Ad-Aware Pro Security 11: Solidify Your PC Security & Stop Threats [Rewards]

Aaron Couch 03-02-2014

Do you ever wish you had anti-malware superpowers on your side when threats are popping up left, right and center?


Although proper browsing habits and common sense malware-prevention steps 7 Common Sense Tips to Help You Avoid Catching Malware The Internet has made a lot possible. Accessing information and communicating with people from far away has become a breeze. At the same time, however, our curiosity can quickly lead us down dark virtual alleys... Read More  can go a far way, you shouldn’t necessarily rely on your own ability to prevent your computer from coming into contact with the wrong file or website — we’ve all made that mistake and clicked on a malicious link or downloaded a sketchy file from an email. That’s where Ad-Aware Pro Security 11 comes in.

Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware Pro security suite is your sidekick in the fight against Internet villains, collectively known as malware. Curious about the features that make this real-time security suite stand out?

The Installation: A Few Quick Notes

1 Ad-Aware Pro Security Installation - Installing (cropped)

The installation for Ad-Aware Pro is pretty hands-off, although it’s certainly not something you can start, walk away from, come back to and it be completed — it does require you to click a few buttons occasionally. One of the very first things I was prompted to do was to install in Compatibility Mode due to Windows Defender already being present. As everyone should know, you shouldn’t have two antivirus programs running in real-time simultaneously, as conflicts can occur.

2 Compatible install


You’ll also notice in the image above that there is a place to select different languages, and decide if you want a desktop icon to be added. Personally, I like a clean, icon-free desktop How to Clean Up Your Windows Desktop Once and For All Do you look at your Windows desktop and wonder how to clean it up? Here are some decluttering tips that can make you productive. Read More , so I opted out by unchecking the box.

On the topic of “opting out,” you should also be aware of the security toolbar that comes packaged inside the installation. If you’re like me, and toolbars aren’t your thing, you’ll probably want to be sure not to quickly click “Next,” but instead uncheck the boxes (just to be sure) and click the light-gray “Skip” button in the lower, left-ish corner.

3 Ad-Aware Pro Security Installation - Activate Web Protection

After this, you’ll be prompted to download and install the latest definitions.


4 Ad-Aware Pro Security Installation - Downloading Definitions (cropped)

5 Ad-Aware Pro Security Installation - Applying Definitions (cropped)

The installer will then prompt an initial antivirus scan.

6 Ad-Aware Pro Security Installation - Initial Virus Scan (cropped)


After the scan, you’ll be prompted to register and activate Ad-Aware Pro Security 11.

7 Ad-Aware Pro Security Installation - Register and Activate

A Slight Hiccup In The Installation

8 Ad-Aware Pro Security Installation - Windows Virus Protection Balloon

During the installation process, Windows alerted me that there was no antivirus currently installed. Initially, this wasn’t a surprise as I expected there to be a slight delay between Windows Defender being automatically disabled (as it’s intended to be when another antivirus program is installed) and Ad-Aware taking over the real-time protection.


9 Windows Action Center - Security Problems

However, Ad-Aware Pro Security 11 didn’t automatically reinstate, upon me trying to manually launch real-time protection from the Action Center.

10 Windows Action Center - Choose antivirus option

11 Windows Action Center - do you trust this app

Upon further inspection, I discovered the culprit — Ad-Aware was oddly clashing with Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware.

12 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Home Protection Summary - Realtime Protection disabled

13 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Compatibility Issues (cropped)

I don’t have Malwarebytes running in real-time, so I’m not sure what the hang-up is, but if you use it as a secondary security protocol Make Sure You're Clean With These Free One-Time Scan Antivirus Tools [Windows] It sucks to be constantly bombarded by computer-related threats, whether they’re spyware, malware, viruses, keyloggers, or whatever else. A popular way to combat this problem is to install an antivirus solution that sits in the... Read More , you may run into this same issue. I hit “continue” because, again, since it’s not running in real-time, it poses no potential issues.

14 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Installing Real-time protection successfully installed (cropped)

I installed real-time protection and restarted my computer. However, if this happened to you as well, you likely won’t have Network Protection installed either, as shown below when I went to turn it on.

15 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Compatibility Issues - Network Protection Unavailable (cropped)

So instead of clicking “Restart” on the Real-Time Protection window, click the gray “Close” button in the lower left corner and proceed back to the Home Product Summary window and turn the other options (Web Protection, Email Protection and Network Protection) on too. Then restart Windows to finish the process.

16 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Installing Network Protection - Successful

Walk-Through Of The Interface And Features

My first impression of the software was that it appeared very sleek and uncluttered, unlike its version 10.5 counterpart. Ad-Aware Pro Security 11 takes on a flat, squared theme and its ease of use follows in its footsteps of simplicity. There are a total of 7 tabs, each tab containing the relevant information and settings for that section. There’s no other random “advanced settings” link located elsewhere in the window (with exception of the occasional one located under a specific tab, which isn’t confusing).

