Managing Spyware

It is a good practice to restart your computer in safe mode before running a scan. Often, if running windows normally, your programs will detect spyware that is currently running and cannot be removed. Safe mode boots up a fresh copy of windows, running just a basic framework, and thus any Spyware detected will be idle and able to be deleted. You will find yourself with a recurring problem if you merely scan from normal mode. You can boot into Safe mode by tapping the F8 key at startup until you are presented with the system menu. Select "Safe mode" and hit Enter. The next time you reboot you will be returned to normal mode.


Another key differentiator for anti-spyware is how it handles updates to the spyware reference database. It's important to look for a package that allows you to schedule automatic updates to the spyware definitions file in order to get the information on the latest threats.

Most paid spyware works on a subscription basis, and one thing to check for is whether the subscription price gets you access to only the updates to the spyware definition database, or whether you can also get updates to the core application as well. In addition, you should look into whether the updates also include new immunisation data (such as new lists of problem Web sites).

Management and administration

Although most anti-spyware available is for personal PC use, enterprise solutions are starting to become more widely available. Enterprise solutions integrate a software distribution and administration system into the anti-spyware package.

Client-server anti-spyware is a relatively new category and still a little rough around the edges, but it's rapidly developing into a category comparable to enterprise antivirus, with similar deployment and management systems.

If you're looking to use a distributed anti-spyware solution, some of the most important things you need to consider are:

  • How is the anti-spyware deployed from the administrator to target PCs?
  • How is it managed by the administrator -- via a Web browser, proprietary console or other method?
  • What kind of information does it provide about clients (such as the current version of the reference database, the last time a scan was run and what has been found on this PC)?
  • Can I initiate remote and customised scans on client PCs?
  • How easy is it to set global variables, such as update periods?
  • Does it allow me to save bandwidth by using a centrally-updated reference file?
  • What kind of incidence reporting does it provide, and how does it provide it?

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