Spybot: Search and Destroy LogoSpybot: Search and Destroy is one of the most popular software titles available to combat adware, spyware, and malware. It was first developed in 2000 and is currently available for Windows 95 and beyond. Spybot does more than just protect your system from common adware threats, it can also protect your computer from hijackers, key loggers, trackerware, registry edits, and trojans.

The two best things about Spybot: Search and Destroy are that it is free to download and easy to use. Our guide will walk you through getting started with Spybot: Search and Destroy. Once you get started, you may wonder how you ever protected your computer without this program.

How to use Spybot: Search and Destroy

Once you download the program from its website, install the software and open Spybot: Search and Destroy.

Spybot main screen

Spybot: Search and Destroy comes in two versions: Default and Advanced. If this is your first time working with the program, stick to Default. It will have everything set-up for you and is simplest to use this way. You can always change the version by clicking on “Mode.”

Spybot modes

If you ever need help with Spybot, click on “Help.” From here, you can check out the help documents, the tutorial and an index of topics. You can also check out the About section as well as donate to the Spybot: Search and Destroy cause or visit its home page.

Help options

If you downloaded additional languages, you can switch the language at any time by clicking “Language.” You then choose which language you want and click on it to make the switch.


The quickest way to get started it to click “File.”

Check for problems

Now, click “Check for problems.”

Scanning your system

Spybot will begin searching your computer for threats.

This can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours depending on how large your hard drive is. Spybot will keep track of how many files have been scanned and how many total need to be scanned during the scan in the bottom left-hand corner of the program.

When Spybot: Search and Destroy is finished scanning, the results will be listed in the main window. You will see the name, the kind and where they are located as well as how many have been found under each entry.

Scan results

Check each box next to what is found, then click “Fix selected problems.”

A pop-up will appear asking you to confirm removing those entries. Click “Yes.”

Confirm removal

You will then receive confirmation that Spybot has eliminated the threats. Now, click “Ok.”

Problems fixed

Check marks will appear on each entry that was fixed. In some cases, Spybot may not be able to eliminate a threat and will let you choose whether to load the program during startup before your computer fully boots. It will then run a scan and get rid of the remaining files on your computer.

Problems fixed results

Recovery Feature

Spybot: Search and Destroy offers a recovery feature which allows you to restore entries you previously deleted. If you opt to save a backup of what you are eliminating, you want to click on “Recovery.”


From here, you simply want to click on the box next to what you want to restore. Then, click “Recover selected items.” You can also remove any items you have backed up by venturing to this area, then checking the box to next to them and clicking “Purge selected items.”

Immunizing Your Computer

This is another interesting feature of Spybot. Click on Immunize. This feature lets you take preventive action with the help of the security features of your browser.


Spybot: Search and Destroy can immunize your computer from threats by scanning through your Internet browsers and determining where harm may come from. This is not foolproof, but it can offer an extra layer of protection on the web.

When you first click on the Immunize button, it will begin scanning your browsers to determine where to protect them. When it is finished, you can click “Immunize” to make the changes. You are now protected with an additional layer of security when your surf the Internet.

Updating Spybot – Search and Destroy

Click on “Update” to keep your software update.

Checking for updates

A pop-up will appear that will check in with the software’s server to see if any updates are available.

If no updates are ready, another pop-up will appear letting you know.

No updates available

If updates are available, you will be asked to choose where to download them. Simply click a server. Then, you can check off which updates to apply to continue. This will give you the best protection against the latest threats.

Now, the only time you should ever begin tinkering with the advanced mode of Spybot: Search and Destroy is when you want to take a look at the settings.

In order to that, click “Mode.” Then, click “Advanced mode.”

A pop-up will confirm you want to open up advanced mode. Click “Yes” to continue.

New menus will appear on the left side of Spybot. Click on “Settings.”


Once you are comfortable with Spybot, you can begin fiddling with the settings for the program. From this menu, you can change various settings ranging from the theme to scan priority to audio alerts when threats are found. The more you truly begin understanding how searching for spyware, adware and malware works, the more the settings will make sense in Spybot and other programs.

This is the basic inner workings of Spybot: Search and Destroy. It is an easy program to use and once you see how quick you can get started with it, you will realize how essential Spybot is to keeping your computer safe from harm.

Is Spybot: Search and Destroy the end all and be all of adware protection?

For me, hands down, Spybot: Search and Destroy is the best adware and spyware protection you can get for free. I have used this program for years and it has never let me down. I recommend it to anyone who is serious about getting their computer safe. When you combine this with adequate anti-virus protection, you can keep your system protected from threats coming at you from all angles.

If you have never used Spybot: Search and Destroy before and give it a try, let us know what you think. For those of you who have used Spybot, what review would you give it?

Download Spybot: Search and Destroy.

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