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[Discussion] Why Lunarsoft suggests Ad-Aware SE over Ad-Aware 2007

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Ad-Aware 2007 had great potential to be an excellent anti-spyware program. I was thoroughly involved with the beta testing process and found it to be better than the older Ad-Aware SE 1.06r1. The version they released to the beta testers was a fully unlocked Ad-Aware 2007 Professional, though it had a one to two week expiry integrated.

There were a few things that a lot of users did not like and requested that they be removed, unfortunately Lavasoft left them in. The highest item on the request list was the removal of service that was installed. While it was part of the core of the application according to the public FAQ, it was unnecessary. Ad-Aware SE could do all of these tasks without ever needing a service. On the plus side the scans were fast and thorough, detecting most malware but still not all of it. Thankfully Spybot Search and Destroy and Rogue Remover could clean up the leftovers.

So if you were in the beta program, great! You could really do a lot. Once the beta program ended, even if you had participated and submitted bugs, they didn't leave you with much. Actually, they didn't leave you with anything except for a "Thank you!" to all of the beta testers. Now you're left with Ad-Aware 2007 Personal. Let's discuss that.

Ad-Aware 2007 Personal may look good, but that's about as good as it gets. If you don't have the Ad-Aware 2007 Plus or Ad-Aware 2007 Professional versions, you get a screen prompting you to upgrade to Ad-Aware 2007 Plus or Ad-Aware 2007 Professional when you click a certain option or feature. You have to upgrade to use a feature or function that was in Ad-Aware SE Personal that worked flawlessly and let you do all you needed to. You can do a Smart or Full scan, but the ability to do a Custom Scan requires an upgrade. Every version of Ad-Aware installs the service which has been reported many times as having memory leak issues. Lavasoft, you should have listened to us! Among other problems, there are issues with the auto-updating, a problematic progress bar and a few other issues that are not as severe. Unfortunately the installer is an MSI installer, so if a user's machine is infected and has broken the Windows Installer service then you cannot install Ad-Aware 2007. Don't bother trying Safe Mode either because the Windows Installer service is not running and it takes a few tweaks just to get it to run. That's no good to a user or a technician trying to install Ad-Aware 2007 on an infected machine.

Once the final version had been released I used it for about an hour at the most. After seeing all of the restrictions on scanning alone, it was uninstalled and Ad-Aware SE Personal was back on my system.

Ad-Aware SE Personal has good and bad points when compared to Ad-Aware 2007 Personal. The best part of Ad-Aware SE Personal is that you can do a Custom Scan. This is great for in-depth scanning based on all forms of settings along. On top of that, you can change settings for the entire program which includes changing log settings and other tweaks. The ability to do a Custom Scan can be beneficial over a Full Scan and a Smart Scan. Updating is still supported so you can get the latest definitions. There is no service installed for Ad-Aware SE which helps in case there are any restrictive policies. Another benefit is that there is an installer that is not MSI based. This helps if any malware interferes with the Windows Installer service. The one real downside is that you will not have the benefits of the new scanning engine.

Given all of the good and bad points regarding Ad-Aware 2007 and Ad-Aware SE, the benefits of Ad-Aware SE outweigh those of Ad-Aware 2007 by far. In summary, with Ad-Aware SE you get to use Custom Scanning, can configure the application any way you please, have no services that install onto your system, and you have an installer that is not based on MSI. Oh, and you can get the non-MSI version of the Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE installer here on Lunarsoft in the download section (which will return soon).


Everyone has heard as to why I dislike Ad-Aware 2007 so much, despite it having a few good points. Now it's your turn. What do you have to say about the software covered in the article and what are your thoughts on the article itself?

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  • 4 months later...
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I kept AAW 2007 for quite a while, hoping to see the problems fixed. Some have been, but not enough - I've given up on it. Tried to uninstall, that didn't work; just removed the entry from the add/remove list. Tried the uninstall link in the start menu, Windows thinks it's not installed now. It still runs, though.

Gonna try reinstalling over the top and uninstalling again, if that doesn't work I'll try it in safe mode. That should do it.

Don't think I'll reinstall AAW SE, though. It's been years since it found anything for me, except MRUs and the occasional tracking cookie.

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