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User Be-ware!

Mar 15, 2003 (Updated Mar 21, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Easy to use, removes spyware

Cons:Extremely dangerous, could damage your computer.

The Bottom Line: I do not recommend this program. It may delete important files from you computer, and possibly cause irreversible damage.

Ad-Aware is a program designed to find and get rid of "spyware," also known as "adware." Basically spyware refers to programs that are usually installed as third party software when you install another program (such as Kazaa Media Desktop or Getright Download Manager). These programs are hidden, and usually monitor your computer usage, and can see data on your computer. Some spyware can also cause "pop-up" ads.

Obviously, most people, like me, don't want this type of software on their computer. When I hard of Ad-Aware a few months ago, I downloaded version 5.83, installed it and quickly ran a scan to detect spyware.

The interface of the program was simple and straightforward. The scan was very easy to perform. I simply checked some boxes to scan the memory, registry and hard drive and clicked the scan now button, and in a few minutes the scan was complete.

The scan resulted in one hundred some odd files detected. The results were extremely cryptic. For example: does anyone know if bdeimage.dll is spyware related? This is where the problem lies- there is no easy way to tell which files you want to delete and which files could destroy your computer if you delete them. Let me say that I am not a computer expert, but I am no novice either. Being that this was a popular program with a pretty good reputation, I thought it would be relatively safe. Still, I was cautious. I only selected to delete files I thought were associated with spyware, such as gator, comet cursor, and whagent.

Soon after, I discovered that I could no longer visit any websites. Any page I attempted to visit gave me a "webpage not available error." For days, I tried everything short of a complete reformat to fix this problem, from contacting my ISP and computer manufacturer to restoring the system with the backup disks. Finally I solved the problem by reinstalling my internet adaptor.

The only positive thing i can say about Ad-aware is that I do think it does detect and delete most spyware files. However, I do NOT trust Ad-aware. The program does not provide any warnings about its risks. I believe it can delete important system files. After doing some research on Ad-aware, I found out that many people experienced problems similar to mine. If you insist on using this, use the backup feature(I was very stupid not to use it). In my opinion, do not take the risk and stay away from it altogether.

Update: There is a new version of Ad-aware(6.0); I have not tried this version and I am not planning to. According to Lavasoft, this version has improved safety features such as automatic quarantine and recycle bin storage of removed components. This appears to be an improvement, but I still cannot recommend this product.

Recommend this product? No

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