written by: Finn Orfano•edited by: Aaron R.•updated: 1/2/2008
SpyEraser 2 from Uniblue Systems protects your PC from spyware, adware, and many other forms of malicious software found in millions of websites. Spyware is becoming much more dangerous and sophisticated. If you don’t have an anti-spyware application such as SpyEraser 2, you will become a victim.
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Until recently there were only viruses, some innocuous, that one had to worry about. Now, the term malware refers to an entire set of malicious software, including but not limited to viruses, worms, Trojan horses, logic bombs, time bombs, back doors, crimeware, malicious active content (such as Java, Active X, Visual Basic), spyware, and much more.
The Wikipedia entry on spyware (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyware) is a good place to get the low-down on this insidious issue. But suffice it to say, everyone running Windows computers needs some sort of spyware protection, or it's inevitable that they will end up with spyware on their computer.
SpyEraser 2 from Uniblue Systems Limited is an anti-spyware piece of software that you can use to ensure that your computer won't be destroyed by malicious software. But what differentiates it from the competition? We'll find out in the course of this review.
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Price to Value
Rating What's Hot: At $40, SpyEraser 2 is in the same range as most of its rivals and it's competitively priced.
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Installation & Setup
Rating What's Hot:
SpyEraser 2 has a standard Windows setup. The install process and activation was simple. [See Images 1 and 2]
Activating the program requires simply entering the serial number. A live Internet connection isn't needed for registration. A recent product I used performs an activation test at install time. If a live Internet connection isn't available, the install will fail. Such install routines are onerous and such products should be avoided. [See Image 3]
The system requirements for SpyEraser 2 are:
Intel Pentium 3 500MHz or Equivalent processor. 256 MB RAM. 100 MB free hard disk space. Graphics mode 1024x768 true color (highest 32-bit). Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP / Vista (32-bit). Internet Explorer 5.5.
Recommended requirements are:
Intel Pentium 4 1GHz or Equivalent processor. 512 MB RAM. 200 MB free hard disk space. Graphics mode 1024x768 true color (highest 32-bit). Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP / Vista (32-bit). Internet Explorer 6.
I ran my testing on both a Windows XP and Vista box with the recommended requirements.
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Rating What's Hot: I really liked the SpyEraser 2 main user interface. I found it, for the most part, intuitive, clear, and very easy to use. It's well laid out and easy to use. [See Image 4]
Contrast this with the interface for a CyberScrub, which even Kreskin couldn't figure out. Uniblue obviously put time into their interface design and it shows. [See Image 5]
The main interface of SpyEraser 2 consists of four main tabs; Overview, Spyware Scan, Live Guard, and Settings. Each tab has its own items to configure, each of which are equally intuitive. [See Image 20]
The layout is detailed and precise.
What's Not: The only thing that is confusing about SpyEraser 2 is the 'Security Level' indicator. What is confusing is that the security level isn't a configuration level that can be adjusted, like on some other security programs. The Security Level is usually determined by how long it has been since you ran a complete scan and fixed any issues found. This isn't the case with SpyEraser 2. The Security Level in SpyEraser 2 isn't something you can control, but only a representation of how well protected your system is. The "Low Security Level" might indicate that you have not run a SpyEraser 2 scan for a long time, or that there are spyware threats which you need to take action on. Conversely, the "High Security Level" might indicate that you have recently run a SpyEraser 2 scan and that there are no spyware threats. [See Images 6 - 8]
This is a significant problem that isn't documented on-line or in the help screen. Many users may attempt in vain to click the icon or go into the configuration menu to change the level, oblivious to the fact that they can’t.
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At a high level, SpyEraser 2 has pretty much the same feature set for a anti-spyware product, namely:
Heuristic analysis to perform deep scan and malware removal Continuous monitoring. Advanced detection and removal capabilities for stubborn spyware. Automatic updates. Windows Vista Compatible. Daily spyware definition updates. Free Customer Support.
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Scanning is in general an intensive effort. SpyEraser 2 has two scanning modes, 'Quick Scan' and 'Deep Scan.' [See Image 19]
The main difference between the two is in the locations and thoroughness of the scans. In Deep Scan mode, SpyEraser 2 isn't only looking for known spyware but also using a heuristics scan to detect unknown spyware by scanning for typical actions and side effects. This is one of the reasons why the deep scan takes longer to complete. The deep scans your registry to search for registry entries containing malicious or spyware code characteristics.
I tested SpyEraser 2 on a Windows XP and Windows Vista box. On XP, it performed and reported about the same as other anti-spyware packages. [See Images 17-18]
On the Vista box, SpyEraser 2 failed miserably. On numerous deep scan tests, it reported zero infections found. [See Image 9]
Similar tests from AVG AntiSpyware 7.5 and Trend Micro PC-cillin Securtiy 2007 reported numerous items. [See Images 10 and 11]
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Help & Support
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F1 key brings up a basic help screen. [See Image 12]
I submitted a number of tickets to Uniblue support for various issues and an email response was immediately sent confirming receipt of each ticket. [See Images 13-15]
The help via F1 provided is of a bare minimal level and there are many undocumented areas.
The product support page at http://www.liutilities.com/support/faq/categories/spyeraser/ lacks any real help besides providing answers to a few basic questions. The web Support for SpyEraser 2 consists of a FAQ with three solutions. If yours is not listed, you need to submit a technical support query via the Uniblue website.
Support is promised within 24 hours, but the web site also states; “Although we strive to keep response times as low as possible, during weekends and abnormal heavy support loads response time might occasionally take up to 48 hours."
Uniblue is based in Malta and support is provided from there. For those who are geographically challenged, Malta is South of Sicily, north of Libya. General hours there are Monday thru Friday 09:00 - 18:00 CET. Closing times in Malta is noon in New York and 9:00AM in Silicon Valley. This can be an issue and if you are in the USA. Your support answers may not be resolved until the next day, unless you get them early in the day.
Overall, SpyEraser 2 needs much better help functionality, both on screen and on line. Technical support stated that they are in the process of re-writing the on-line help files to include more screenshots and make them more user-friendly.
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Better help, on screen, and online. Better support hours for U.S. clients. Overall, SpyEraser 2 needs much better help functionality, both on screen and online. Technical support personnel stated that they are in the process of rewriting the online help files to include more screenshots and make them more user friendly.
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SpyEraser 2 is yet another anti-spyware program in a crowded field. While it has a great interface, there is nothing compelling about SpyEraser 2 that differentiates it from its competition.
The 800-pound gorilla in the anti-spyware space for most readers of this review is AVG Anti-Spyware, which feature for feature, does just about everything SpyEraser 2 does, and it's free.
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SpySweeper, Ad-Aware, Windows Defender, AVG Anti-Spyware, Anonymizer Anti-Spyware, McAfee Anti-Spyware