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Free Anti Spyware: why bother paying?

Free Anti Spyware: why bother paying?

The old adage, "nothing in life is free," certainly applies to most things, but surprisingly, downloading spyware protection isn't one of them. Hard to believe, right? What's the catch, you ask? It doesn't make sense; if there are a number of free anti spyware programs available for download right off the Internet, why are people still paying for them?

The answer is easy enough; they're paying for the perks. Sure, there are plenty of free anti spyware programs, but without the benefit of 1-800 telephone helplines and automatic updates, the free user has to be a bit more conscientious than if he or she simply used a registered, purchased program. But if you're unsure, or consider yourself a computer novice, then paying for the extra help might be your answer.

Free anti spyware will rarely remove any malicious software that it finds. For example, Spyware Blaster does a terrific job of blocking spyware from installing itself on your PC, but it will not scan and clean your system. You have to use a different program for that. Ad-Aware , on the other hand, scans and cleans your computer of spyware, but it doesn't block installation. And it doesn't clean everything, either.


So what can you get for your money? A few of the more popular programs, Webroot Spy Sweeper, Spyware doctor 3.1 and Ad-Aware SE, all offer free versions, but they also have registered subscriptions that you have to pay for. These purchase-only versions are loaded with perks that the free ones don't have. For example, Webroot Spy Sweeper gives users a free trial scan, but you have to pay for the version that will clean and block spyware from your computer. The purchase-only edition is also up to 30 percent faster, comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, and offers free updated and technical support throughout the duration of the year subscription.

Spyware doctor 3.1 offers what CNET calls an "anemic free version." The registered version has advanced features, such as; a pop-up blocker, scheduler, real time protection and browser monitor. Again, there are free updates and live support for the duration of the subscription.

One of the best free anti spyware programs, Ad-Aware SE, also comes in Plus and professional versions. These editions offer better scanning capabilities and more detailed log files, all designed to provide more thorough spyware protection.