spyware Detector's compact interface holds a lot of information and controls, but manages to keep it organized. Colorful icons across the top lead to the main functions and settings. The left-hand sidebar and viewing pane change depending on what you're doing. Initially, the left-hand sidebar shows the number of threat definitions in the app's library, the number of threats found, and other statistics. Still, with everything going on, you won't have time to be overwhelmed by all of the interface elements because a window pops up as soon as the interface opens. Three options for scanning are offered: quick, thorough, and custom, and one or two clicks initiate all them (with the exception of initial setup of a custom scan). The window is easily closed, but makes it just that much easier to get right to work and start the scan. That user-friendly approach is the hallmark of this app. The onscreen descriptions, tooltips, and other useful information should be enough for most users, but a detailed Help file is one click away. To keep you from making a permanent mistake, you can easily recover items, and there are confirmation windows with clear warnings about the potential impact of your actions for all of the app's tools. An easy-to-set scheduler and a few extras to remove cookies, view startup entries, and restore some registry entries round out this app. The trial version will only scan, and not remove, found items, but it was one of the quickest scan times we've seen.
Max Spyware Detector impressed us with its well-thought-out design and user-friendly approach, but a tester did report that the program froze during the scan process and shut down. While we normally wouldn't recommend a potentially problematic app, if you don't have any program lockups, this is a top-notch spyware scanning tool.