CounterSpy 3.1 continues the strong series of releases for this basic yet powerful antispwyare software. The program makes it simple to schedule and customize spyware scans or run scans on demand, while also offering an adjustable level of real-time protection. Installation is quick and easy. A configuration wizard walks users through the basic settings options for the program, including necessary proxy info, the frequency of risk-definition update checks, the level of real-time protection, and the initial scan schedule. Oddly enough, the default scan is 1 a.m. and can't be edited in the wizard.
In addition to the standard Quick Scan and the full computer Deep Scan, CounterSpy has a fully customizable option that lets you specify which areas of your machine are scanned and what the scan is looking for. CounterSpy also throws in a few extra tools, including a file eraser, a history cleaner, and a useful process exploring tool that provides quick access to system information like running processes, hosts file, LSPs, Downloaded ActiveX controls, start-up programs, and browser helper objects (when bad, they're called browser hijackers).
CounterSpy claims that the latest release has faster scans and uses less system resources, so it's worth looking at both. Based on our limited testing, scan times seem a bit faster than comparable programs, but not the type of instant satisfaction. The options for customizing the area of your scan and how the scan works are impressive. As for resources, while deep scanning, the CounterSpy Service used about 30MB of internal memory, while the user interface took up about half that. The Service did occasionally jump up in RAM usage and CPU, but we managed to use Outlook, Photoshop, and Firefox with no snags while the full scan was running.
All in all, the feature set, the fully functioning 15-day trial, the smart design, and the strong stability and performance are all major factors that contribute to the top rating for this antispyware app.