Anti-Spyware Expert Reviews

"The most effective of all the products tested at both blocking and removing spyware and keyloggers, and it's our current Editor's Choice"

- PC Magazine Editor's Choice

Here's what the experts have to say about this world leading Anti-Spyware:

PC Tools Spyware Doctor 3.8

Verdict: Currently the best spyware scanner money can buy

This new version of the A-Listed anti-spyware application isn't just a minor update - it sees the introduction of the patent-pending Spider Scanning Technology, which has been implemented into the core scanning engine.

Although PC Tools isn't revealing exactly how this works, our testing proves it does: quite simply more threats are detected in less time. We couldn't match the claimed 25% reduction in scanning time, but across our tests we averaged a 20% improvement when compared to version 3.2. Already the quickest spyware scanner we'd tested, the total scan time dropped from 4mins 24secs to just 3mins 35secs.

When you consider that the competition struggle to break five minutes in our Labs, it's impressive stuff. However, speed isn't as important as accuracy when it comes to malware detection, and thankfully this doesn't disappoint either.

The introduction of rootkit scanning combined with the existing Kernel Delete and hidden process detection technologies covers most bases on the detection front. But that isn't good enough either, which is why PC Tools has introduced its new Kernel Level Process Killer technology to deal with malicious processes that operate at the Windows® kernel level and are hard to detect.

So how does all this add up when it comes to real-world testing? The short answer is superbly. We ran Spyware Doctor on a PC infected with a broad range of malware, new and old. We then measured its success based upon what was detected from our line-up (98% up from 84%), what was removed (92% up from 88%) and then blocked when we tried to reinstall (78% up from 66%). This gives us an overall accuracy rating for this latest version of 89%, a new record.

Subtle tweaks to the user interface are as welcome as the performance hike, in particular the new system status area that provides an overview of the whole app and alerts as to any parts that require updating. It isn't worth waiting for the next full point release to arrive at year-end - this is quite simply the best option we've yet seen for keeping your system free of spyware.

Source: PC Pro - UK, Aug 2006, Issue 142

PC Tools Spyware Doctor 3.5

Not everything that gets on to your PC without your permission is bad, but there are sufficient threats to your system out there to make it imperative to protect yourself from those that do harm.

Spyware Doctor is a dedicated tool that can do precisely this. It begins scanning your PC's contents as soon as you complete the installation and provides precise details of each of the items it determines are potential threats. SD scanned our 120GB test machine in less than 10 minutes and identified 34 problems.

Unlike some spyware and antivirus programs that simply warn you of the number of nasties lurking on or attempting to access your system, Spyware Doctor actually tells you what the threats are, one by one.

In addition, it explains the level of threat they pose and, on the right of the pane listing them, explains why cookies from known dodgy websites put you at risk. Threats are separated into low, medium, elevated and high levels, categorised by type such as advertising and tracking cookies.

It outlines why these are a risk and provides a history of how they've been known to exploit vulnerabilities. This way you know which threats you should immunise your system against.

The main Spyware Doctor window offers to scan or immunise your computer, and to switch on or off the IntelliGuard Protection utility. By clicking on the Tools menu you can select which particular types of threat you want the program to alert you to and to protect you against. These include keystroke loggers, adware, phishing tools and Trojans, plus items that make changes to your PC's Registry.

A Smart Update setting ensures you stay up-to-date with alerts. You can schedule the program to run automatically. A handy tool will undo changes you've asked Spyware Doctor to make, such as removing items you then find you need.


Spyware Doctor impressed us greatly with its detailed reporting tools and the ability to specify exactly what you want it to be on guard for and what doesn't concern you. It's well priced and it's refreshing to fi nd a program that takes the time to explain each risk, helping you make an informed decision about whether to erase it.

Source: PC Advisor - UK, May 2006, Issue 130

PC Tools Spyware Doctor 3.2

Spyware Doctor scores highly in many respects, not least for the goodlooking interface, minimal impact upon system resources while scanning, and simple 'rollback' to get applications up and running again if adware removal kiboshes them.

The daily updating of signature definitions is better than most, and the modular architecture unique in that the application itself is also updated through the same live update feature. Fast scanning uses 'intellisignatures' that detect a threat and calculate likely variations using single microscripts.

There's also patent-pending behavioural technology to watch for keylogger activity in real-time and a system immunisation utility to guard against more than 1,800 malicious Active-X objects.

