Editors' note: On March 5, 2008, CNET revised its antispyware review ratings to emphasize a product's ability to remove spyware. The new ratings are based on the following formula: Installation (20 percent), Features (20 percent), Performance (50 percent), and Support (10 percent). In most cases a product's rating went down, expanding the range between highest and lowest rated.
Lavasoft Ad-Aware 2007 came in dead last in our CNET antispyware testing. Other than sporting a new interface, this long-awaited update doesn't feel much different than earlier versions. What cripples this release most is that Ad-Aware failed to detect half of the test spyware, either actively or on demand, and, unlike nine out of the 10 other antispyware apps we reviewed in December 2007, Ad-Aware left behind traces for all but one spyware. With such a detection and low removal rate, it's hard to get too excited by the latest iteration of this classic antispyware app. Also, with the exception of Microsoft Windows Defender, Ad-Aware remains one of the few well-known antispyware apps not to include (or provide the option of) antivirus protection. In a rapidly evolving market, Ad-Aware seems to have fallen way behind the times.
All versions of Ad-Aware 2007 run on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista (32-bit). There is a free version, but with that version, expect to find all features other than antispyware scanning turned off. The paid version, Ad-Aware Plus 2007, costs $29.95 for a one-year single-user license; Ad-Aware Pro costs $39.95 for a single-year license. The higher price points activate more features within the basic product, with Pro being more advanced than Plus.
Features in the paid products include a host file editor, Registry-blocking shields, and a system-restore point.
For antispyware protection, Ad-Aware 2007 came in last place in our current CNET antispyware tests. CNET Labs conducts three separate tests using spyware found to be bundled within free applications rejected by CNET Download.com (as part of its software policies, Download.com does not host applications containing known spyware). In the first test, active detection, Ad-Aware 2007 detected only 50 percent of the spyware; in the second, on-demand, test, Ad-Aware 2007 detected a dismal 25 percent of the spyware; and in the final, removal, test, Ad-Aware 2007 removed all traces for only 10 percent of the spyware in our test.
Support for Ad-Aware 2007 includes a generous 60-page manual, missing from most antispyware products this year. Online e-mail service is available along with an active community forum and several FAQs. But there is no telephone support offered.
Given the low detection and removal rate for this iteration of Ad-Aware 2007, we can not recommend it, given that for $19.95 Sunbelt CounterSpy 2.0 gives you top-notch antispyware protection along with several other tools including antivirus protection.