Microsoft's AntiSpyware Program
Update: It's all good again. The initial blog entry I saw is back up, and the download is available again. So now I guess I can link. It was Michael Swanson :) He seems to have been the first to have mention it anywhere. w00t!
I saw a blog post tonight from XXXX (I'll explain lower) saying that the first beta of Microsoft's AntiSpyware program was available.
This is an area that MS have been really lacking, and I'm very glad they're finally doing something about it - even if they had to buy it off GIANT first *grin*
So I thought to myself, I gotta get this and try it!
And I did.
It's still a beta, but it works very well. I ran a complete scan over my hard drive, and it found two BHO's that shouldn't have been there (I was trying to prove a point - I have a clean system, so i installed a couple that I knew were technically spyware, but unharmful), and reported on an application (KazaaLite). It's default settings were to remove the BHO's, but ignore kazaa, as it's only displaying ads, not actually being harmful...much :)
So it found exactly what I expected it to find, and a little extra as well. Nice! It's got a whole swag of options, and includes some real-time agents that monitor a whole heap of different shell and browser things, to stop them from the start.
The interface is a little crappy, in that it's very wizard-like and pretty, but hard to use well as a result if you have a clue what you're doing. When I finally made it into the preferences, I discovered I was already running in 'knowledgeable' mode rather than 'novice' mode too!
As for beta problems, I've really only come across three issues so far:
- No support for the mouse wheel.
- At one stage when looking at the different agents, the screen it was displaying needed a scroll bar, but it didn't display it. I had to resize the form for it to recalculate.
- No multi-monitor support: I moved the program to the other screen while it was scanning, but when it removed the bad BHO's, it's progress pop-up was back on the first monitor (and i couldn't drag it).
- The main GUI form, when you check the process listing, is called GIANTAntiSpywareMain.exe. Oops :)
But it seems pretty good. I'd definitely prefer to be running an app like this when it's written by MS guys (or at least, maintained now by MS guys :) rather than Adaware and SpyBot - and the blog entry that told me about the download said it appears to be better than both combined anyway. I don't have anything against either of these other two programs, but my gut says the MS guys know more places to look for bad stuff :)
But I'm wondering if i should uninstall it now. You'll recall at the start of this post that the blog i saw it on was called XXXX? His post has since been removed, and the download page on the Microsoft website has been removed too. I don't want to name any names in case he gets in trouble - they've obviously retracted the beta.
But was it retracted for a last minute problem, or for some other reason? I wish i knew. I don't know if i can trust it now :)
However, when the beta comes out again, I recommend you all give it a try - it seems pretty nice!
I'll update this post (or do another) if and when the beta comes back.