Product Reviews: Ad-Aware
You never can be too safe these days, especially with all the adware programs circulating throughout the web. It's even worse when you consider that some of these programs do more than serve advertisements. Some of them are spyware applications that can impact you in various ways. Fortunately, there are numerous options for keeping these troublesome programs in check and away from your computer.
Lavasoft's Ad-Aware is one of the first anti-spyware programs and also the most well known. While their 2008 edition will not find more sophisticated forms of malware, it is rather efficient at detecting known spyware. It offers a feature-rich package that includes updates, real-time monitoring and rollback capabilities. We will share a review of the Ad-Aware 2008 Pro edition to help determine if it's worth your money.
Setup and Interface
Ad-Aware is a quick and easy setup. The interface is clean with simple controls. Some of the advanced configurations might be somewhat confusing for the novice, mainly because they as so technical. There is however, an easy accessible Help icon that will provide insight on some of the advanced controls. The update feature can also be found on the main interface. This feature
must be accessed at least once a week to assure protection against the latest spyware programs. This is unattractive when considering that most security software provides automatic updates.
One new feature in Ad-Aware Pro is the integrated pop-up blocker. Although this is a great edition that will spare you of buying a separate solution, it doesn't have the best popup blocking capability. The real-time monitoring feature is pretty reliable and gives a warning when you unknowingly attempt to download adware or spyware. Additionally, it allows you to block Active X and other web installations that may enable malicious downloads. The rollback feature is also useful as it allows you to restore any critical files that may have been removed with the infection.
Overall, Ad-Aware Pro is lacking in regard to support. The response time to emails is incredibly long and speaking with a live representative is almost impossible. This is very disheartening since the product seems to be aimed towards technically sound users and IT professionals. However, the Help file is rather in depth with graphics that will explain the important product features. There is also a robust FAQs page on their website which acts as a great self-help tool.
The 2008 edition of Ad-Aware does a solid job at detecting annoying adware and some of the most elusive spyware programs. Real-time protection is very useful when surfing and downloading content from the web. The product serves the most benefits to the technically inclined and should be fairly comprehensive to someone with that level of experience. The downside is that Ad-Aware is more expensive than similar products and also lacks a few standard features. The fact that technical support is less than stellar could be a huge turn off for some users. Unless you're familiar with other Lavasoft anti-spyware products, an easy to use program like Webroot's Spy Sweeper might be a better option. To save yourself some money, you could give the free version of Ad-Aware a try to see if it is to your liking.