1. Computing

The Top 5 Anti-Spyware Programs

Numbers 5 and 4

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Stopping spyware (“malware”) is more than a one-time inoculation, folks. This is about a weekly habit of cleaning "nasty dust bunnies" from your personal computer. In much the same way you clean your home with your favorite broom and your favorite cleaning solvents, you will also need good tools to clean spyware out of your PC.

Here is our suggestion list. After collating the opinions of several About readers and the About writing staff, we believe that these five anti-spyware tools (aka "spyware killers") will give you maximum value for your money.


Editor’s Comment: as good as these following tools are, they are also imperfect. In particular, these tools vary in their detection algorithms and their signature/definition vocabularies. Accordingly, we suggest you use two or three of these anti-spyware programs as a combination defense.



  • Number 5: Spybot Search & Destroy
    Cost: Free
    About.com Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
    Editor’s comment: While Spybot is known for catching less than 95% of common infections, there are two big reasons why you want to use this product. Firstly: the SDHelper and TeaTimer functions do help significantly in keeping downloaded spyware from actually rooting itself onto your drive. Secondly: the price is perfect. If you install Spybot as part of a multi-program defense, then definitely try this product.

  • Number 4: Microsoft Windows Defender
    Cost: Free
    About.com Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    Editor’s comment: Somewhat more thorough than Spybot, this new free offering from Microsoft is worth trying. Included in Windows Vista or downloadable from the link above, Microsoft Defender will work well as part of a combination defense, perhaps with Spybot.

Next: The Top 3 Anti-Spyware Programs of 2010

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