SpyBot Search & Destroy

Freeware that finds and eliminates malware, spyware and other unwanted files

6.8

1308 Votes

  • Category Anti-spyware
  • License Free
  • Version 2.4.40
  • Size 46.53 MB
  • Works under Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows 2003 / Windows XP
  • Language English
  • Program by Safer-networking

SpyBot Search and Destroy is a malware detection and removal program. It's a specialized program focused on the removal of malware, adware, and spyware often encountered through the normal use of the Internet. It's not an anti-virus program and doesn't claim to be. It's a specific weapon against the sort of programs inadvertently downloaded through web-browsing, which are frequently more annoying than a real danger to data integrity - as viruses frequently are.

SpyBot runs on all versions of Windows - including the Windows Mobile - starting at Windows 95. It was originally devised in 2000 to address some of the earliest adware programs: Conducent TimeSink and Aureate/Radiate. It's grown in popularity since release. Today, SpyBot Search and Destroy is a standard part of most Windows user's toolkits.

SpyBot S+D is more than adware detection. It's a highly-developed Swiss-army-knife of an app that can fix registry entries, ActiveX objects, and browser hijacks. It removes keyloggers, Trojans, and trackerware. It scans not only file storage but also RAM for malicious code. Running SpyBot S+D on a regular basis tends to prevent a lot of problems that can snowball into serious system issues.

SpyBot prompts to make a backup of the system before any removal operation, which is good advice regardless of what program you run. Anti-virus and anti-spyware programs perform system-level changes. It's advisable to keep a backup of the last usable state of your PC before turning them loose.

Speaking of anti-virus, you will need an anti-virus program in addition to SpyBot. Anti-virus also needs to be kept up-to-date and run regularly. At times in the past, some conflict has arisen between SpyBot and the major anti-virus vendors. This might help guide your decision on whether or not to install SpyBot or to leave it installed.

Detection updates are released weekly. This is an important part of SpyBot's ongoing success and relevance.

Pros:

  • Free, fully-functioning home version
  • Long-established as a reliable tool; SpyBot is one of those must-haves in the Windows world
  • Constant updates since spyware detection is only as good as the last update

Cons:

  • Not an anti-virus suite
  • Incompatible with some anti-virus programs
  • Support only available through web forums
Alternatives to SpyBot Search & Destroy
You might also be interested in…

SpywareGuard  2.2

This is security software that helps protect your device from spyware

Windows Defender  1593

Anti-spyware that protects against slow performance and pop-ups

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware  3.0

This software detects and eradicates unwanted malware programs