SpyBot - Search and Destroy versus Microsoft AntiSpyware (Beta).... My personal experiences...

Ok... Where to start?

Well, I guess I will start at the beginning.....

Like many surfers and especially webmasters and webmarketers, I spend quite a bit of time running around the net, researching this, investigating that and so on.

So of course I come across any number of questionable websites with even more doubtful software. In many cases the webmasters aren't even aware of how much damage that piece of software they are linking to can cause. In other cases, it's the actual programmers, and of all people they should know better.

I have seen some messed up systems due to spyware, hackware and other malicious programs (and I am not even going to start talking about the viruses or Denial of Service attacks some people find amusing).

Not all to long ago, a friend of mine was surfing the web and came across a website that all of a sudden triggered a bunch of popups, one after the other, she couldn't even close them down as fast as they were coming. Amongst all of those popups were also install windows and guess what???? They were set to run some macro that automatically assumed she had hit open (for the request to open, save or cancel) and the next thing she knew 6 new software programs had been installed on her computer.

Now, she's no dummy and knows her way around a computer well enough to know to check for uninstall files, to run 'add/remove programs' and even knows her way around the registry well enough that she could remove almost all of them.

But let's step back a moment, these darn things triggered themselves to install, wether the surfer wants it or not, it doesn't matter. We're going to shove this software down your throat regardless.

Ok, back to my friend. She was able to remove all of the programs but two. One was being so stubborn, it wasn't even funny anymore. I went to a tech net site I use occasionaly and ran a search (you can use google too and most often find great info from one of the groups there) and came across some information from that programmer's own site with details how to uninstall it (mind you though, the software didn't even mention his homepage or anything).

Holy coding batman, this thing wouldn't even remove with his own instructions. So one of the techs she knows ran SpyBot - Search and Destroy ( http://www.spybot.info/en/index.html )and they were finally able to remove it (well, so they thought).

Let's shift gears a moment. There's a program that hit my own system a while back called WinTools. You will see it in your process files (check the taskmanager) with names such as wtoolsa.exe or wtoolsb.exe and so on.

Here's the kicker on this one. You go in and uninstall it, it shows it has disappeared from your system and the next thing you know (if you check processes again) this thing is back again...... What the heck? I just got rid of it... How is this possible? Did I just experience some glitch in the matrix? Nope, sure enough, you uninstall this puppy, it comes right back again.

Ok, out with Spybot and it cleaned it and the rest of my system (there were 2 more spyware programs I really didn't need, so off to the big recycle bin in the heaven with them).

All was well, or so I thought.

My system started lagging really bad and I knew RAM wasn't the issue, nor were system resources overall the issue, but it kept getting worse. Dreaded 'blue screen of death' minidumps started happening randomly. Virus scans and Spybot scans weren't finding anything, the system is defragmented and cleaned up, what gives?????

A friend told me about Microsoft releasing the beta of their AntiSpyware program (I don't believe I am going to say something nice about Microsoft, groan, all my ancestors are rolling over in their graves now, I know it). He had noticed in a couple of cases (He's a MCSE tech that swears by Spybot - well he used to) that this new program was picking up ghost files that spybot had not caught.

Ok, off to http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx and let's download this software... It's a free beta.

It's an easy and smooth install and runs pretty fast. I run a system scan and guess what, I have 4 programs on here that Spybot had supposedly removed and where not showing up in any of their reports anymore. Well, well, well..... (I disconnected from my ISP at this point for a bit) Let's remove them all. Reboot the system.

Look at that, as I am booting up, one of the programs (wtoolsa.exe) is trying to reinstall itself as my laptop is booting up again, but look, hahahaha, it can't find the system resource to do it. Yipeeeee.... After I finished booting up, I even ran the MS Antispyware one more time and rebooted just to be sure and look at that, it didn't even try anymore.

I am proud to report that my processes file doesn't show WinTools anymore, in any of it's many forms. The other three items we found on my laptop are gone as well.

Oh, and my friend's computer is also clean now.

Well, that's my story, like it or not, in this case Microsoft wins. Don't get me wrong. Spybot has served me well and I am leaving it installed, because you never know what Microsoft might not catch.

One final thought I wanted to leave you with though is this. Be very careful to what you have your computer set, be wary of software that just appears from nowhere, or if you are surfing and a website tries to convince you to download something you didn't request. Also, make sure your Antivirus, Spybot and MS Antispyware are all up to date with their latest libraries and definitions.

Here's to your success,


Xavier Nelson is the publisher of eBusinessCornerNews, your source for reviews, articles, free resources and more. Get your free subscription at http://blog.makemoneymarketingonline.com today.

Also, proudly presenting "The Complete eBusinessCollection". Visit http://www.MakeMoneyMarketingOnline.com right now for a great collection of tools and resources that will take you to the next level and a very generous and free 2-tier affiliate program you can actually make money with!

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