The icing on the cake was the HijackThis-a-like 'Malware Detective' feature that compiles a system report, which can be sent to the PC Tools 'Malware Research Centre' for analysis and further help if you are hit by a threat unknown by Spyware Doctor.

Source: PC Plus - UK, Dec 2005, Issue 237

PC Tools Spyware Doctor

Anti-spyware programs are as common as footballer's wives, but some are as big a danger as the malware they're supposed to tackle. Spyware Doctor is one of the few names you can truly depend on, and is now available as a boxed product in the UK.

Spyware Doctor takes a three pronged approach to combating spyware and keyloggers. Firstly, there's an on demand scanner that can be used to root out malicious code hiding in your hard drive or installed in the registry. The IntelliGuard function extends your security net by protecting your system against spyware in real time, blocking attempts by malware to install on your system. Lastly, there's an immunisation function, which prevents malicious ActiveX scripts from running on virulent websites.

In addition to providing comprehensive spyware protection, everything is neatly wrapped up in a very useable interface. Microsoft AntiSpyware offers a similar range of options to Spyware Doctor, and also has the benefit of being free, but it's the commercial tool that has the more usable interface and pips Microsoft in terms of protection strength.

Source: PC Utilities - UK, Feb 2006, Issue 72

Spyware Doctor 3.5

This doctor takes its job seriously, as the quality of its work shows

Every once in a while a software vendor will spot an opportunity, seemingly come out of nowhere and capitalise on it. That's exactly the case with Spyware Doctor 3.5 from PC Tools, makers of the popular Registry Mechanic toolkit. While it may not have jumped on to the anti-spyware solution bandwagon as quickly as some of its competitors, its patience has been rewarded. Spyware Doctor is one of the best anti-spyware tools we've seen.

As soon as it was installed on our infected PC it detected and blocked recognised malware components, before we even initiated a scan. We were prompted to enable the program's suite of real-time IntelliGuard protection tools immediately, before proceeding into scan country.

Medically sound

Not only is Spyware Doctor's scanner fast, it also provides some of the most detailed and useful results we came across. It made quick work of removing all the detected threats and informed us that a restart (and scan) in Safe Mode would be required. Competitors would do well to take note of this type of clarity. Only one other tool suggested a Safe Mode scan.

Compared to the competition, Spyware Doctor did an astounding job of not only removing threats but also restoring settings back to their original state. Hijacked browser settings were set free, and even SpySheriff's desktop wallpaper hijack was eliminated. The only threat that Spyware Doctor didn't catch and destroy was the Seekmo Search Assistant, but that particular issue was easily sorted via a trip to Control Panel.

Overall, Spyware Doctor showed itself to be the real deal. It didn't make us try to figure things out, or dig for solutions. If only every antispyware tool were so ready to bring your PC back to its rightful state of health...

Source: PC Answers - UK, April 2006, Issue 157

PC Tools Spyware Doctor 3.2

One of the many great things about Spyware Doctor is that any component - be it a scanner, tool or monitor - can be updated through the same update service that delivers spyware signature definitions. And these are delivered on an industry-leading daily basis. Spyware Doctor uses a system of 'Intelli-signatures', which both detect a specific threat and calculate its variants. This means the database is highly optimised, as evidenced by the fastest scanning time in our tests: under five minutes for a full system is a great result.

Accuracy isn't compromised by speed, as Spyware Doctor also had the highest detection (94 per cent), removal (88 per cent) and blocking (66 per cent) rates. Some of this is due to the excellent keylogger protection, using patented behavioural technology to monitor for new variants in real-time, instead of relying upon signature-based protection.

There are many more features too: scan scheduling, a real-time process guard monitoring any attempt to execute a file, 'immunisation' against 1,800 malicious ActiveX objects, Firefox and Opera support, plus an effective system rollback function. There's also a blacklist-driven warning system if you attempt to browse malicious or phishing websites, and sensibly Spyware Doctor doesn't regard every tracking cookie as spyware, only reporting malicious ones. There's even a Malware Detective that generates a report, which is sent to the PC Tools Malware Research Centre (MRC) for analysis and help if an unknown threat is causing problems.

Equally suitable for the novice and the expert, Spyware Doctor is a clear winner this month and takes its place on our A List as a result.

Source: PC Pro - UK, Nov 2005, Issue 133