GIANT may not be a household name when it comes to spyware, as most people know them for their spam software. Prior to this beta, I had not tested their anti-spyware software and that was my loss. In the few days I've used the software, I've found the program appealing as it balances power with ease of use.
The first item we feel novice users will appreciate is the Setup Assistant. This Assistant consists of several panels that will guide you in setting automatic updates and real time protection. In each step, there is a clear description and recommended setting. The final step asks if you would like to run the scan now. One feature we liked was the software would estimate how long the scan would take based on my settings.
Apart from the Setup Assistant, the software also offers advanced settings such as Real-time Protection for people who like to tweak. Again, the screen nicely displays a description and status for each entry. If you're still stumped, there are links to help files. One small annoyance was our help module loaded off to the side and we often had to reposition it.
Although program aesthetics are nice, the real test is how well the software performs. Our first impressions with the software are positive. The program performed well against Pest Patrol, SpyBot S&D and Ad-Aware SE Plus for speed and accuracy. One benefit is this program offers a list of recommended actions (Ignore, Quarantine, Remove or Always Ignore) if "potentially unwanted software" is found.
We also appreciated the System Summary that displayed when we opened the program. It was reassuring to know that the program automatically ran at my scheduled time. Too often, I've seen scheduled utilities fail to run.
The only other issue we had was the program's General default setting for User Modes. We expected this to be set to "Novice User" but it showed "Knowledgeable User". If you're not comfortable with this setting, simply check the other setting.
While we believe it's important for vendors to perform beta tests, there are some reminders we'd like to stress if you decide to participate:
o The software only works with Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003.
o This program is best suited for individual users and not enterprise users. If you're an enterprise user, we suggest you wait for an enterprise version.
o You must have Internet Explorer 6.0 installed
o There is a known compatibility issue with Windows Media Center Extender.
Although we believe Microsoft has thoroughly tested this software, it is impossible for them to test every configuration. This is one reason why companies have beta tests. They get feedback reports from customers and act accordingly. And on occasion, beta programs can report false positives or create instability.
Do the above points mean you shouldn't try the software? No. I think the software is worth beta testing by two groups of users. The first is people who don't use anti-spyware software and are experiencing signs of an infected machine. These signs include:
- Your PC seems very sluggish
- You continually get pop up ads when you browse the Internet
- Your home page or search page has changed without your knowledge
If you have these symptoms, there's a very good chance you already have spyware and should remove it. While there are other free anti-spyware applications available, we think the Microsoft interface is easier to understand than most.
The other group that might want to beta test the program is people who have participated in beta tests and know the risks or have an extra machine. My suggestion would be to first check the beta newsgroup. The newsgroup should give you a better idea of issues people are reporting. For example, there have been some postings of the program falsely reporting a security risk if you added sites to your Restricted Zone or blocked all cookies in Internet Explorer.
- URL: Microsoft AntiSpyWare Page
- Cost: Free for now
- Requires: Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP
Last Updated (Tuesday, 15 September 2009 03:09)