Sunbelt CounterSpy review

£14
Price when reviewed

This new version of CounterSpy sees it distance itself further from the Giant Software original, now owned and rebranded by Microsoft, to the extent that it no longer uses the same underlying engine. The interface remains for all intents and purposes the same though.

Sunbelt CounterSpy review

But the original partnership with Giant has brought an unexpected dividend for Sunbelt, as the terms of the legal agreement that preceded the Microsoft acquisition mean that Microsoft is obliged to continue providing Sunbelt with signature updates until July 2007. CounterSpy, therefore, provides regular automatically detected and downloaded updates from its own research team, from the collective ThreatNet community and from Microsoft too.

This explains why it did so well in our tests, beating Microsoft soundly on everything except scanning speed, and even then there were only a few seconds in it. The CounterSpy performance – detection, 88 per cent; removal, 84 per cent; and blocking, 54 per cent – was second only to Labs Winner Spyware Doctor.

Other differences between the Microsoft and Sunbelt products include trivialities such as CounterSpy removing tracking cookies while Microsoft doesn’t, but there are also some important aspects to consider. First, while Microsoft doesn’t support older versions of its own OS, CounterSpy welcomes Windows 98 SE and ME users. Then there’s the lack of any tech support from Microsoft at the moment, unlike the excellent support from Sunbelt.

CounterSpy may not be free, but at £16 including VAT it isn’t bad. If your budget doesn’t stretch to Spyware Doctor, CounterSpy is a worthy substitute.

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