Lavasoft Ad-Aware 2008 Pro stretches to such demanding tasks as protecting your system from viruses and spyware, and securing your banking details and files.

Having so recently nipped and tucked the interface, Lavasoft clearly felt no major changes were needed for the latest edition, and those upgrading from 2007 to Lavasoft Ad-Aware 2008 may be surprised at just how similar the two versions look. This is no criticism though, and the layout works remarkably well.

The Lavasoft Ad-Aware 2008 interface is clean and straightforward, with most of the detailed options stashed away behind menus. Should you want to closely monitor specific areas, or use TrackSweep to clean the tracks left behind as you cruise the internet, it's easy to access some of the more advanced features.

One annoying aspect of the Lavasoft Ad-Aware 2008 interface is RegShield. This notifies you whenever changes are made to the registry, cookies etc. Unfortunately, it isn't terribly discreet, hitting you with irritating pop-ups simply for opening a harmless web page. It takes time to get the program used to your habits, so you can expect your initial experience with RegShield to be an aggravating one.

We had to run Lavasoft Ad-Aware 2008 Pro twice in order to get it to work on our test PC, and it needed over 26 minutes to assess our machine with a Full Scan. Once done, the program then lists the different threats on your machine, according each one a Threat Analysis Index (or, to you and me, a score out of 10) to tell you whether or not you should be worried. It then offered to remove some or all of the threats and, one reboot later, the PC came back with a clean bill of health. Ad-Aware licenses its antivirus protection from Avira, and this engine has a solid reputation, even if it's not considered to be the best in the business.

OUR VERDICT

In these spyware-infested times, Ad-Watch Connect is particularly useful and, should you be looking for solid all-round protection, that could make the Lavasoft Ad-Aware 2008 Pro version more tempting than Plus. In general, apart from the poor execution of RegShield, Ad-Aware does a competent job. Its overall performance, however, can be improved upon by alternative antivirus and antispyware programs.