With the ability to scan your RAM, Registry, hard drives, and external storage devices for known data-mining, advertising, and tracking components, Ad-Aware 2008 can clean your system easily, allowing you to maintain a higher degree of privacy while you surf the Web.
Ad-Aware 2008 includes an improved threat detection, enhanced rootkit removal system, faster updates, Lavasoft ThreatWork to submit suspicious files for analysis, and is now compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Vista.
Great protection with a catch
One of the first applications built to find and remove adware and spyware, Ad-Aware's excellent reputation is well-justified. The 2008 edition looks to be more of a course correction from some of the missteps in the 2007 version.
The adware and malware detection engine has undergone a significant overhaul, resulting in faster scan times and improved rootkit detection. New users should notice that the app performs faster than integrated antivirus and antimalware programs: That's because only the paid version of Ad-Aware comes with a new antivirus engine. Only users of Ad-Aware's paid versions reap that benefit.
The updater is no longer permanently on, and it instead runs in your system's background only if you activate it--eliminating a big problem with last year's model. The interface improvements include six skins, cleanly designed tabbed navigation for each of the program's main functions, and easy-to-see red Xs and green check marks to indicate a features status.
Besides the antivirus integration, other features disabled in the free version include the real-time Ad-Watch guard, heuristics scanning, the scheduler, and plug-ins. Although Ad-Aware detects and removes malware with ease, we hesitate to recommend it as anything more than a secondary detection engine considering that many free competitors offer more features and similar, if not stronger, levels of effectiveness.