Spyware removers work by comparing what's on your machine to a list of known offenders. As ever, the top anti-ad/spyware programs are commercial, but that doesn't necessarily mean you need to buy them. Try these first:
- A-squared Free edition.
Boasting awards aplenty, EMSI Software's A-squared free edition lacks the background scanning facilities of its commercial big brother, Anti-Malware, yet still packs in almost all its most useful functions. It's user-friendly with daily auto-updates, and has received excellent user feedback. Thanks to bazzlad for posting it in the forum discussion.
- Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware free edition.
Whilst the free version doesn't provide real-time protection or scheduled updates, Anti-Malware is still powerful enough to make a big difference, and as a lightweight program it's pretty quick too.
- Ad Aware 8 free edition.
Ad Aware's great at detecting and removing malware, and this version works even faster than previous ones. On the downside though, most of its features are locked in the free version, meaning that if you make it your primary tool, you won't be fully protected.
- Spybot – Search & Destroy.
Spybot's been going for a while, and while it has a pretty long list of features, it's always received mixed feedback. It's fairly processor-hungry, so if your machine's already quite slow it'll be an unwelcome addition.
- Spyware Doctor 2010 free edition.
The commercial version of Spyware Doctor is one of the best-perfoming anti-ad/spyware programs, yet the free trial version comes with numerous restrictions, and only offers real-time protection, no scanning etc.