Ad-Aware is a very well-known anti-spyware program which has recently made the leap to become a full anti-virus solution for Windows-based PCs. It is probably one of the first programs ever to specifically target malware and spyware applications and has become extremely good at detecting and removing unwanted applications for your computer.
With the shift to also become an Antivirus program, Ad-Aware has changed in many different ways, and the layout that we've all become used to has also received a facelift.
When you first download the new Ad-Aware, you'll get to experience the new look with the installation screen which allows you to install the software in English, German, Spanish, French and Italian. From there, following the steps is typical of most types of software installations. The next step will remind you that you'll require 100 MB worth of free space on your hard drive. Do note that Ad-Aware will also request permission to install their "Safe Browsing" toolbar and change your homepage. Near the end of the installation, you might have to wait a few minutes in order for the latest definition files to be downloaded.
Upon first running Ad-Aware Free, you will be reminded that all of the to "Pro" features have been activated for 30 days. No worries there as you have indeed downloaded the free version, though LavaSoft will tease you with a few extra features which are applicable only for a trial period of 30 days.
From the main interface of Ad-Aware, you're given several different options for protecting your computer. The main options include Safe Browsing, Safe Network, E-mail Protection, Advanced Firewall, External Storage Scan and Shop & Bank Safety Online. All of these features are self-explanatory and when activated, you're taken to the main settings page for the respective features which have been activated.
To the meat of the program: Anti-Spyware. The main scanning interface of Ad-Aware Free is upgraded from previous iterations of Ad-Aware. Though today you're presented with a clean look which gives you access to several different scanning options. By default, the program will "Quick Scan" and look for for rootkits, running processes, file names and checksums, the registry, harmful cookies, an option to suspend active threats and another option to keep a copy saved of the scan you're about to perform. The full scan option gives you several other options.
Ad-Aware Free offers several other options and the anti-virus solution offered here really is the new kid on the block. With that said, the company does have a long history in dealing with online threats and has (in the past) actually been able to remove viruses. With that said, it will take some time to mature and in the mean time remains an effective anti-virus program.
Speed-wise, Ad-Aware isn't necessarily the fastest anti-malware/anti-virus/anti-spyware application available, but as mentioned earlier, does a noble job at keeping your system clean of those types of threats.
All-in-all, Ad-Aware Free is a highly recommended application to keep your computer free of harmful viruses and spyware. Though we don't intend on paying for an upgrade to the "Pro" version anytime soon, it does offer some extra features which give some peice of mind.Ad Aware Free features and highlights:
Ad Aware is licensed as Freeware for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit) operating system / platform from anti spyware software without restrictions. Ad Aware 11.4.6792.0 is available to all software users as a free download (Freeware).
Compatibility with this software may vary, but will generally run fine under Microsoft Windows 8, 8.1, 7, Vista and XP on either a 32-bit or 64-bit setup. A separate x64 version may be available from Lavasoft.
We have tested Ad Aware Free 11.4.6792.0 against malware with several different programs. We certify that this program is clean of viruses, malware and trojans. [Read more]