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Spybot - Search & Destroy has been in the antispyware game for a long time offering features we've come to expect in the best apps in the category, but bugs and false positives make it difficult to recommend.
The program checks your system against a comprehensive database of adware and other system invaders. It also features several interface improvements, including multiple skins for dressing up its appearance. Scan results now appear arranged by groups in a tree, and a sliding panel lets you instantly view information about a selected item to help you decide whether to kill it or not. The Immunize feature blocks a plethora of uninvited Web-borne flotsam before it reaches your computer. Other useful tools, including Secure Shredder, complement the program's basic functionality for completely destroying files. Hosts File blocks adware servers from your computer, and System Startup lets you review which apps load when you start your computer.
Unfortunately, the program has the tendency to lock up at times and even during the install process for this review, we encountered several errors. The ambitious feature list and functionality make Spybot a good choice for those in search of a second antispyware program, and recent updates have made it run faster. It still makes errors in flagging spyware that isn't, and overall there are others in the category that do a better job.
Operating system: Windows Vista, Windows 95, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 98