We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Anti-spyware software Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

Webroot Spy Sweeper 5.0

£25 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Webroot

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

This is an elegant and intuitive antispyware package – and fortunately it's also an effective one.

Both tools in our spyware round-up are easy to use, but Spy Sweeper has the more elegant interface. It is clear, intuitive and more attractive than the text-heavy Grisoft ewido anti-spyware 4.0 (reviewed here). When you first run each tool you are prompted to run a full system scan to check for and delete existing spyware.

This revealed the full extent of the problem: even on a relatively new PC, with both Norton AntiVirus and SystemWorks installed, Spy Sweeper found five adware tools known as cookies. On an older PC that was similarly protected, ewido found 55 pieces of spyware.

Scanning the entire PC is a time-consuming business in the first instance. Ewido took more than an hour to check the hard drive of a test PC. Spy Sweeper was quicker and should halve the scan time on a cluttered computer. Each generated a clear report that explained in generic terms what each piece of spyware was and graded its risk to the system. Spy Sweeper was clearer in its presentation, but both programs were surprisingly easy to understand.

Sweep them out

Spy Sweeper protects against spyware in two main ways. Sweep, which you can run manually or schedule to run at regular intervals, and Shield, which allows you to set up automatic protection within all the vulnerable areas on your PC. Each option is configurable and editing settings is simple. Any spyware found can be quarantined, but you have full control over whether a cookie is put in quarantine. You can easily restore any quarantined files if necessary.

Spy Sweeper updates via the internet. It's therefore able to deal with all of the latest spyware threats, including keyloggers such as PC-Controller and Perfect Keylogger. Rootkit detection has been improved, which helps to stop hackers from gaining access to your computer via an unauthorised or backdoor entry.

Another useful feature is the slider bar that appears in the Options window – this allows you to determine how much CPU usage can be used for sweeps. We found that while the maximum processing power was allocated to the sweeps, they slowed down our PC – but if you want to carry on working during a sweep, you can free up system resources.

Webroot Spy Sweeper 5.0 Expert Verdict »

300MHz processor
Microsoft Windows 2000/XP Home/XP Media Center
15MB hard disk space
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 9 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

Spy Sweeper is an effective product, and simpler to configure than Grisoft's rival offering. Its quarantine policy means you won't delete files you need, and overall we feel this is well worth a Gold award.

  • Grisoft ewido anti-spyware 4.0

    Grisoft ewido anti-spyware 4.0

    Ewido's interface has been noticeably improved. Granted, it's still very text-heavy, but the software is surprisingly straightforward to use.

  • Webroot Spy Sweeper with AntiVirus 5.2

    Webroot Spy Sweeper with AntiVirus 5.2

    Spy Sweeper with AntiVirus 5.2 protects against the two most common online dangers.

  • Webroot Internet Security Essentials review

    Webroot Internet Security Essentials

    Webroot Internet Security Essentials is an assembly of Webroot's Spy Sweeper anti-spyware with other companies' malware protection

  • Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2010 review

    Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2010

    Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2010 is in essence Webroot's SpySweeper antivirus/antispyware application packaged with a firewall, an antispam utility, backup software, and internet browsing protection thrown in.

  • Grisoft AVG Antispyware 7.5

    Grisoft AVG Antispyware 7.5

    Grisoft, well known for the AVG Anti-Virus software, purchased Ewido Networks in 2006 and reworked its antispyware technology into Grisoft AVG Antispyware 7.5.

IDG UK Sites

How to use an Apple Watch: Everything you need to know about the Apple Watch

IDG UK Sites

Why Scottish Tablet is better than the iPad mini

IDG UK Sites

VFX Breakdowns: 10 behind-the-scenes looks at how incredible effects were created for Hollywood...

IDG UK Sites

Apple MacBook 1.1 GHz review (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015): The future of Apple laptops