Adware Report: ParetoLogic XoftSpy 3.2
Product: XoftSpy 3.2
Editor Rating: 2 stars
+ Faster than other products we've tested
+ Simple, easy-to-use, and uncluttered interface
- Coverage not as effective as other products
- Light on additional features, such as ability to schedule scans during off hours.
ParetoLogics spyware removal product, XoftSpy, provides moderate coverage at a higher price. The user interface is well laid-out, but a bit plain in appearance. The current version of XoftSpy lacks important functionality, such as the ability to schedule scans during off hours, and it couldnt detect a very wide range of spyware phenomena such as browser hijackings or spyware installations in progress.
XoftSpys user interface is basically well laid-out, although a bit plain and not particularly attractive.
On the plus side, it is simple and to-the-point; some of the other products we reviewed had cluttered or even incomprehensible user interfaces. XoftSpy has only four buttons: Stop, Backup, Remove, and Update. We felt this was appropriate as most people don't want to spend a lot of time tinkering with their spyware remover.
However, the interface has a couple of annoying quirks. First, the progress bar doesnt accurately indicate how much time remains during the scan. Instead, it cycles from 0 to 100 and starts over. Another thing we didnt like was that the primary window is non-resizable. We use a high-resolution monitor and we found that the columns in the scanning results grid were sized too small, causing the columns of text to mash into one another.
We performed a test scan on two heavily infected PCs (Windows XP and Windows 2000 Pro). XoftSpy was very fast, taking only 6 minutes, and unlike other products, did a full scan of the hard drive. However, we were unable to determine exactly how many spyware programs XoftSpy protects against, so it is unclear if the speed of the program was at the expense of coverage or due to superior scanning technology.
We are inclined to believe the former though. XoftSpy failed to fully detect and/or remove a number of common spyware programs. For instance, we installed hotbar while XoftSpy was loaded. It did not detect the installation in progress, nor did it detect it when running in memory (which was very annoying, as immediately upon installation, we were greeted with three unwanted popup ads).
After we ran a scan, it did detect hotbar but only partially. It found the registry keys as well as a hotbar log file, but it did not remove the program itself. The test PC continued to suffer from browser popups after we attempted to remove the offending spyware. In comparison, both of our top rated products (Aluria Spyware Eliminator and Webroots Spy Sweeper both successfully detected and completely removed hotbar, including all registry settings and associated .dll's).
Another feature we would like to see in XoftSpy is a full description of the spyware it finds. Although it lacks this functionality, it does at least give a relative indicator of danger (Annoying, Dangerous, etc)
XoftSpy offers a backup option. It was unique in that it allows you to compress all files removed into a zip file. This not only saves space, but also can prevent quarantined spyware from tripping up other spyware removal programs. It does this at the cost of an extra few clicks, something which can be annoying if you run spyware scans on a daily basis, as we do.
XoftSpy offers only the most basic options, such as allowing you to select which drives to scan. It lacks a scheduler, which is a major strike against it. Also, updates of the spyware definition file must be performed manually, and the program will not alert you when a new update is available.
XoftSpy has been incorrectly labeled as rogue software. Our tests indicate that XoftSpy does not install spyware, adware, or other malware on your PC, nor does it appear that theyve appropriated freeware source code. However, it does not appear to offer comparable protection to other products weve tested and it has a higher price point.
Free Trial: No, but will perform a free scan.
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