Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Anniversary Edition review
Effective at its core job, but its quirky and basic next to modern suites.
Review Date: 19 Feb 2009
Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith
Price when reviewed: £23 (£26 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Believe it or not, it's now ten years since Lavasoft launched Ad-Aware to rescue Windows users from the deluge of Comet Cursors, Bonzi Buddies and other intrusive parties that threatened to swamp the systems of the trusting and unfortunate.
Sadly, the problem hasn't gone away. But today every major antivirus package now detects adware and spyware as a matter of course alongside more destructive threats. So, to remain competitive, Lavasoft has expanded the paid-for editions of Ad-Aware to detect worms, Trojans and other malware, to the extent that it's now an antivirus package in all but name.
Although the software has been updated under the bonnet, the front-end still reeks of the nineties. It's easy to get around, but even by the lax standards of security software its odd layout and weirdly spaced text sit awkwardly on a modern Windows system.
It does the job, though: against this month's selection of malware it scored a very creditable 96% detection rate - on a par with our A-Listed Avira Premium Security Suite. The cutely-named 'ThreatWork' system lets you send unknown samples to Lavasoft for analysis, and experienced users will also appreciate the Ad-Watch Live! system, which leaps in when a process tries to alter your startup configuration, and lets you permit or block the change.
It's not a terrifically lightweight package. When we booted our Vista system with Ad-Aware Pro installed, we saw 36 seconds of CPU activity after the desktop had appeared. A total system RAM usage of 668MB looks good next to Avira's 675MB; but then Avira is a full security suite, with a firewall, web protection and other modules. Run a standalone firewall alongside an Ad-Aware setup and you'll be looking at a far bigger footprint.
And, sadly, the same principle applies when it comes to price. Ad-Aware Pro is reasonably priced by antivirus standards - but an all-in-one suite is almost inevitably going to be better value. The cheaper Ad-Aware Plus is perhaps a more attractive option at just £16 exc VAT, but it lacks the real-time registry monitor as well as support for network drives.
Lavasoft has every reason to celebrate ten years in the business. But the market's moved on, and while Ad-Aware Pro does a very respectable job of sniffing out malware, most of us will be better served by a more comprehensive suite.
Author: Darien Graham-Smith
- Why the iPhone 6 won't have NFC
- City of London slams BT for "unacceptable" broadband
- Shopping gets personal: Amazon 3D printing lets you customise your order
- Next Windows Phone 8.1 update: smart covers, sensors and 7in displays
- 5G to arrive in London by 2020
- Will right to be forgotten extend to Google.com?
- Samsung Gear VR uses smartphone for virtual reality
- Google X gathering medical data to build picture of health
- Amazon posts another loss - its biggest since 2012
- Google ditches OpenSSL in Chrome
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- Meet the robots helping teach children
- PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?
- Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?
- Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out
- 13 computers that changed the world
- How to download YouTube videos to a PC or laptop: is it legal to download YouTube videos?
- Dropbox vs OneDrive vs Google Drive: what's the best cloud storage service of 2014?
- Hacking the Internet of Things: from smart cars to toilets
- BlackBerry Passport release date, specs, features, and rumours: when is the new BlackBerry coming out?
- What's changing in the computing curriculum
- Teaching kids to code
- Best free translation apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows 8 – what's the best compact tablet OS?
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?