Best Free Adware-Spyware-Scumware Remover

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NB. This freeware category is as of 2019/04/04 under new editorial management, and is therefore right this moment, subject to a complete overhaul.


The Internet is a dangerous place to be in the 21st century. Unscrupulous people using malicious software are finding ingenious ways to access your information or lead you into spending money. Spyware harvests information from your computer with keylogging and data capture techniques, while adware tracks your browsing habits and tempts you with popup ads related to websites you have visited.

With every new generation of malware (adware, spyware, virus, rootkits, trojans), there will be a new generation of software to combat it. Gizmo's offers many useful articles and reviews to help today's computer user obtain the necessary tools to combat the virtual foe. This category will look at adware and spyware removers.

The following products have been reviewed for this category:

  • Spybot - Preventor, Remover
  • SUPERAntiSpyware (SAS) - Remover
  • Malwarebytes - Remover
  • SpywareBlaster - Preventor

Discovery: All these programs will perform manual scans, but some will not provide real-time scanning protection unless you upgrade to the paid version. Some are removers, some are preventers. It was difficult to find a free program that combined all the components. The winner in this category is Spybot for its removal and prevention ability in a free program. SAS found more to remove, however it doesn't offer real-time protection.


Rated Products


A malware remover designed for basic use yet offers information for advanced users

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Real-time protection, protects one or more user profiles.
Scan didn't detect malware coded file, does not uninstall cleanly.
Read full review...


Detects and removes malware without real-time protection in the free version

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Simple functional menus, good cookie tracker, supports all browsers.
Free version doesn't offer real time protection, only scans.
Read full review...

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free  

Malware detection and removal software but the free version doesn't offer real time protection

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)
Detected files other programs missed, light and simple.
No real-time protection, no scheduling.
Read full review...


Prevent and protect from the installation of adware, spyware and scumware

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Customizable block lists, doesn't use system resources by running in the back ground, does not affect browser performance or conflict with other software.
Not a removal tool, must update protections after updating lists.
Read full review...

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This software category is maintained by volunteer editor George.J Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.


The comments section below is so lengthy that it has become difficult for our visitors to read. Future posts will now be edited for length and repetition, and personal attacks deleted. You are all welcome to join our Security Forum which is much better suited for intensive debate.

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Average: 4 (342 votes)


When you install the program, the last window titled Completing the Setup Wizard will give you 3 options. Uncheck the first option to opt out of the trail version. To fix your situation, uninstall the program then reinstall then opt out of the trail version.

Hi JoeGuru. I have been computing for many years now and never run into any problems with malware, adware, viruses, etc. until............the kids! For some unknown reason, they seem to find it if it's out there! I actually got rid of the last 2 laptops and bought a general use desktop computer for the kids and a higher spec laptop for myself.
Two my children are on the desktop is there anything 'extra' that should be added to the PC to give extra security for their use? And, I bought a the new laptop solely for my own use as I am going to University full time but I would like to protect it as best I can. What would be your recommendation for both or either?
My laptop has windows 8.1 and I'm not sure if all software has been updated to operate with this system?.?.?

We are unable to respond to individual support requests here in the comments sections. Please transfer your post to the section of our forum linked below where it will gain better coverage and the responses kept in chronological order. MC - Site Manager.

SPYBOT ran on my computer for 40 minutes and found all sorts of problems, but it turned out it WAS NOT FREE. In order for it to remove the problems it had to be purchased for $29.
That's a sort of hustle.

Sorry to hear of your experience, however Spybot's spyware removal feature is still free. They have additional features they charge for, however those features were not reviewed in this category. Most of the software in the category have a free and paid component. During the past year or so, Free Anti-Virus programs have incorporated very good spyware removal and anti-malware features and also provide real time protection which most of the programs in this category do not. I recommend you take a look at this category also:

I'd like to point out you can download Malwarebytes free directly from

Besides which, I try to avoid CNET like the plague.

Thanks Joe. This will be corrected in the new reviews.

I Use Malwarebytes and SUPERAntiSpyware, for On demand scanning and for "Live" protection yes I use SpywareBlastor as well as Spybot in conjunction with Spyware Terminator.

So I think you can see I defiantly enjoyed the article.......However

I was just wondering if there are any reasons why Spyware Terminator was not mentioned.

Spyware Terminator changed owners a while back. The free version is now crippled and the new owners have a reputation for scam products. This is why their website is red rated by WOT (Web Of Trust). Gizmo's Freeware does not feature products in reviews unless their WOT rating is green. MC - Site Manager.

Wow......well that is certainly an answer.....MC!

If you was to see my computer all departments you would see a definite pattern of software that is also listed in the relevant sections of Gizmo. Some were a coincidence, as in I had them already or knew about them, and some were defiantly installed after me researching in depth.......including here at the excellent Gizmo Freeware site.

All thou not all my choices are number one at Gizmo, they are at the very least mentioned.This is why I was curious about Spyware Terminator and Gizmo. At the very least I thought our brains where in sync lol.

I shall now do some more research concerning Spyware Terminator, and look for a possible alternative if need be.

I tend to keep my Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware packages separate, but now during some planned research as mentioned above, I shall look into suites as well. Not complete suites such as firewall inclusive, just Anti Virus & Anti Spyware inclusive.

Thanks for you reply and explanation Midnight Cowboy....I believe Gizmo & My computer are now back in sync lol

You're welcome. :) All the top free antivirus programs are now broad spectrum so they contain antispyware elements too. I've not felt any need for an additional antispyware program running in real time. I use the free version of WinPatrol to guard against unwanted components such as toolbars that attempt to slip through during software installs and Malwarebytes which occasionally finds something more like adware than spyware which is not classified as malicious by my antivirus program. MC - Site Manager.

