By now, the threat of spyware has become as prevalent as that of viruses. Consequently, there are a ton of spyware removal programs out there. Why should you choose one program to delete spyware over the other? Well there are a few reasons, but generally it comes down to features and greater protection. If a spyware scanner has some unique features, like advanced registry options, then that’s a good reason to use it. Also, some scanners don’t have a lot of options, but have a good library of threats to protect against.
Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware is a good example of the latter. It may not be as feature-laden as Spybot Search and Destroy, which has a ridiculous number of tools, but it is a very lightweight alternative with good spyware coverage.
Until recently, my only two programs to delete spyware were Spybot S&D, as I mentioned before, and Spyware Blaster, which is a preventative blacklist. Now I’m considering adding Malwarebytes to my list. The install is very quick because there really aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on the program. While some might see this as a downside, when installing spyware protection on a new machine or on the machine of a less-techy person, Malwarebytes is quick and non-confusing.
After install, check to see that the updates are as recent as possible. This is done on the “Update” tab. It should automatically update upon install, which is another nicety for a quick start, but I’d double-check. Once you’re all updated, try scanning. A short scan will target common hot-spots and a full scan will cover everything but take a long time. Here’s a scan I ran recently:
The scanner will show what area is being scanned, how many objects have been scanned, and how many have come up as problems. The time on this scan is relatively short, but you may want to use it during a period of inactivity, as your system will slow dramatically during the scan. Here are the results of that scan:
After being scanned by Spybot S&D, Malwarebytes found a number of nasty little files lurking. Most of these were in the registry or in infected program files. This shows the value of having mulitple spyware libraries from which to run scans. Also, if you already have Spybot S&D or something similar, there is no reason to have duplicate tools.
The program does have a few more options open to you. You can restrict what is scanned and you can also add a contextual right-click option to scan individual files.
This second option is handy for anytime you have to download a file that you think is suspect. Most virus-scanners also have this capability, but this will check for malware as well.
Malwarebytes has two extra tools on board. The first is a set of bug-reporters and false positive flaggers that will help make the network more efficient in hunting out spyware.
Also, there is a program for deleting locked files. This can be handy when you need to delete a file that is either in use (which is generally unadvisable) or simply corrupted and difficult to delete by normal means.
Good luck managing your spyware and remember that having multiple programs installed is the best way to eliminate the need for frustrating repairs and reformattings.