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First look at Microsoft's antispyware beta

Our first look at Microsoft's beta finds some impressive features but also uncovers some expected bugs that will need some remedying.

I was eager to take a look at the beta of Microsoft's antispyware product on Jan. 6 when it was released. After downloading and installing it, I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed.

Not only was the installation and configuration intuitive and easy, but the scanning of the computer doesn't bog down my computer like Spybot, AdAware or PestPatrol do.

Here are some of my findings:

  • Upon first scan, the program told me that I have AutoAdminLogin running and asked me to disable it. I use this at home so I can boot my computer and walk away to get some coffee. I turn it off when I travel. I thought it was interesting that it identified this.

  • Instead of downloading the latest signature file before I initiated the first computer scan, the software downloaded and applied the latest sig file during the scan. A couple of other folks mentioned this happened to them, too, so it looks like this needs to be fixed. I'd rather have the antispyware app updated at the beginning instead of thinking the scan may miss something because it's not been updated.

  • This product has a pretty neat Browser Hijack Restore feature in the Advanced Tools. This lets you set something like the Windows XP Restore Point, except just for your browser (I'm sure this is only related to Internet Explorer but I haven't checked it with Firefox yet). Basically, if your browser starts acting all funky, you can restore it to a good known point.

  • The program found five things on my computer that it considered spyware. I don't consider three of them spyware at all since I know the source, but it's still nice to see it located them when Spybot, AdAware and PestPatrol did not.

Overall, I'm impressed. For a beta product, it does a great job. I'm most impressed with the scanning performance. Usually, when I scan my computer for Spyware, I just load Spybot, AdAware or PestPatrol (all installed on my computer) and walk away because the computer is practically unusable during the scan -- akin to how the Windows Installer service also kills computer performance during application installations.

Give it a try and let me know what you find:

Download location:

Web version:

NNTP version information:

  • Server:
  • Account name: privatenewsspyware
  • Password: spyware
    (Note that the password is case-sensitive.)

Rod Trent, manager of and Microsoft MVP is a leading expert on Microsoft Systems Management Server. He has 19 years of IT experience -- eight of which have been dedicated to SMS. He is the author of such books as Microsoft SMS Installer, Admin911:SMS, and IIS 5.0: A Beginner's Guide, and has written literally thousands of articles on technology topics.

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