Sunday, November 21, 2004

Spyware Tool -- Ad-Aware SE Personal (version 1.06)

Ad-Aware Personal SE

Ad-Aware Personal SE Screen Shot (click on the image to enlarge)

The personal edition of Ad-Aware is a scanner much like an anti-virus checker only looking for spyware. It does not have the “Immunize” function that Spybot possesses unless you purchase an advanced version that has something called “Ad-Watch”. The reason I use Ad-Aware is that it sometimes finds things that Spybot does not. I have also found that Spybot sometimes finds things that Ad-Aware does not. As a result, I have found it is best to use both programs. The default settings in Ad-Aware work pretty well for me and probably for most people so I won’t cover them here. The help file does a good job of explaining things if you want to change the settings.

When you first open Ad-Aware, the “Status” screen is displayed. The screen has an option called “Check for updates now” that you should use before performing a scan. After you search and download any available updates, you can then perform a scan by clicking on the “Start” button on the “Status” screen. There are four options that appear on the following screen. I always perform the “full scan” to be sure to search everything. The “smart” scan option is faster but it may miss some objects.

I haven’t had many problems. Once it didn’t let me know that new version was available although the version I was using would still receive updates. Another time I had some objects that Ad-Aware could not remove. I would get a prompt asking if it could run Ad-Aware at the next start-up. If I said yes, it would run the program at the next start-up but would fail to get rid of the spyware. I found that I could get rid of it by starting Windows in “Safe Mode”. This is a little known Windows function that you access by pushing F8 repeatedly during the initial starting sequence of your computer. It will then bring you to a screen where you can select “Safe Mode”. Windows will start and look normal except it will display “Safe Mode” along the outside edge of your screen. I then started Ad-Aware and ran a full scan. After the scan, I was able to remove the spyware objects without getting the prompt to start Ad-Aware at the next start-up.

Their site states that Ad-Aware is compatible with Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP and 2003. The download consists of a single file, aawsepersonal.exe, which you double click with a file manager to install. After installation, the executable is Ad-Aware.exe.

Ad-Aware Personal SE Home Page

Download Ad-Aware Personal SE


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