Note: This article was originally published in 2005 is now outdated.
Ad-Aware is a great program to use to get rid of spyware. The professional version includes Ad-watch, a component of Ad-Aware, that automatically block malicious script found on websites and in software. In addition, Ad-Aware will scan your computer quickly and thoroughly. Many users will be shocked at the number of spyware and malware that turns up.
Ad-Aware has a decent feature set. Ad-Watch is evidently one of them. You can change the settings of this program to block specific programs/website/scripts and how close to real time it scans running processes.
I have found the functionality of Ad-Aware unrivaled. It does its job and it does it fast. The time it takes to scan a 80GB hard drive is about 30 min.!!! That's about 2.5 times the speed of Norton Systemworks! After a full "smart scan" your computer should be running noticably faster thanks to newly freed memory. Most spyware removal programs only scan the spyware program itself. That isn't enough to fully remove the spyware because it may have entered some values into your registry that prevents its removal. Then, if removing the registry files don't work Ad-Aware simply removes them as the computer is starting up as that is when those files are most vulnerable.
All in all, as a technophile, I have found Ad-Aware to be extremely useful in the removal of not only spyware, but malware as well. While scanning speeds could be just a little faster, it completes the most thorough scan (registry values too!) I have ever experienced. I highly recommend this program for anyone who wishes to rid their computers of spyware for good.