Malware remedy

There's a lot of love for the full version of Spyware Doctor, but the free trial comes with some stringent limitations.

Correction: Although this review was written for Spyware Doctor version 8, a typo misstated the version number as version 7. That has since been corrected.

Spyware Doctor 8 offers users a superb collection of malware prevention and removal tools, but its infamously strict trial restrictions makes it difficult to evaluate. With quick scanning and multiple tools for stopping malware before it infects your computer, the paid version is a solid spyware remover.

Installing the program annoyingly requires you to reboot the computer, but as soon as Windows finishes loading, the program will start scanning for malware. Impressively, the scan took only about five minutes, which much faster than competing programs, and properly categorized problems such as tracking cookies as low-level threats. Once you remove the threats, which requires purchasing a license, the Start Scan tab will offer an Intelli-Scan, which is the Quick Scan rebranded, a Full Scan, and a Custom Scan. The Intelli-Scan shouldn't be confused with the IntelliGuard tab that provides access to the 10 subguards that the program offers. These are largely self-explanatory: Behavior, Browser, Cookie, Email, File, Immunizer, Network, Process, Site, and Startup. Behavior Guard, for example, is powered by PC Tools' ThreatFire engine for protecting against zero-day threats and malicious behavior.

This version of Spyware Doctor also lacks the antivirus engine that its bigger sibling Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus provides, and as such, it's more comparable to Ad-Aware than a complete antivirus and antispyware program like Norton. The program comes with some useful settings options, too, including a gaming mode and the option to run a scan at start-up. However, its default setting for rootkit scanning is off. While the trial version of Spyware Doctor can't remove detected threats, it does offer real-time protection--much like PC Tools' free ThreatFire program.

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