No matter how many times we tell people the Internet is a scary place if you go out unprotected, people still go it alone and end up paying the price. So, it pays to be cautious and get the best line of defence set-up before you even think of going online.

This is where Spyware Doctor comes in, as it’s an anti-spyware utility that stops people gaining access to your machine.

It’s worth pointing out this version is fully compliant with Vista, so if you’ve bought the new OS, you can upgrade knowing full well that it’ll work without problem. What’s more, PC Tools has now made Spyware Doctor compatible with the other tools in the company's range, there is even a free optional upgrade to downloading and installing PC Tool anti-virus tools.

Anyone who has used Version 4 of the software will instantly notice that the interface has changed little and as it’s a tiny install, you won’t find it hogging resources when running.

The interface may not have changed but the backend has been beefed up with a host of new features. For instance, updates in the previous version had to be handled manually. Now, they can be set-up to be delivered automatically, making this an evolving product.

As with any range of protection tools, there are a number of utilities on offer, in this instance all built around OnGuard Protection. Scanning is broken down into two separate parts, you’ll find an on-demand scanner, as well as system monitors that work in real-time.

As we’ve mentioned, this is a light install and demands on system resources are small, so if you have a slow PC, you won’t find the program slowing you down. When in use, you’ll find that all incoming and outgoing mail is scanned, as this is done in real time you may find that download times may vary depending on the size of the file and attachment.

What remains the key strength of the program is its ease of use. We found it easy to install, set-up and configure. If you’re used to using more complicated tools, you may find this rather simplistic, as most functions run in the background and only inform you of what’s happening if there is a problem.

However, for those who simply want to know they are safe when online without having to know the nuts and bolts, it does a great job.

Price when reviewed:

PC Tools has done a great job with the Spyware Doctor 5. It’s easy to set up and use and while the interface may be basic, it gets the job done, which is the important thing.

This is one of the best anti-spyware tools around and one you should seriously consider adding to your defence kit.