As the name of Webroot’s looking malware tool suggests, it didn’t begin life as an all-encompassing anti-virus suite but as a very effective tool for rooting out and beating malware that has found its way onto your computer.

However, when it comes to being a fully-fledged suite, the makers need to consider stopping threats from reaching your PC not just dealing with them once they are there. So, recent versions have seen the inclusion of anti-virus software.

It hasn’t developed its own tools but instead opted to bundle Sophos anti-virus running alongside the main package. Now in this latest version email scanning has been included, which checks incoming email for potential threats. We saw our system slowed when this started but no more so than competing tools, which is no bad thing.

The main selling point of this software is the thorough rootkit protection. If any threat has made it on to your system, Spy Sweeper will find it and eliminate it.

Unlike most tools that only prevent infections, this suite works on systems that have already been infected, so makes a great choice if you know (or fear) you’ve already been attacked.

We’ve looked at a range of anti-virus suites recently and the first thing that strikes you about the interface for Spy Sweeper is that it isn’t as sophisticated as the likes of Norton 360, or even McAfee Internet Security.

Don’t let this put you off though, as the real proof is in the performance and Spy Sweeper more than looks after itself in that department.

We found that it could scan a full hard drive (80GB on our test machine) in a little over 40 minutes, which isn’t too bad. The only problem we had with the software came at the end when it didn’t cleanly reboot the system.

This particular version of SSAV includes a free copy of ChildSafe 4.2 parental controls. In this age where you’re likely to find your children online for longer periods than your self, ChildSafe lets you create a password protected profile for each user that restrict the length of time each child can be online.

That’s fine but it also restricts access to unwanted websites and can also be setup to stop certain programs from running. This is great if you’ve only the one computer in the house as it stops it from running the risk of spending more time offline, while you clean up infections, than it does being online.


Webroot’s Spy Sweeper is a good all-round package.

It works quickly, detects threats effectively and while the interface is less than state-of-the-art, it won't hog your system resources too much, which is always a bonus for us.