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Ad-Aware Pro AE (Anniversary Edition)

Celebrating 10 Years of Spyware and Malware Protection

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


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Back before users even knew what adware or spyware were, Lavasoft provided Ad-Aware software to detect, block, and remove the malicious software. Millions of users have relied on the free versions of the Ad-Aware product line, but Lavasoft has also provided additional features and more comprehensive protection in the Plus and Pro versions. In honor of 10 years of leading spyware and malware protection Lavasoft has released all new versions of the Ad-Aware product line. This is a review of Ad-Aware Pro AE- the flagship product offering the most comprehensive protection.

What's New in AE?

Lavasoft developers really went to work on this latest update of the venerable anti-malware product. The resulting product certainly seems worthy of being the 10th anniversary edition. Here are some of the key features and updates of Ad-Aware Pro AE:

  • Cleans and removes all traces of infections
  • Right-click access to initiate pin-point scanning of specific files or folders
  • Behavior-based Heuristic Detection
  • Database of over 2 million known threats
  • Continuous pulse updates keep software current
  • Create and save customized scan profiles
  • Major improvements in use of system resources
  • integrated Ad-Watch Live protection provides real-time protection

My Experience

I did not purchase a boxed version of the software. My version was downloaded from the Lavasoft web site. The installation was fast and smooth. At the end of the installation it requires a reboot to initiate protection. During the reboot process it also downloads the latest updates from Lavasoft to ensure your protection is up to date.

When my PC finished rebooting, the software was initially running in Ad-Aware Free AE mode. After starting the console up though I was asked for my registration code which unlocked the product and upgraded it to the full Ad-Aware Pro AE mode. Of course, because Ad-Aware Pro AE provides additional protective features it also required additional updates so I had to wait through the process of downloading updates again.

One of the first things I noticed, and a very welcome improvement, was the speed of Ad-Aware loading at bootup and executing scans. It also posed less of a drain on system resources than previous versions, allowing the background scanning and protection to be conducted without the sort of noticeable sluggishness that users are wary of with antimalware products in general.

The revised console layout is both aesthetically pleasing as well as more functional. It also makes it simpler for users to submit malware samples to Lavasoft. The cleaning functionality added in the AE version allow Ad-Aware to not only detect and remove threats, but also clean up after them to ensure all traces are removed.

I genuinely liked the product and found it to be a significant step forward for the venerable Ad-Aware product line.

The Verdict

There is a lot to like about Lavasoft's Anniversary Edition. The faster speed and revised look and feel are admirable reasons to make the leap to Ad-Aware Pro SE.

There are some drawbacks though. For starters, the TrackSweep feature that wipes your tracks in the web browser is not compatible with Google Chrome or Apple Safari, two small, but popular web browsers.

Ad-Aware Pro AE integrates Ad-Watch Live so it does not have to be manually started separately, but some of the Ad-Watch warning messages are a little too vague to offer any real information that the user can understand or act on.

For those who don't want to invest $39.95 (or $49.95 for a 3-license pack), Lavasoft still provides Ad-Aware Free AE. Users of the Free edition get the same great protection...at least for the features and functions included in it. What Ad-Aware Free AE users will not get are heuristic detection or real-time registry protection. The Free version is also lacking the ability to schedule scans, and is not capable of scanning network drives.

Don't get me wrong though. For the price (FREE), it does a lot and provides adequate protection against a variety of threats. But, the complete version, Ad-Aware Pro AE, is well worth the investment if you want more complete and comprehensive protection for your PC(s).

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