Microsoft has just launched a new security tool that will supposedly rid your computer of spyware, but does it work? We put the new beta to the test.

Downloading the free software from the Microsoft website is easy. A quick validation of your Windows XP and the 6.23Mb download shouldn't take you long if you're on a broadband connection.

Once downloaded, installation was quick and you can start scanning straight away. On our test machine we currently run Norton Antivirus, but no Spyware software so we thought that giving the free application a run of our machine might produce some interesting results.

From the beginning you can set it to do an Intelligent quick search to see what you've got lurking in your computer or a more thorough search which takes longer.

Like most people we thought we had a clean machine, but even on the quick search, six spyware programs were found on our PC. On finding the results, you are presented with a report of what Microsoft AntiSpyware has found, what that programme does and whether or not you want to do anything about the findings (if any). Here you can chose to delete, ignore or quarantine them.

For a more detail searching including memory, drives and deep folders, you can opt for the full scan option although this does take a long time and with users with big hard drives we suggest setting this as an overnight procedure.

Aside from the AntiSpyware application, the program also comes with a browser reset button in case of hijacking by spyware. While it's easy to restore the homepage conveniently, search and blank page requests can be annoying if they keep popping up with spyware and this aims to fix it.

Verdict

As a beta, Microsoft will offer no support for the product, so bear that in mind if you're a novice user. As for a package to find and remove spyware on your PC we can't complain at this stage considering it's free.

It found spyware which we didn't realise was on our machine. However, what the pricing model will be when the full version is launched later this year is hard to say and if it's too high it will scare people off.

For now however, pretty damn good.

You can download the programme from here