Spybot - Search & Destroy - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Spybot - Search & Destroy

CNET Editors' review

Spybot Search & Destroy is a free antispyware utility that targets adware, malicious code, and other threats. It also cleans security tracks, shreds files, and tweaks the Registry. The optional TeaTimer feature protects the Registry from real-time attacks. Spybot isn't a replacement for a full antivirus program, though it does detect and remove some threats. It's a constantly updated, on-demand adware and malware scanner you can run regularly to sweep your system. Spybot S&D is free for personal use.

Spybot's Setup screen let us choose which components to install, including skins, languages, and integration with Security Center. A pop-up message warned against removing ad robots lest their associated apps stop working, but we were more interested in what the average user experiences when running Spybot, so we just left things as they were downloaded.

Before it scans your system, Spybot asks to back up your registry -- let it. It only takes a minute or two. Even though the risk is low, Spybot has the power to delete what you let it delete, and a backup can save your bacon if something goes wrong. When we finished the setup process, Spybot asked if we wanted to read the tutorial or the help manual or start using the program. We opted for the extensive manual, which covers everything from basic options to settings for visually impaired users. Spybot's been around since the days of Windows 95, with many updates, so users have abundant resources: tutorials, FAQs, how-tos, forums, and so on.

It sounds like a long path to running Spybot, but in fact it's a quick and easy process. The main tool, Search & Destroy, has three buttons: Check for Problems, Recovery, and Updates (Spybot's menu also offers Recovery and Immunize features). The program offered a Hint of the Day while it scanned, though our initial scan took a lot longer than the tool tip took to read. Spybot found adware burrowed into our test PC. We had to run Spybot again as an Administrator and reboot to clean it all. But that's thorough cleaning and fine with us. Security-minded users should definitely try Spybot Search & Destroy.

Spybot - Search & Destroy:

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    4.2 stars

    out of 5,694 votes

    • 5 star: 3326
    • 4 star: 1372
    • 3 star: 316
    • 2 star: 166
    • 1 star: 514
  • Current version:

    2.9 stars

    out of 32 votes

    • 5 star: 9
    • 4 star: 5
    • 3 star: 3
    • 2 star: 4
    • 1 star: 11
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 32

  • 5.0 stars

    "I feel like I stole this."

    April 22, 2014  |   By zelphx

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.2

    Pros

    FREE
    Updated very often
    Easy (but new) user interface
    FREE

    Cons

    I have used S&D for years; there just is no "bad" I can think of.

    Summary

    Better than most that you pay for.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "useful addition to your existing anti-virus"

    April 19, 2014  |   By cholly67

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.2

    Pros

    Stops annoying adverts (particularly on Facebook), scans and removes low-level threats including spyware & adware.
    Free.

    Cons

    GUI more complicated than the old Spybot.

    Summary

    Yes, def worth having in addition to your anti-virus if only to reduce the number of irritating animated ads you see on screen. Won't stop them all, but it's a start. Also has other features like info on start-up programs so you can disable resource-hoggers, and a file shredder.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Dr. Kolla where are you?"

    April 12, 2014  |   By Gangrelle

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.2

    Pros

    There are no pros.

    Cons

    New version is crap. I don't think Dr. Kolla (the original author) is involved with Spybot S&D anymore.
    The new version does not remove what it finds and it does not even find all of the malware that 1.6.2 found.
    Don't waste the bandwidth downloading this p.o.s.
    Use Malwarebytes and AVG/Avira/Avast instead.

    Remember "Peter Norton Where are you?" Same thing is going on here I think. Dr. Kolla seems to have retired or something and his product has been handed over to someone else.

    Summary

    I was a big supporter of Spybot S&D for YEARS. Now, with this new version, I say "Spybot Sucks."
    Uninstall, find a different tool.
    Save your donation.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Excellent if you get to keep it"

    April 3, 2014  |   By tomfrom66

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.2

    Pros

    Found loads of the bad stuff which others miss out

    Cons

    Despite sending a donation, it stopped updating.

    Summary

    Avoid!

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Previously one of the best"

    March 25, 2014  |   By Hank_T

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.2

    Pros

    Free something

    Cons

    Version 2.2 has repeatedly found a few suspicious cookies and highlights them for action. When I select delete, I expect them to be deleted - they are not. The same cookies show up on subsequent scans.

    System scan says it took 12.469 seconds - look at the log and there is only one entry repeated several dozen times: loaded databases.

    Opened file scan to check the C drive - "out of memory" a few minutes after selecting the drive under "folder select".

    Summary

    It seems that the new focus as a commercial product has destroyed Spybot Search & Destroy.

    Good grief - while typing this the adware popup just went off again. Spybot didn't find the culprit so I'll try Malwarebytes.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Be prepared to WORK at this"

    March 20, 2014  |   By tom.piper

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.2

    Pros

    None so far.

    Cons

    I had ad-ware. Bad for me, but I downloaded the free version; ran everything, include immunization. No effect. Lucky for me, a Windows restore point got rid of the adware and only cost me 4 or 5 days of work to reinstall everything (fairly new machine). So far: adware 1, spybot 0. Then I ponied up $26 for the spybot pro version, hoping to be able to restore what I had done. It turns out to be a LOT of manual labor, with me having to guess what I need to do. At the end, it makes a "bootable CD" that is only 256 megs; that CANNOT contain the data needed to restore my system. WTFingF? So far, I have nothing but lots of time and work for -- nothing.

    Summary

    Free version does nothing; paid Pro version wastes your time.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "It's good to try."

    March 18, 2014  |   By NEXUN

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.2

    Pros

    Easy to use and Effectively.

    Cons

    None of that.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Underrated"

    March 7, 2014  |   By societygarlic

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.2

    Pros

    I like the new UI. Excellent detection, easy to use and has decent features. Though I'm not sure if they finally made immunization available for chrome.

    Cons

    Very slow to scan, but you shouldn't be on the computer when you're running virus/spyware scans anyway!

    Summary

    Not sure why people are complaining about scan times and auto/updates but this software really does the job. And not half-arsed like many others (malwarebytes, ad-aware). I really like the simplicity of the UI now too. You don't need to manually select the defintions/ optional TeaTimer bullcrap lol

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Unsure of product"

    February 27, 2014  |   By roughnready

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.2

    Pros

    NONE that I can see

    Cons

    To be honest I don't think it is even working. I am still getting pop ups that it claims to have in quarantine. I have to do all scans manually have not figured out how to set up scan all the time. I will be uninstalling later today.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "New Version is crap!"

    February 22, 2014  |   By Benzedirk1990

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.2

    Pros

    Scan virus... found virus... click remove.... reboot.. gone.. Donate sent!

    Cons

    New Version is hard to use looks nice but, just not feeling it!

    Summary

    I sent spybot over 10 donations for recovering my system back from
    Virus i got from looking at porn.

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Results 1-10 of 32

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