Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free 8.3, one of the most popular spyware killers on the planet, just got better: It's not just an anti-spyware killer any more. The newest version adds anti-virus capabilities to its already very good job of detecting and killing spyware while keeping a low profile.

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free 8.3 protects against rootkits, stealth attacks designed to escape detection and burrow their way into the operating system - as did the previous version. Ad-Aware Internet Security Free also includes several types of heuristic detection, which protects you by examining complex system behaviour, rather than just looking for known malware signatures. If the program's heuristics work as well as do the heuristics in other anti-malware software, it should provide better protection against emerging and unknown threats, as well as threats that are already known.

New to this version of Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free 8.3 is Genotype heuristics detection system, which Lavasoft claims is superior to its previous heuristics.

As in version 8.2, Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free 8.3 promises to protect you against malware that tries to restore itself after a system reboot. Also useful is a "Simple mode" that lets you set your configuration once, and never have to do it again. If you prefer, you can toggle to Advanced Mode, where you can select advanced features for customization. Ad-Aware Internet Security Free is as simple to use as previous versions. Tell it to scan your system, and it finds spyware and other malware, and then deletes it or quarantines it for you. New in this version is the ability to schedule scans.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

See also: Group test: 13 internet security suites compared

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free 8.3: Specs

  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
  • P733 processor or better
  • 512MB RAM
  • 300MB hard disk space
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
  • P733 processor or better
  • 512MB RAM
  • 300MB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

There is only one real drawback to Lavasoft Ad-Aware Free 8.3. It doesn't provide real-time comprehensive protection, which means that to keep yourself safe, you'll have to regularly scan your system. (It provides basic real-time protection, but that doesn't include Registry protection, or real-time behavior-based heuristic scanning.) For full real-time protection you can get the pay for Ad-Aware Internet Security Pro or the new, and more expensive, Ad-Aware Total Security.

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