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Updates – Winner: Spybot-S&D
Spybot Search and Destroy's (SS&D) updater beat Ad-Aware's (AAW) for it has option which component to update and allow you to choose update servers. As we already know, both vendors are offering free support forum and if we will look into update discussions on the said programs, most of the people will report problem after upgrading the software. Many times already, the new software update has caused problem so the option in SS&D to choose which component to download and install during update check is a great option.
AAW’s updater does not allow you to choose what to update: database or program update. Launching the updater from AAW’s UI or via start menu will automatically check, download and install available updates. There’s also ongoing issue with its updater giving people “Connection error” and it occurred during this test.
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Scanning: Winner: Spybot-S&D
Full system drive scan: It took 10 minutes for SS&D to scan my system drive (283GB) while AAW spent over 30 minutes to finish scanning the said drive. Note that the test system is malware free. Both anti-spyware programs did not find infection or false positive.
Single file scan: Both products are able to offer a right-click scan for files and folder without having to run the application in the background.
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Integration on Windows Security Center – Winner: Tie
SS&D and AAW will both report itself to Windows Security Center. Note only you can opt-out for Windows Security Center’s integration when installing SS&D. AAW’s Ad-Watch Live! will be integrated to Security Center in Windows by default.
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Real-time protection – Winner: Ad-Aware
Using Windows XP with I test again AAW and SS&D by allowing known Trojans, worm and rogue files to infect the system. TeaTimer of SS&D and Ad-Watch Live! by AAW able to alert a Trojan and rogue file. Both failed to detect the installer of a worm (Koobface) and another Trojan downloader. AAW immediately run a scan and offer a removal of the detected malware so this is a good score for Ad-Aware. TeaTimer is not configured to auto-scan the system if it found a positive malware. You have to manually run a scan to remove the malicious software.
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On-Demand Scan – Winner: Ad-Aware
An infected system was used to test the scanner of SS&D and AAW: AAW able to detect 6 out of 10 while Spybot – S&D detected 1 out of 10 confirmed malware and rogue infections on the system.
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Spybot-S&D is a no limitation antispyware program and have great features that you can only find in paid protection tools. However, people need a program that will quickly provide removal for positive malware that it can detect and this is the area that Ad-Aware is able to offer. If you want a free program with real-time protection, I highly recommend Ad-Aware Anniversary Edition.