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best anti-spyware for windows xp

Last response: in Windows XP
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November 20, 2005 3:24:27 AM

I've read back a few posts with interest and have noted most of the discussion on security is about anti-virus software. However although I have had problems with viruses in the past most problems on my computer (and many others, I suspect) are now caused by spyware that are not detected by anti-virus progs. I'm currently using an older version of windows but will soon be getting a new computer with windows xp. I've been experimenting on my current computer with a number of trial anti-spyware packages (there seem to be very many of them). These include:

spybot (freeware)
ad-aware (freeware)

I've found that these freeware progs identify many of the more 'harmless' types of spyware (internet cookies) together with 1 or 2 of the more serious ones, but no more than that.

Spyware doctor
spy sweeper (by webroot)
spyhunter
true sword

Of these I found that 'true sword' detected a good number (20 or so) of exe files that had been corrupted in some way by spyware (the exe files had either been copied to a different location and corrupted or were new exe files put on computer by malicious spyware).

My question for discussion is therefore, what is the most effective anti-spyware program (or combination of programs)? My preference is one (or 2) that requires a single one-off payment in return for unlimited free updates (rather than one that requires regular subscriptions).

More about : anti spyware windows

November 20, 2005 3:36:07 AM

Pest Patrol by Computer Associates ($$$) is one I've had good success with. Microsoft Anti-Spyware might be a #2 to consider.
November 20, 2005 10:42:48 AM

You are going to get many recommendations and mixed results. The main problem is that *spyware* is ill-defined. When you get your machine be sure to keep current with the Windows updates and then install one or two of the free programs.

I use AdAware and Spybot. But with ZoneAlarm pro having spyware detection these other two rarely find anything.
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November 20, 2005 2:36:27 PM

I use Ad-Aware and MS Spyware... Works for me, especially the free parts.... :wink:
BTW, Avast Home Edition ranks as the best free anti-virus along with SyGate's Free firewall
November 20, 2005 3:56:54 PM

Thanks for your replies, I find it useful to get the opinion of others. I've since had a go at using that free avast anti-virus and wasn't too impressed with it next to nortons anti virus (which I've been using for about 5 years now keeping it updated and never had any problems with viruses). Part of the problem is that avast took about an hour to scan my computer, which is an old p3-800 and then didn't find any viruses and just a few harmless bits of spyware (cookies). However I'm thinking of the next computer (and operating system) I'll be getting which will be at least an athlon 4200 dual core with much more ram. Also tried zonealarm firewall which gave up some interesting results, never realised there were so many computers out there trying to get access to my computer! (it reports that just since yesterday it has blocked over 200 'intrusions' and even as I write this it has just blocked another one). So for new computer and o/s I'll probably go with existing norton anti virus and new norton firewall, which I've heard is quite good, although heavy on system resources. However I've heard that norton anti spyware is currently not so good (although one day it may be) so I'm still not sure about what anti-spyware to use. Maybe a combination of true sword and spyware doctor (together with occasional use of ms's own anti-spyware). Definintely not one of the other freebie anti-spyware progs! (I've tried those and they failed to find most dangerous bits of spyware eg. hijacked exe files). Would suggest try running trial version of true sword (that just scans the computer and gives you just 3 free problem fixes) and see what that throws up! Following all this testing of these various security progs I now find I've lost all my bookmarks!

On a different subject, someone recommended d/loading windows updates, well I tried that with my existing o/s and it resulted in problems (slower system, can no longer use internet explorer because it now keeps crashing). So I'm now a bit suspicious of d/loading any updates for windows xp!
November 24, 2005 12:22:29 PM

Yup...that is an older system and I'm sure when you upgrade to something with more speed everything will run quicker.

As for scan times, you don't say what type of scan and how many GBs you're scanning and whether or not you did this with Norton removed or not...lots of variables there. And it is a PIII 800...:) 

Quote:
On a different subject, someone recommended d/loading windows updates, well I tried that with my existing o/s and it resulted in problems (slower system, can no longer use internet explorer because it now keeps crashing). So I'm now a bit suspicious of d/loading any updates for windows xp!


What is your existing OS? A newer machine with an updated OS is going to give you better results all around.
November 24, 2005 1:22:08 PM

Panda Platinum Internet Security is very good... antivirus, firewall, antispyware, antispam... all work well and it seems to take up less resources than Norton. Scans are usually very quick and I haven't had any issues. I used to swear by Norton... but ToeJam got me into Panda.
November 25, 2005 5:30:42 PM

I've since had a bit more time to try out these various security software, including zonealarm (but not panda). If zonealarm is typical of what a firewall will do to affect overall pc use I don't think I'll be using a firewall! forget the details now, but I uninstalled it because it restricted me in what I could do on the pc! It also lost me all my bookmarks on my browser. I might just go for 2 anti-spyware packages (not sure which yet, possibly true sword to protect against .exe file highjacking and spyware doctor for all the other spyware) and norton anti-virus as back-up. Might take a look at panda.

I'm sure that avast is very popular and works well as anti-virus, but I'm always highly suspicious about software that is easy to install but provides no uninstall option! Had to uninstall it manually. Reminds me of my aol internet software disaster, which hard-coded itself into the o/s which resulted in me having to reformat hard drive, bad clusters and all.
November 26, 2005 12:27:06 AM

Call for Help on (G4) tech tv did a review of spyware removers. The test was out of 40 infections. No product found all 40! Pest Patrol was the best at 36? i think, the free ones worked ok, adaware didn't do that well.

So to put it simply, no one product found them all. The best thing to do it your case, start with pest patrol, then just do another scan with a free one to see what turned up.

BTW, The symantech one sucked i think. That was a month ago so I can't really remember too well.

-dragonx
November 26, 2005 4:04:49 PM

Dragon your findings corroborate my own really. I'm not surprised adaware didn't do all that well, that is what I found as well, although I'm quite surprised at the number of people here that swear by it. I'm not expecting any one product to detect 100% of spyware, hence why I will probably need to go for 2. That will probably be my main line of defence rather than running a firewall, which can seriously hamper computer use!

Symantech don't seem at the moment to have their act together re. spyware detection, but it is a fast moving industry and they are 1 of the big guns and I would expect that in a years time they will be up there.
December 1, 2005 3:10:07 PM

Firewalls prevent more than spyware infections... and can even be ineffective against them. Your best bet is a hardware firewall, with anti-spyware software installed.

My computer use isn't hampered in any way... you just have to know how to configure your firewall to allow the applications you need to get through.
December 1, 2005 6:47:06 PM

Quote:
Firewalls prevent more than spyware infections... and can even be ineffective against them. Your best bet is a hardware firewall, with anti-spyware software installed.

My computer use isn't hampered in any way... you just have to know how to configure your firewall to allow the applications you need to get through.
Best advice I've heard! :D  At home I have two hardware firewalls. (one built into DSL modem, one built into WAN/LAN/WLAN router) I've configured the crap out of them to block everything I don't use, and I've never been happier. (Or safer.) It may be time consuming (and occasionally annoying when games don't tell you all of the ports they use) but it's well worth it.
!