Reviewers say Webroot Software Spy Sweeper is usually the best all-around anti-spyware program. Professional reviews consistently give Spy Sweeper high marks and say it's more effective than all-inclusive security suites or freeware. The pros disagree a bit about the specifics. One credible review says Spy Sweeper 5.5 version with Antivirus (*Est. 45) is better at removing malware than blocking it in the first place, while another says tests show the opposite and that version 5.0 is better at both tasks. User reviews complain that Spy Sweeper slows down their computer, but that's a common complaint put forth regarding security software in general. Included is a year's worth of online updates and free live-chat support. If buying separate anti-spyware, antivirus, firewall, etc. is too much trouble, you could consider an all-inclusive security suite, such as Norton Internet Security 2010 (Discontinued).
We found the best reviews at PCMag.com, PC World and CNET. They're the most up to date, and all three perform extensive unbiased testing. ConsumerReports.org rates Webroot Software Spy Sweeper version 5.3 rather than version 5.5. We found a credible, helpful reviews at Web User that's based on testing. There are several user reviews on Amazon.com, but they go back several years and thus encompass various generations of this product.
PCMag.com does thorough testing of every product it reviews and assigns numerical scores that help make comparisons easy. Webroot Software Spy Sweeper gets an Editors' Choice rating, though reviewer Neil Rubenking says it's better at removing malware than at denying its entry.
Review: Spy Sweeper 5.5 with Antivirus, Neil J. Rubenking, June 28, 2007
2. PC World
PC World contracts with AV-Test.org to test six anti-spyware applications, linking to full reviews on each. Webroot Software Spy Sweeper places third, with the comment that "our former Best Buy is well designed and provides good behavior-based detection, but disinfection was not as solid."
Review: Die, Spyware, Die!, Ryan Naraine, Aug. 22, 2007
CNET does extensive testing of anti-spyware software and likes Webroot Software Spy Sweeper 5.5, especially its free live support. But "although Webroot Spy Sweeper 5.5 scored well in CNET tests, it installs the Ask.com toolbar, which seems odd for an anti-spyware product to do."
Review: Webroot Spy Sweeper 5.5, Robert Vamosi, Updated March 5, 2008
ConsumerReports.org applies laboratory and hands-on testing to a dozen free and paid anti-spyware programs, ranking them in a chart. However, the versions are old -- Spy Sweeper 5.3 is rated rather than 5.5. You must be a subscriber to read this report.
Review: Webroot Spy Sweeper 5.5 Review, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, September 2007
More than 90 user reviews give Webroot Spy Sweeper a mediocre average score, but few are actually in the middle -- owners either love it or hate it. These ratings go back several years and encompass various versions, but the most frequent, recent complaints concern the software slowing users' computers.
Review: Webroot Spy Sweeper Antispyware 5.x, Contributors to Amazon.com