As far as I've seen, independent testing of Spybot has been abysmal. As just one example, PC Magazine concluded, "In testing, it proved almost 100 percent ineffective.",2817,2412372,00.asp

Thank you for your comments. I respectfully disagree. The article you quoted was a year old and based on other information at PCMag seemed bias. They don't consider free anti-malware programs effective anymore, so Spybot isn't the only one they have a problem with. Also according to CNET and Softpedia users it's ranked 4/5. Techspot ranked it 4.5/5 in a review dated Nov 2013. There are others. One reason I ranked it so well was in my testing it was the only program that provided real-time protection for free and did a comparable job of removing malware. If you wish to continue the discussion regarding the effectiveness of Spybot or other free anti-malware products, please post a thread in the Freeware Forum.

Good Day! I hope you're enjoying a pleasant one. I like your article. It's concise, clear, and helpful except for one small sentance. Is the following a typo, or reference to a program I should also evaluate: In the text about Spywareblaster -> "Spywareblock is the only program reviewed to recommend this step." ...did you mean to write "Spywareblaster" rather than "Spywareblock"?

I believe I'm going to try Spywareblaster first. I hate bulging, intrusive, resource hogging applications that slow down my system and/or annoy me with various notifications and/or sales pitches. My second evaluation will be Malwarebytes.

Let me just add that I don't run any anti-virus software or any other malware, spyware software. I don't have malware protection clicked "on" in my browser (Chrome)... I haven't used any of that junk for as long as I can remember... many years... over a decade... or at least as long as I've been using WinPatrol Plus. I'm a heavy internet user... but No Gaming or anything like that...

WinPatrolPlus by design, blocks and notifies me regarding anything that tries to make Any "system" changes without my permission. I've had no invasions of any kind. Maybe it's just that I'm Lucky... but I don't even use a Firewall. I have had No Issues Whatsoever. I'm now networking my girlfriends Acer Netbook with mine and thought that maybe a little extra protection would be warranted. Although, like I said, if it eats resources of any kind, or annoys me in any way, I'm kickin' it outta here! I believe the secret to a healthy computer, and one that lasts and doesn't get rapidly Downgraded, is to keep one's system Clean and Lean. Enjoy Everything! ~ John B. Owego, NY

Yes that was a typo, and thank you for pointing it out. I always appreciate comments and feedback.

I trust Gizmo's suggestion and I use this site for software recommendation ... BUT, I am WARNING all of you people NOT to install "SPYBOT" ... simply put, it is a Piece of CRAP software.

I am amazed how the heck Gizmo, TechSupportAlert, has given these guys a 5-Star.

After installing this Crap ... my laptop was not the same ... I wanted to use this S**T for on-demand Scanner ... and it would NOT let me set it up as such.

So, I uninstalled it using Revo-Unistaller 1.95 Freeware ... heck even Revo had a hard time unistalling it ... SPYBOT (as it's name says it is a SPY ... might as well as treat it as a TROJAN).

After uninstalling ... I guess it is uninstalled ... my Firefox and Chrome slow as dickens ... almost DEAD. Laptop Re-Starts goes into "REPAIR" mode ... Why!?!?



I think it may be useful at this point to inform you of Spybots ENTIRE name. Spybot search and destroy. Doing a simple google search of "spybot" turns up quite a few imposters. If it does NOT say Search and Destroy, it is NOT the real Spybot. I have never had a single problem with spybot and have been using it now for at least 6 years. Its always be a safe, reliable program for me.

Please refer to the developers website. Technically the product name is Spybot 2.2 Free Edition as there are free and paid versions of Spybot Search and Destroy. Either Spybot or Spybot S&D would be correct, and neither term is exclusively used by the developer. Regarding the Google search, that doesn't really apply here because we provide links directly to the developer. I did a simple Google search for Spybot as you suggested and the first page of search results were all for the correct product, so I can't validate your claim of this being a major issue. Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback and express your concerns.
Gonwk thank you for your feedback. It's unfortunate when a user has a poor experience with a software, and having such experiences myself with other programs I can certainly understand. I recommend you contact Spybot regarding your concerns with their software and let them know you used Revo, that may have influenced your experience. Regarding our review and ranking please note under the 5 star rating, one of the cons of this program is "does not uninstall cleanly". This is not to say it will negatively impact your computer, rather you will need to use a cleaner like 360Amigo or Ccleaner to remove the trace files left from the uninstall. When I did the uninstall I used Windows 7 control panel. If you would like further feedback on this topic, please post a thread in our Freeware Forum. Thank you.

@ joeguru Which one, is on your opinion the best for on demand scanning?

Thank you for your question. I would recommend SAS for on demand scanning.


SAS was updated to version 5.6.1020.

MBAM was updated to version with added ability to scan within archives.

Can I please just mention that both links to the Malware download sites, in this article, are both broken at the moment (being 30 Mar 2013).

It is of course available on Softpedia

(I hope I was allowed to post that link?)


PS This is the BEST site, the absolute best site, for just about anything & everything I could ever need in my computer's and/or my life! The information is always correct & well sourced. If I follow the reviews, recommendations & instructions on this site, I am guaranteed to be one very happy customer. Thank you all for all your hard work :)

Thank you for your kind appreciation :). Yes, the Softpedia link is allowed. However, I just checked, and both the links to MBAM are working. Maybe some problem at your end?
Both links working from here too. MC - Site Manager.

...and they work fine on my end too. Conclusion: It's most likely something on the OP's end.

This might give more options for the OP to try. Another possibility of course is the computer might be infected. MC - Site Manager.