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How to run antispyware tools

Find out what your colleagues believe to be the best antispyware tools and how they should be used.

This tip originally appeared on, a sister site of

What you will learn from this tip: What your colleagues believe to be the best antispyware tools and how they should be used.

The following question and answer thread was excerpted from ITKnowledge Exchange.

An ITKnowledge Exchange memeber posted the following question:
"It seems that to get most of the spyware off your system you need to run more than one spyware checker and in a certain order. Has anyone had experience with this problem? Are you running more than one spyware checker -- and, if so, can you offer suggestions about which tools work best together?"

A user identified as pubintguy replied:
"I use SpyBot 1.3 and the corporate version of AdAware 6 in that order. Also, use Spywareblaster to help immunize further. I found it sometimes helps to delete each scanner's quarantine logs to prevent them from triggering on each other's files."

A user identified as magkit replied:
"I use Spybot, AdAware and SpywareBlaster. I run the free versions of both Spybot and AdAware to cleanup the computer. Then I setup the scheduler for Spybot to auto run and auto update. AdAware only offers auto run and auto update under the subscription program. SpywareBlaster is a different type of protection. It acts like a spyware firewall by stopping the spyware from getting on the computer. SpywareBlaster does offer subscription-based automatic updating, however, it doesn't keep everything out, so you still need the other two. I recommend that each program be updated and run at least on a weekly basis."

A user identified as mimi98 replied:
"I usually start with Lavasoft's AdAware. Then I use Spybot Search and Destroy. This digs up more trash in the system. If I'm still having problems, I will then go to HijackThis. CWShredder is also very good for what it finds and effectively eliminates. The student who developed that program has stopped doing updates to it, however, which is too bad because it was one of the best. These are the tools that I have found to be effective and work for me, and I have to use them in a wide variety of situations."

A user identified as jimbolaiya replied:
"A combo that works for me most of the time is the following:

  1. Run Spybot, quarantine and delete found files
  2. Restart the PC
  3. Run AdAware and delete the found files.
  4. Restart.
  5. When necessary, run HijackThis, copy the findings to their website and it will spit out a report for you that marks registry entries/apps that are suspect.
  6. I have also heard good things about Giant Antispy. Use it in safe mode and it supposedly does a pretty thorough scan of the system."

A user identified as InfoSafety replied:
"In my experience, badly infected systems may not boot to a usable state. In such cases, boot into safe mode and run msconfig to keep suspect programs from loading at startup. Although Win2K does not come with msconfig, you can use it from Win98 or XP. After rebooting, clean out the internet clutter and Windows temp files. Webroot Window Washer is an excellent tool for this. Reboot and run SpySweeper, and make a note of any files it is unable to delete/quarantine. Reboot into safe mode and delete the above noted files. If necessary, repeat the last two steps until SpySweeper reports complete success."

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