One of the first applications built to find and remove adware and spyware, Ad-Aware's excellent reputation is well-justified. The 2008 edition looks to be more of a course correction from some of the missteps in the 2007 version.
The adware and malware detection engine has undergone a significant overhaul, resulting in faster scan times and improved rootkit detection. New users should notice that the app performs faster than integrated antivirus and antimalware programs: That's because only the paid version of Ad-Aware comes with a new antivirus engine. Only users of Ad-Aware's paid versions reap that benefit.
The updater is no longer permanently on, and it instead runs in your system's background only if you activate it--eliminating a big problem with last year's model. The interface improvements include six skins, cleanly designed tabbed navigation for each of the program's main functions, and easy-to-see red Xs and green check marks to indicate a features status.
Besides the antivirus integration, other features disabled in the free version include the real-time Ad-Watch guard, heuristics scanning, the scheduler, and plug-ins. Although Ad-Aware detects and removes malware with ease, we hesitate to recommend it as anything more than a secondary detection engine considering that many free competitors offer more features and similar, if not stronger, levels of effectiveness.
With the ability to scan your RAM, Registry, hard drives, and external storage devices for known data-mining, advertising, and tracking components, Ad-Aware 2008 can clean your system easily, allowing you to maintain a higher degree of privacy while you surf the Web.
Ad-Aware 2008 includes an improved threat detection, enhanced rootkit removal system, faster updates, Lavasoft ThreatWork to submit suspicious files for analysis, and is now compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Vista. Version 220.127.116.11 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes.
What's new in this version:
Version 18.104.22.168 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes.