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Lavasoft Ad-Aware
Ad-Aware Antivirus+ 11 Free running under Windows 7.
Ad-Aware Antivirus+ 11 Free running under Windows 7.
Developer(s) Lavasoft
Initial release 1999; 19 years ago (1999)
Stable release [1] / 19 December 2014; 3 years ago (2014-12-19)
Written in C++, Visual Basic .NET
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Available in Multilingual[2]
Type Spyware removal software
License Proprietary, Freeware

Ad-Aware is an anti-spyware and anti-virus software program developed by Lavasoft that detects and removes malware, spyware and adware on a user's computer. According to Lavasoft, Ad-Aware detects spyware, computer viruses, dialers, Trojans, bots, rootkits, data miners,[citation needed], parasites, browser hijackers, and tracking components.[3]


Ad-Aware was originally developed in 1999 to highlight web beacons inside of Internet Explorer.[citation needed] On many websites, users would see a tiny pixelated square next to each web beacon, warning the user that the computer's IP address and other non-essential information was being tracked by this website. Over time, Ad-Aware added the ability to block those beacons, or ads. Ad-Aware no longer makes the user aware of the ads on the screen; instead the program fights spyware, adware, viruses and other malware.[4]

In the 2008 Edition, Lavasoft bundled Ad-Aware Pro and Plus for the first time with an antivirus scanner,[5] which used the Avira engine[6] and this arrangement continued for a few years.[7] Starting with Ad-Aware version 10, the Bitdefender antivirus engine was used instead.[8][9][10]

A new wrinkle is adware (using stolen certificates) that disables anti-malware and virus protection such as Ad-Aware; technical remedies are available.[11]


As of 2014, Lavasoft makes Ad-Aware version 11 available in four core versions:[12]

  1. Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+
  2. Ad-Aware Personal Security
  3. Ad-Aware Pro Security
  4. Ad-Aware Total Security[13]

The latest Ad-Aware products have been completely revamped to the point where it has almost nothing in common with its predecessors except the core functionalities.[citation needed]

Lavasoft also offers volume licenses of Ad-Aware for businesses,[14] which is designed for use over networks. It has a central server console interface with licences for installing Ad-Aware Pro Security on the networked machines.[15]

Each version includes anti-spyware, antivirus, and anti-rootkit protection, as well as integrated protection against real-time threats. According to Lavasoft, Ad-Aware allows computer users to combat malicious spyware, viruses, and malware; it protects users from malware that takes control of a computer and can result in aggressive advertising pop-ups, sluggish computer activity and the theft of private information. The vendor says that Ad-Aware detects hazardous content on a user's computer, identifies the threat level, and then gives the user the ability to block or remove unwanted content. Ad-Aware Total Security offers extra features that the three core versions do not, primarily: firewall, system tuning, online backup, data recovery, anti-spam and parental controls.[16]

According to PC World Magazine, an older version of Ad-Aware, the Anniversary Edition, could locate only 83.6% of malware in a comparative test carried out by the security firm AV-TEST.[17] However, as the article states, no such tests have been run on the newest version. Neil J. Rubenking at PCMag performed a lab test on version 8.3, where Ad-Aware scored 9.2 points, beating the previous top score of 9.1.[18]

Ad-Aware installs Google Chrome, which will be done automatically unless the user de-selects the tick-box in the Ad-Aware installation program.

Market share[edit]

Ad-Aware Free is listed as having been downloaded over 387 million times on (and a total of 450 million times on the Lavasoft site, including downloads that do not originate at as of December 2014;.[19]

According to OPSWAT, in January 2015, Ad-Aware had less than 1% of market share globally.[20]

The paid versions of the product are under threat from more functional and lower cost, even free, competition such as Microsoft Security Essentials.[17]


  1. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ - History". Retrieved 2014-12-24. 
  2. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Tech Specs - Lavasoft". Lavasoft. Retrieved 2007-11-09. 
  3. ^ "Ad-Aware User Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ad-Aware 10 Early Preview". LavaSoft. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Hopkins, John A. "Ad-Aware 2008 - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  6. ^ "Page 3 - Ad-Aware Pro Anniversary Edition Review: Computer Security Articles at". 4 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  7. ^ "Ad-Aware v8.1, Powered by People Anti-Malware Protection". 19 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  8. ^ "Ad-Aware Product Comparison". Lavasoft. 22 January 2014. Archived from the original on 22 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  9. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ Review". Yahoo! News. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-16. 
  10. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 11". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2015-01-16. 
  11. ^ Casey, Henry T. (25 November 2015). "Latest adware disables antivirus software". Tom's Guide. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "New Ad-Aware Internet Security from Lavasoft Puts Power in Hands of People". 
  13. ^ "Ad-Aware Free Antivirus, Antispyware and Anti Malware software. Free trial download". Lavasoft. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  14. ^ "Lavasoft Business Friendly". Lavasoft. Archived from the original on 1 November 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "What is Ad-Aware Business Edition?". Lavasoft. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  16. ^ "Ad-Aware Total Security by Lavasoft - Internet Security Software with Antivirus, Antispyware, Firewall, Parental Control and much more". Lavasoft. Retrieved 2014-08-27. 
  17. ^ a b "Editorial Review of Ad-Aware Pro". PC World. 13 October 2009. Archived from the original on 24 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  18. ^ Rubenking, Neil J. "Ad-Aware Pro Internet Security 8.3". PC Magazine. 
  19. ^ "Ad-Aware Free". n.d. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  20. ^ "Antivirus Market Share Report January 2015 | OPSWAT". Retrieved 2017-01-03. 

External links[edit]