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III. Microsoft AntiSpyware Tool

Although they showed up a bit late to the party, even Microsoft has released its own anti-spyware tool. At the moment it's still in beta, which means that it's being tested before it's released to consumers. It includes real-time spyware scanning through a Spyware Security Agent, similar to the protection offered by both Ad-Aware and Spybot. This Agent will monitor not only your computer's Registry, like Spybot does, but also other critical files on your PC to make sure that they're not being changed without your permission. The Microsoft AntiSpyware Tool will schedule daily scans of your hard drive and will automatically download anti-spyware definition updates on a regular basis. Once the Microsoft Tool has detected a spyware infection, it will show you a screen similar to Figure 14. You can see that this is closer to the Ad-Aware product where you have a friendly description of the problem along with a one-click removal option. You should also notice the Create restore point checkmark at the bottom of the screen: this is what will allow you to undo any changes made by the tool.

Figure 14

Figure 14. The Microsoft AntiSpyware Tool

Since the Microsoft AntiSpyware Tool is still in beta, I can't tell you when it's going to be sufficiently tested, or even if it's going to be free of charge. Keep an eye on http://www.microsoft.com/spyware for more details on the official release of this exciting new tool.

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