Spybot - Search & Destroy

Spybot - Search & Destroy

Editors' Rating:
Very good
Average User Rating:
out of 5705 votes
See all user reviews

Quick Specs

File Size:
Date Added:
January 26, 2009
Operating Systems:
Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008/7
Total Downloads:
Downloads Last Week:
Product ranking:
#4 in Anti-Spyware
Additional Requirements:
Not available

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.

Publisher's Description

More Products to Consider

All User Reviews
  • All Versions:


    out of 5705 votes

    • 5 star: 3329
    • 4 star: 1375
    • 3 star: 316
    • 2 star: 167
    • 1 star: 518
  • Current Version:


    out of 780 votes

    • 5 star: 332
    • 4 star: 289
    • 3 star: 57
    • 2 star: 42
    • 1 star: 60
  • My rating:

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    Results 1-2 of 2

  • 1 stars

    "Absolutely pathetic piece of junk!"

    September 06, 2014   |   By pickycustomer

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.4.40


    Pros? What pros?


    Cons? Too many!


    SpyBot S&D has...
    Terrible detection.
    Can't fix a thing.
    Immunize fails horribly.
    The ability to waste a users time and efforts not to mention HDD space.

    At one time SpyBot was one of the best. Anymore it's a total waste. When my last laptop was fried I bought a new laptop. The new laptop has never seen nor will it ever see SpyBot S&D. Period. I use avast free and MalwareBytes Premium along with Comodo Firewall and I feel completely safe. I will never, ever install SpyBot again. Neither should you. Period.

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  • 2 stars

    "screwed up my settings irreversibly"

    August 23, 2014   |   By gbferrell

    Version: Spybot - Search & Destroy 2.4.40


    Didn't use it enough to find any.


    After installing, updating and immunizing using default settings, it arbitrarily deleted my Recent Items list from my Start menu and I had to change my password to log into my Yahoo Mail again, after which I couldn't regain the better version and had to use the basic version of Yahoo Mail- apparently because of some kind of cookie setting that was changed. Likewise, I couldn't log into my Reverbnation.com account because it said cookies weren't allowed in my browser. I tried every setting I could find in IE 11 options, lowering security levels as far as possible in Security and Privacy tabs, but still couldn't log into Reverbnation.com or regain the advanced version of Yahoo Mail. I tried to use S&D's new 'undo fixing' function but that had no effect. I had to do a System Restore before I could regain previous access to the above-mentioned 2 websites. I've been using older versions of S&D for years and never had this type of problem. Wasted about 4 hours.


    S&D 2.4 over manages and screwed up my settings irreversibly. Thanks to Microsoft for System Restore.

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