I”ve been using Spyware Doctor to handle spyware on my machine for over two years now, with great success in handling spyware. In the past three months, I have switched to PC Tools Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus thanks to issues documented in my story “Best-of-Breed Apps Aren”t Always Best for Vista” –namely, incompatibilities between AVG AntiVirus 8.0 and Spyware Doctor 6.0 that kept causing blue screens on my primary production machine.
I dillied and dallied on this review because despite PC Tools detailed instructions on how to get the previous version of this product (188.8.131.524) to register itself properly with the Vista Windows Security Center, I was not able to get it to work properly. On 10/23/08 after returning to my office from a week-long family visit cum business trip, I downloaded and installed the latest version of Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus (184.108.40.2066, released 10/13/08) to my machine and presto! everything finally popped up as promised in Security Center, with both the virus protection and antispyware components in the program now properly registered therein.
With the release of 220.127.116.116 all was finally well with Windows Security Center!
With this minor but significant hurdle now out of the way, I can finally post my short review of this excellent software, and plan to follow up with a more detailed review later in November (probably after mid-month, when my next major deadline cycle comes and goes). The short and sweet version of my assessment is as follows:
- Excellent antivirus protection: the package earned a “Passed” status for the VB 100 rating on Windows XP from Virus Bulletin in August 2008; protection on Vista is equally good, even though VB has yet to post major analyses for that operating system with this product, the standalone AV just barely missed “Passed” status in April of 2008 for Vista Business SP1–by 0.007% in two categories, and 0.0787% in a third, with 100% in the “Worms & bots” category.
- Outstanding antispyware protection: this package has protected my desktops flawlessly for over two years, and has garnered recent accolades from PC Magazine (July 21, 2008) , PC World (September 19, 2007 and August 24, 2007), and even MajorGeeks.com (October 13, 2008).
- Provides very good coverage against unwanted or suspicious browser helper objects (BHOs) and ActiveX controls.
- Outstanding value: a license covers up to three PCs for $39.95 for a one-year subscription.
- Acceptable footprint: with the GUI running this package runs inside four executables (pctsAuxs.exe, pctsGui.exe, pctsTray.exe, and pctsSvc.exe) for a total memory footprint of 26,876 KB (26.2 MB). Turn off the GUI and that drops to 23,567 KB (23 MB). Turn on a full system scan and it peaks at 153,292 KB (149.7 MB) on my system (YMMV). Not exactly svelte, but not as big as other such packages I”ve seen. Total scan time on my system for a quick, focused Intelli-scan: 02:30; total scan time for a deep scan of the same system that checks everything: 45:29.
PC Tools was kind enough to send the latest version of their software to review for this story, but that didn”t stop me from paying to renew my own license for Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus on my production and test PCs. This is a very good program that”s definitely worth the money–especially if like me you have more than one PC to protect. Please keep your eyes peeled for my more detailed review of this combo product, which should post some time after November 15.