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InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter No. 13 - Review of Microsoft's Free AntiSpyware Program             Feb. 02, 2005
 
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Welcome to our thirteenth InfoHQ Tech Watch Newsletter - Review of Microsoft's Free AntiSpyware Beta 1 Program.

Rating: 9 out of 10 IQs - Highly Recommended

Related InfoHQ Articles

Spyware and Adware Facts

In this newsletter we discuss spyware and adware, and how to protect your computer from it.

Fighting Back Against Email Spammers, Internet Hackers, and other Web Thieves

We all need to make a conscious effort to keep viruses and worms from attacking our computers by using firewall and antivirus programs. If you would like to learn more about viruses and worms, and how you can protect your computer, please see our article.

Forward

In early January 2005, Microsoft jumped into the antispyware business in a big way by releasing the beta version of it's new antispyware software. It was previously known as Giant Antispyware before Microsoft purchased it.. I never used the software before Microsoft got its hands on it, but I must say that this is a very powerful and promising free software release. Before we go on with the review, let's take a look at the features and system requirements of the product.

System Requirements

- Minimum system requirements for Windows AntiSpyware (Beta):
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher (for real time scanning)
- A 300 MHz or faster processor with at least 64 MB of RAM
- Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server™ 2003
- At least 10 MB of available free space on your hard disk
- Internet access with at least a 28.8 Kbps connection to use SpyNet™

Product Features

- Real-time antispyware scanning
- Scheduled file scanning
- Automatic updates
- A voluntary, worldwide SpyNet™ reporting community
- In-depth information on discovered spyware

Microsoft's AntiSpyware Web Site

Download Location

Review

I have been using this program for 2 weeks and I am very impressed by this product. It is the only freeproduct that I am aware of that has real time spyware memory scanning for Internet Explorer, also it is much more customizable than any other free virus checker out there.

Another nice feature is it's built in scheduler. Set up the time and frequency you want the spyware file checker to run, select what you want the program to do if it finds spyware, and walla, you have an automatic defense established against spyware of all types. The spyware program will also automatically download updates so you are also relieved of that headache and you can be confident that your spyware program is able to deal with new versions of spyware. Microsoft also uses infection reports from all computers running its spyware program to detect new spyware threats (you can choose not to participate). Microsoft calls this spyware reporting process SpyNet™.

So ... Does it Work?

Yes it works quite well. On my first scan it detected two spyware programs that the highly respected Ad Aware 6 antispyware program did not find (they were probably leftover fragments of spyware programs, as I had no indication any spyware was running). In addition, it detects and removes the same spyware that Ad Aware 6 usually found.

 Rating: 9 out of 10 IQs - Highly Recommended

Conclusion

I can't say enough good things about this free product. Install it, set it up, and then quit worrying about spyware. The only drawbacks to the product are; 1. It will only run until July 2005 before it requires you to reregister with Microsoft's web site and 2. Microsoft will not say if it will still be available a s a free product.
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