SpyBot Search & Destroy review, manual and guides

by Linas Kiguolis - -

SpyBot software is developed by Safer-Networking Ltd, Ireland. The main goal of this program is to search and remove malicious software from infected computers. Also known as SpyBot – Search & Destroy, the anti-malware application is designed for home and business users. 

All users can choose to view additional information on the available features or additional tools and settings. It is fully functional and free for personal use.

SpyBot offers user three versions of the program. SpyBot Free Search & Destroy includes Anti-Malware and Anti-Spyware features and it is completely free. Then, SpyBot Home starts at only $15.99 per yearly subscription and offers an all-in-one security package with an antivirus features and other extra tools. Finally, SpyBot Pro starts at $27.99 and provides many additional security and protection features, antivirus protection, Boot CD Creator and more.

The app has a lot of malware[1] detection and prevention features like the removal of malware, rootkits[2], adware[3], and toolbars, also network scan and fix. It also has good news for iPhone users because of its iPhone® Profile Scan which will ensure the safety of the iOS-running gadget. 

Immunization and quarantine are only available in the full version.

If SpyBot – Search & Destroy finds malicious software on your computer, it deletes it straightaway. The functions of immunization and quarantine are available for an additional fee.

The program has a very nice feature, which is deleting usage traces. It makes it difficult for internet spies to track your activity on the Internet. This tool can remove your browser history, opened files, programs, and cookies[4]. You can do it by yourself, but this feature makes everything for you automatically.

There are two modes in Spybot + AV: one is for beginners and another is for experts. The advanced mode has additional tools and settings. 

Spybot can delete your browser history.

There is no virus scanner in the free version of this software. So, you have two options: you can either use SpyBot – Search & Destroy and combine it with a different antivirus system, or you can buy the full version of the product. The license for the full version can be bought and used for 1 year.

An important note! Please make sure that you download the software from a reputable source because there are many fake and virus-infected versions of this program on the Internet. By downloading a fake version you will infect your computer with malware and viruses. This will harm your operating system and the device itself.

Pros Cons Verdict

Very low price of the full version

Poor virus detection rate

This is not the best software for spyware removal because of its low virus detection rate, confusing navigation, and a poor user interface.

Low requirements for the computer

Unfriendly user interface

A lot of features

Confusing navigation

There are two options of Spybot – Search & Destroy: free and paid. It is up to you which option to choose. In the beginning, we would recommend trying a free version of SpyBot. Press the button named “SpyBot free edition” and you will start downloading the software. The whole downloading and installation process is as fluent and fast as any normal software installation. This software is compatible only with Windows operating system (versions: Vista, 7, 8, 9, 10).

Test Results

We have been testing this software for a month and in this article, we will try to briefly describe the results. We used a brand new computer with a clean version of Windows 10 operating system with an i7 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 256 GB SSD disk drive. We added 15 samples of malware in different places on the computer before the scan.

Antivirus protection

The software began its job with a system update, which took about 15 minutes. By the way, the update was not successful from the first attempt and it just froze in the middle of the process. We restarted the application and the update was resumed. This time the software update was successful and we finally started a full scan of the computer.

The application didn’t find all the hidden infected files with the samples of spyware. From the 15 hidden files which were malicious, this software found only 4 infected items.

Furthermore, it deleted and cleaned only two of them. Therefore we could say that it is an extremely low rate for detecting malicious files. We were expecting a little bit more from this software, but it's just how it is.

The program was not tested by any of independent testing labs recently, so it is hard to say how it could have performed in the bigger test.

Additional features

When it comes to additional features, SpyBot Search & Destroy actually offers a wide range of security tools depended on which version you get. The free edition of the program includes Scans for and fixes Malware, Rootkits, Internet Protection. It also immunizes system and offers Startup Tools, and Open SBI Detection Rules. The Home or a Professional version provides all-in-one antivirus protection, including Full Antivirus, Live Protection, System Repair, Secure Shredder, Multiple updates per day and more.

For a non-expensive anti-malware tool, SpyBot has a very decent feature set, even though it does not include privacy or optimization tools that most Internet security suites offer.

System-performance impact and scans

The performance of the computer was diminished during the scan, but not significantly. It took about 30 minutes to scan the whole computer. After the application was updated, our computer suddenly restarted by itself without any prompts. Unfortunately, we lost some unsaved data and it didn't look very professional from the developer's point of view.

SpyBot updated itself and scanned the computer in about 30 minutes without slowing it down too much. It is considered to be a normal duration of the computer scan and we have nothing negative to say about this.

User interface

The first impression of the software interface was not that good. The design of the software looked a little bit outdated and confusing. A user-friendly interface is important nowadays, but it is not the main goal of the software to look nice.

Customer Reviews

We analyzed a number of reviews of SpyBot – Search & Destroy on the Internet and we found a lot of unhappy user feedback about it. Many users say the same as we do: this software does not work effectively, has a poor detection rate, and slows down the computer. One source claims that the program only detected 32% of the malware.

On the other hand, we also found a lot of good feedback. It is a bit difficult to decide who is right and who is wrong, so we decided to simply trust our test results and draw the conclusion accordingly. Many users agree that the first version of SpyBot was much better.

The final verdict

The first version of this program was created many years ago and it was one of the first pieces of anti-spyware software on the market [5]. For some years it was abandoned by the developer, and the second version appeared only later. We expected this software to be one of the best spyware removal tools, but, unfortunately, it is not. However, the anti-malware tool still could work as an additional layer of your security, just to make sure your device is protected and malware-free. 

Feature Score
Anti-malware protection Mediocre
Security and Privacy features Many
System-performance impact Mediocre
Scans Fast
User interface Looks bit outdated


SpyBot and SpyRemover Pro

SpyBot and SpyRemover offer similar features, however, SpyBot can offer more. For instance, SpyRemover does not provide any privacy features that delete digital traces. But when it comes to malware detection and removal, SpyRemover got better scores. In addition, SpyBot has an interface that is a little bit confusing and looks outdated. In this case, Reviewed by Pro would recommend users SpyRemover Pro. 

If you want to read a detailed comparison, please click here.

SpyBot and SUPERAntiSpyware

SpyBot and SUPERAntiSpyware are low budget security packages with average detection rates and confusing user interfaces. Researchers would recommend users SUPERAntiSpyware because it offers more features for a better price. 

The detailed comparison of SpyBot and SUPERAntiSpyware is here.


About the author

Linas Kiguolis
Linas Kiguolis - Senior IT developer

Linas Kiguolis is a senior IT developer and news editor at Reviewedbypro.com. He has a major in Applied Computer Science because IT has been his passion for a very long time even before he went to college.

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