Earlier today, I receive a notice from Download.com that a new version of Ad-Aware Free has been released. It’s been a long time since I’d used it, and I decided to give it another go. (works with Win2k, WinXP, Vista, Win7)
It seems like Ad-Aware has always been there for us, over 10 years now. It was one of the first effective defenses against many forms of adware and spyware. Since that time, it’s been improving and adding features. Ad-Aware has always offered a free version in addition to a paid version. The latest versions offer an improved quick-scan and fewer false alarms.
The free version does have some features disabled, but it still includes a live component called “Ad-Watch” that monitors the programs running on your PC. Another valuable feature is it’s ability to detect and remove rootkits. Finally, a feature new to me, called “TrackSweep”, allows you to erase internet browser history, cookies and more.
I downloaded and ran the installer. The only surprise to me was an offer to also install Google Chrome. Since I already have that, I declined the offer.
Once installed, Ad-Aware immediately opened it’s Update Manager to make sure it had the most recent updates.
Next it took me to the main screen where the only obvious option was to scan the PC. This scan is a full system scan and it may take a long time to finish. After a few minutes I cancelled the full scan and tried the Quick Scan. It only took about 4 minutes.
The Quick Scan found and removed over 70 tracking cookies and fortunately it found no other problems. If you are fairly new to PCs, I recommend that you take advantage of the full system scans that Ad-Aware offers.
I did not take advantage of the TrackSweep. I don’t have anything to hide and I don’t want to lose my browser history and other saved info. As you can see below, it can wipe your browsers squeaky clean.
I have no doubt that you’ll be safer if you use Ad-Aware and I have no problems recommending it. It was great 10 years ago and it’s still great today.