One topic that I get asked about more than any other is that of Spyware & Adware – Software installed without the knowledge of the user in order to track your computer usage habits or expose you to advertising.The majority of you are probably fed up with me bleating on about how to scan and remove this software from your computer but it is genuinely amazing that even with all the programs available in the marketplace today quite how many machines are still infected.I’d say that the majority of computers that I ever sit in front of have at least a couple of pieces of this pesky software installed without the users knowledge so it is important that even if you think your system is clean that you follow my advice today anyway.

The primary problem with Spyware is that whilst the majority of it does no serious harm it can slow your computer down and make it more unstable and because of this is certainly worth doing a check every now and again to ensure that your machine is clean.Microsoft have recently launched an update to their popular program ‘Windows Anti-Spyware’ going under the name of ‘Windows Defender’ and this free application should certainly make life a little easier.

Once you’ve jumped through all the hoops that Microsoft insist on in order to confirm that you own a legal copy of Windows and downloaded the 6.5mb file then installation is pretty straight forward.Once installed the program will automatically perform an update and a quick system scan and then when any nasties have been removed you will be presented with the Windows Defender dashboard.

Because the defender service is always running in the background you will find that the dashboard mentioned above is just a simple front-end which you probably won’t want to use too much as the defender service will automatically update itself and should remove any spyware threats without user intervention.

One of the main problems with the earlier version of the software ‘Windows Anti-Spyware’ was that it was quite an intrusive program that sat in the system tray and popped up every time it saw something slightly suspicious.Of course this would get annoying after a few minutes and served only to panic the less experienced computer user so thankfully Windows Defender is much less intrusive and once you’ve installed it for the first time you really shouldn’t see it again unless you summon the dashboard into action.

The scanning engine is a lot more advanced than the old Windows Anti-Spyware and so is capable of detecting a larger range of Spyware as well as being able to peer inside compressed files.Additionally the software integrates with Internet Explorer in order to preventing the user from accidentally download Spyware in the first instance.

To conclude, every Windows XP user should head to www.microsoft.comand download this application from the front page.Just take five minutes to install the program and then forget about it safe in the knowledge that you are now protected from current Spyware threats – there really is no excuse for not downloading this one!


About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.