When it comes to free spyware detection and removal downloads, the company Lavasoft is one of the best known and most reliable names in the business. They were one of the first companies to address the issue of spyware and malware back in 1999, originally starting in Germany. They moved to Sweden in 2002, and released their first ever anti-spyware product, Ad-Aware. Today it is one of the top programs you can get for free protection from the threat of spyware.

The latest anti-spyware program you can download from Lavasoft is the Ad-Aware Free Anniversary Edition. The download and install will take under 10-15 minutes using a hi-speed internet connection and newer PC. Note that the site will offer you Ad-Aware Plus for free, should you complete an offer from Sony, Apple, Blockbuster, Discover Cards or Gap. Otherwise it's $26.95. Opt for the free version, it's good enough for most systems to keep spyware at bay. Once installed, you receive the Ad-Aware program as well as Ad-Watch which is real time protection against spyware threats.

For the free spyware removal downloads this is one of the better ones you can get. It includes a Web Update feature, as well as three scan modes. Smart Scan will give you a fast system check to check the most critical areas of your PC. The Full Scan is just what it says, checking every nook and cranny of your computer file system. Finally, the Profile Scan is for more advanced users who want to create a special profile of the areas to be scanned.

The Ad-Watch Live! feature includes realtime protection against malicious processes from starting on your system. Additionally, you can turn on registry and network protection. There are also "Edit Rules" buttons for each of these realtime protections, but are best left untouched unless you really know what you're doing.

Another nice feature on Ad-Aware Free Anniversary Edition is the "TrackSweep". What this will do is sweep all the tracks you left after surfing the web including cookies, last typed URL's, history, tabs and the cache. A great little built in feature that many people will get great use out of. Firefox and many other internet browsers contain this as well, but it never hurts to use it from Ad-Aware too.

There's a few things about this program that you may find annoying. One is the constant "register now" pop-up box you'll get whenever you start the program up. It tells you to simply close that box if you want to use the free version. Obviously a hassle for many. Another feature lacking is some sort of status bar when the program is performing a scan. Instead it gives you a clock timer to let you know just how long it's taking to do its scan. A recent full scan I performed took close to an hour for 255,000 items. Your computer may have more or less, giving varying speed. The good news was it identified almost 245 spyware or malware threats which it then performed removal of.

Overall, I recommend that people download this program and use it regularly to prevent the threats of Spyware. It's recommended you use a combination of 2 anti-spyware programs to catch as many possible threats on your PC as you can. Make Ad-Aware your first choice; it's free and the features and protection are well worth the under 10 minute download.