One of the first applications built to find and remove adware and spyware, Ad-Aware's excellent reputation is well-justified. While the 2007 edition is still free, it does have some new features that may make you reconsider the height of the pedestal it sits on.
First off, the app's updater is now permanently on, running in your system's background. The irony of Ad-Aware running potential spyware is not lost on us. The interface has also been completely overhauled, and it's a bit more confusing. There are six tabs in the nav bar. Status and Scan initiate adware scans, and finish with a line-item list so you can select which components to remove and create a system restore point. The context menu offers some information about suspected adware, though it's light on details.
Other navbar buttons include Ad-Watch, offering real-time defenses but only in the paid version. Plug-ins are disabled in the free version, but the Tools and Plug-ins tab hosts TrackSweep, the new browsing tracks cleaner. Smoothly integrated into the app, it wipes the cache, cookies, and history, and other breadcrumbs left by major browsers. We couldn't help but notice, though, that the Web Update tab, which controls definition file and software updates, ran far more sluggishly than in previous editions, and sometimes even crashed the program.
The Settings tab provides access to auto-scans, browsers, scanning, the interface, and log files. The app does an excellent job of removing most malware components, although rescanning is necessary for a seriously infected machine. The freeware restrictions are mildly irritating, but they're nothing compared to some of the serious stability and background processes in the 2007 version. However, it is a fully functional adware remover, and it continues to do that well. With some hesitation, we recommend Ad-Aware 2007 as part of your arsenal.
With the ability to scan your RAM, Registry, hard drives, and external storage devices for known data-mining, advertising, and tracking components, Ad-Aware 2007 easily can clean your system, allowing you to maintain a higher degree of privacy while you surf the Web.
Ad-Aware 2007 includes a redesigned engine, improved code sequence identification, incremental definition updates, one-click Web-history cleanup, multiple browser support, and other new features. Version 22.214.171.124 adds Windows Vista (32-bit) compatibility.
Note: After installation, the program will ask you for a registration code. Just hit Cancel to run the free version.
What's new in this version:
Version 126.96.36.199 adds Windows Vista (32-bit) compatibility.