Home — Protection Summary

17 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Home Protection Summary - All enabled

This is your main page, which you’re already slightly familiar with, as this is where you would turn on those functions that I mentioned in the previous section. Here you have quick access to the various primary controls of Ad-Aware Pro and can also quickly run a scan.

Scanning Features

18 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Scan Computer 1

The “Scan Computer” tab is the next in line and features three scan modes: Quick Scan, Full Scan and Custom Scan.

19 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Scan Computer 2

Upon scrolling down further, you have access to the Report list, Quarantined Files, Definition Files settings and managing exclusion. You can also toggle the Automated Scan and adjust the schedule to your liking.

20 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Scan Computer - Automated scan

Real-Time Protection

21 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Real-Time Protection

With all this talk about “Real-Time Protection” you might be wondering what exactly it does. First off, if you’re unfamiliar with the term “real-time protection,” it means that as you use your computer, your antivirus program is constantly on alert for any potential threats. Ad-Aware Pro Security 11 features this capability and is capable of scanning both local files and network data and files.

Web Protection

22 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Web Protection

When Web Protection is turned on, it is actively inspecting network activity to and from the Internet and eliminates any online threats before they even get to you. Risks, such as navigating to shortened, potentially malicious URLs Reveal Where Short Links Really Go To With These URL Expanders A few years ago, I didn’t even know what a shortened URL was. Today, it’s all you see, everywhere, all the time. The rapid rise of Twitter brought a never-ending need to use as few... Read More and phishing What Exactly Is Phishing & What Techniques Are Scammers Using? I’ve never been a fan of fishing, myself. This is mostly because of an early expedition where my cousin managed to catch two fish while I caught zip. Similar to real-life fishing, phishing scams aren’t... Read More , are no longer a concern when you have the Ad-Aware Web Protection enabled.

You might have spotted the Parental Control settings in the above image as well, however, you must have Ad-Aware Total Security to use it.

23 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Web Protection - Parental Control Message

Email Protection

24 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Email Protection

The Email Protection settings is very simple, and there is really nothing to change unless you would like to adjust the protection level between “Aggressive,” “Normal” (default) and “Permissive.” If you check your email with a desktop client The 5 Best Free Email Clients for Your Desktop PC Want the best free email client? We've compiled the best email software for Windows, Mac, and Linux that won't cost you a dime. Read More , such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft Outlook, this function will scan all attachments you receive in incoming emails.

Network Protection

25 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Network Protection

Network Protection monitors all network activity and prevents malware from affecting any part of your computer through the network you’re connected to. You will notice the “Advanced Settings” link, which gives you complete control over the many aspects of network protection.

26 Ad-Aware Pro Security - Network Protection - Advanced Settings

App Management

27 Ad-Aware Pro Security - App Management 1

The App Management tab allows you to view and alter the settings concerning Ad-Aware Pro Security itself. Such features like toggling Gaming Mode, viewing the Notification Center and managing ignored notifications, as well as managing your account settings.

28 Ad-Aware Pro Security - App Management 2

In the above image, you will also notice links to get technical support, change the language and do a complete reset of all the Ad-Aware settings back to the defaults. There’s also a link to download Lavasoft’s free password manager, PasswordBox. Managing your passwords Use A Password Management Strategy To Simplify Your Life Much of the advice around passwords has been near-impossible to follow: use a strong password containing numbers, letters and special characters; change it regularly; come up with a completely unique password for each account etc.... Read More is essential when it comes to security, and although I personally use LastPass, PasswordBox appears to be a viable alternative.

Final Thoughts

Aside from the one hiccup during the installation process due to a (very odd) conflict with Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware, Ad-Aware Pro Security 11 was very impressive. The interface is clean and easy to navigate, making the learning curve practically negligible and the overall user experience great.

Lastly, if you aren’t able to get the pro version for one reason or another, Lavasoft has a free version for you to use instead.

Image Credits: Super hero/a> Via Shutterstock

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  1. Kimmo R
    February 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Sadly, went for the Pro version, 300 reward points...Some results: Windows 8.1 boot time tripled. Only "Real Time Protection" working, all others turned "off" and not able to turn them on. Search result links redirected to add/malware sites. Unistalled after 10 mins of testing.

  2. Christopher W
    February 4, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I turned off the email scanner (I use Gmail).

    Also, why can't they call "network protection" a firewall?

  3. Andrew W
    February 4, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I'm quite impressed with Ad-Aware Pro Security 11. The speed is not nearly as slow as the old days.

  4. Burt P
    February 3, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I, too, found the conflict with MalwareBytes. I removed it and re-installed Ad-aware Free Antivirus. Then I re-installed MalwareBytes. That resolved it. Otherwise Ad-Aware would only install as the secondary program.
    The other annoyance I could not resolve. Using Windows 8 Pro, each time I started the machine, Action Center alerted that the antivirus program was not active. Eventually, I removed Ad-Aware.
    I have had no problems with BitDefender Free or Avast Free antivirus. I do prefer Avast because I can add a password that protects the installation and program settings from those attacks that attempt to disable the antivirus program during the attack on the machine.