Ad-Aware Free Internet Security

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CNET Editors' Rating 4.0 stars


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  • 5.0 stars

    "AdAware still superior..."

    June 19, 2011  |   By JCitizen


    Has FREE REAL TIME PROTECTION! This keeps the crud off in the first place. You won't find many infections with this on-board!


    Can't keep anti-virus shut off, and Lavasoft seems to refuse to address the issue. I does use a lot of RAM, but RAM is cheap! It is not a con that AdAware does not block ads. It isn't - and never was supposed to!


    I went back to AdAware because my downloads were slow or non-existent despite cleaning cookies. I"ve discussed how AdWatch keeps networking so fast, with many experts on technical forums, and the only thing we can come up with is that it blocks unnecessary traffic from resident cookies and any malware that is sitting in temp files. No single solution can keep everything off you PC, but AdAware comes close. I use it with other fine solutions here on CNET, and it is a very effective tool in the armor and arsenal of security utilities. I've found the free version works best - Sorry Lavasoft!

    For my XP clients, I recommend they have at least a 1Ghz processor and 1Gbt of RAM to handle all the new Windows updates and AdAware's real time protection. They also need a relatively clean PC to get a proper installation. Also make sure all operating system updates are on board already. This will avert many of the problems folks seem to be having with ANY security product - actually. For I and my clents, we've had better luck doing clean boots using MSCONFIG before update the operating system on OEM computers.

    AdWatch keeps the crud off the PC in the first place so don't expect to find much malware. CCleaner will take care of cookies way faster, but I've had it find cookies that may have been Zombie cookies Piriform wasn't capable of removing yet, so I stand corrected if this is the case. Spybot Search & Destroy finally came out with an update recently but I haven't had a chance to compare them - they may conflict with each other, so be aware of the product compatibility list. I read that AdAware uses Viper as an anti-virus - which many technicians swear by, but I'm not ready to totally switch yet. I like Avast for an AV solution.

    I am not a paid reviewer - I just want a safer networking environment for everyone. I work totally independently. I do not sell software, and am not a partner of anyone.

    If you want an ad blocker use SpywareBlaster or MVPS for Windows. They will work very well with AdAware. Please don't be mistaken that this is an advertisement blocking solution. MBAM has a good IP blocker for the bad ad servers if you want that kind of utility. I like using it with AdAware too. I do NOT notice any slow downs, but I run the updater manually because it won't do it automatically(on the free one anyway), so I like to right click the icon in the systray to select update. This avoids slow startup of the console. I rarely need to open the console except to shut the anti-virus down in the AdWatch control. This is a modern solution, so don't expect it to work rapidly on older computers or competitors like McAfee that purposely try to sabotage the performance. Friends don't let friends do McCrappy. I will update this review if I find a better solution, or any improvement/problems with future versions.

    Updated on Nov 1, 2013

    A new company has bought out AdAware, and they have a funky background according a Register article published at the time. I can no longer, in good conscious recommend AdAware, and have stopped using it myself; but at least one of my clients tried to get along with out it with disastrous results - so to each his own - as they say.

    They also made it impossible to turn of the AV module, and I'm not ready to go that route.

    I found that loading the anti-malware version of Windows Defender, SpywareBlaster, and Spybot Search & Destroy, went a long way to bridge the gap - the new MBAM (MalwareBytes-Anti-Malware) may actually substitute it well now that the Pro version is greatly improved.

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  • Reply by JCitizen on June 19, 2011

    Just an addendum: The free version will update automatically on XP, but not with new OS. I don't think it works very well behind a hardware firewall/gateway any way. I don't mind doing it manually.

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