Ad-Aware is an anti-spyware program developed by Lavasoft that detects and removes spyware or adware on a user's computer. It also detects other malware, including dialers, Trojans, viruses, bots, rootkits, data miners, aggressive advertising, parasites, browser hijackers, and tracking components.
Lavasoft offers a free, downloadable version called Ad-Aware 2008 Free, and three paid-for products called Ad-Aware 2008 Plus, Ad-Aware 2008 Pro and Ad-Aware Enterprise 2.0. With the 2008 release, the Plus and Pro products include integrated anti-virus protection.
Ad-Aware was originally developed in late 1998 to highlight web beacons inside of Internet Explorer. On almost every website you would see tiny pixelated square next to each web beacon. This was to warn you that your IP address and other non-essential information was being tracked by this website. Over time they added the ability to block those beacons, or ads. Ad-Aware no longer makes you aware of the ads on your screen, instead the programs fights spyware and malware.
Lavasoft’s Code Sequence Identification (CSI) technology detects malware and then searches for similar codes in order to identify emerging variants. Ad-Aware 2008 scans the computer's memory, registry, Hosts file, hard, removable and optical drives for known data-mining, aggressive advertising, parasites, scumware, keyloggers, Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers, and tracking components.
Ad-Aware is compatible with Microsoft Windows operating systems only.
|Ad-Aware 2008 Free||Ad-Aware 2008 Plus||Ad-Aware 2008 Pro||Lavasoft Ad-Aware Enterprise 2.0|
|Anti-Spyware + Anti-Virus|
|Extended Threat Detection|
|Ad-Watch Real-Time Monitor|
|Hosts File Editor|
|Priority Threat Updates|
|Additional Scan Reports|
|Additional Command Line Support|
|Process Watch Module|
|Network Drive Scanning|
|Monitor machines across a network with AAW installed|
|Scan one or more client computers across network|
|Update all AAW computers on network|
|Cost||Freeware||USD 26.95||USD 39.95||N/A (Volume licenses only)|
Between May 27, 2005 (when version 1.06 appeared on Download.com) and April 23, 2007, the program was downloaded over 239 million times. It has now been replaced with Ad-Aware 2008, which is listed as having been downloaded over 292 million times.
|Processor||Intel Pentium 600 MHz or higher (or equivalent)|
|RAM||RAM operating system + 100 MB|
|Free hard drive space||50 MB|
|Operating System||Windows 2000 (Pro/Server), XP(32- & 64-bit), Server 2003, Vista (32- & 64-bit)|
|Internet Browser||Internet Explorer (5.5 or higher), Firefox (1.5 or higher), Opera (9 or higher)|
Ad-Aware's previous version, Ad-Aware SE, has been criticized by reviewers for having a confusing interface and not being able to schedule scans and automatic updates. Some found the customer support poor and thought the product was expensive compared to other similar products. It was also claimed to only use basic security protection in the coding.
Test results showed that Ad-Aware SE did not always remove the bundled adware program, "WhenUSave", and that removal of the program would disable the free, advertising-supported eDonkey parent program.