Ad-Aware Free Internet Security
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Full user review
"Still the best I could find, but not perfect."
Quickly found and remove not only spyware, but tracking cookies and tracking programs.
1.) Heuristics based scanning found many false positives. While I could "ignore" them in future scans I found no way to report these false positives to Lavasoft.
2.) Program loads itself automatically with no option to disable.
While Ad Aware is still the best I can find it has too many bells and whistles I simply don't need. "Ad-Watch Live!" is one feature I would not wish to use. While there was a simple means of disabling Ad-Watch there is no option under settings to disable launch on start up nor is it visible under msconfig > startup. This means that every time I launch my computer I have to shut it down which makes Ad-Aware just one more program I don't want to deal with when I don't need it.
The Heuristics based scanning was another major problem for me. Even programs I wrote on my own computer showed up as a threat. Since I know there is nothing virus like about my programs something is seriously screwy with the detection methods. While I appreciated the ability to ignore these false positives in future scans it concerns me that Lavasoft appears to have no interest in making sure it's scans are accurate. A simple "Report as False Positive" button would help create a list of safe programs which would make the Heuristics more reliable. For example, if it is know that a given program will always show up as a virus a virus programmer can exploit that weakness since the user would assume it's another false positive. If Lavasoft allowed users to report false positives the program could instead tell us if it changed. Things like that would be useful.
I honestly like the program interface better 10 years ago when I first found Ad Aware. No messy heuristics or Ad-Watch. It ran when I wanted it to and did nothing more than scan.