With spyware taking over at an alarming pace as the next problem that computer users have to face, companies left and right are developing software solutions that claim to remove all known traces of spyware from your machine.

I recently tried out a few of these anti-spyware programs (which will remain nameless) and I found some striking similarities between them all.  They all claim certain features that are only available if you pay for the upgraded version.

Now keep in mind the programs I sampled offer free versions that have the same features as the paid versions.

A lot of these programs claim that you can download them for free and it will clean your computer of any spyware that it finds traces of, but sometimes that’s not quite what they do.

So here is my list of 5 things that all of these programs should do if they claim that they are free and have the same features as the standard paid version.

  1. If you’re going to remove all the known traces, then REMOVE them.
    I hate when a program says it will remove it all, so you scan you computer and wait until it finishes, only to find out that you have to pay for the “standard” version for it to actually remove the spyware from your computer.  There are plenty of software packages that do this already such as, Adaware, Spybot, and Spyware Doctor and these are all free to use.
  2. Don’t tell me you’re up to date on the latest spyware traces if you’re not.magnifying glass
    There were times I would update and then run these programs side by side and they would all tell me different things on how many traces they found.  Now I can’t say it was just these programs I used that do this, many times I will run Adaware and Spybot only to get conflicting results.
  3. Stop telling me that my tool bars are spyware.
    I ran several scans and a few programs told me that my StumbleUpon tool bar was malicious and needed to be removed.  Sometimes, yes there are tool bars that get installed and we didn’t want them to be, but they aren’t installed by Google, Alexa, or StumbleUpon.
  4. If you have features like safe scan and deep search, then have them be on by default.
    If your software package is so efficient at scanning every nook and cranny of my hard drive then make sure it’s set up that way right out of the box.  I don’t want to search through the help guide to find out how to use your software to it’s fullest.
  5. And finally, if I have to pay for the software to use it properly, then make it worth it.
    If these companies are going to go through all the trouble of hiding features that only paying customers get, they better be worth it.  Many times the paid versions are exactly the same as the free version with paltry features like scheduling and priority customer service.

So there you have it folks, some of you might consider this as a rant, but I’d like to think of it as a small step towards a larger complaint that will hopefully change the way these programs are designed and released to the masses.  What are your thoughts on this issue?  What programs (if any) do you use to clean spyware off of your computer?