Not very often does a piece of software come along that blows me out of the water. A few months ago I got a very real experience dealing with spyware. Even after coaching my sister through fixing her computer, on my visit home over thanksgiving I found that all the spyware she had was still installed. When I looked in Add/Remove I was horrified at the number of strange entries in there. My attepmpts to remove them were difficult as well as the uninstallers for these products did such things as:
"Are you sure you don't want to not uninstall this program as it does x y or z for you"? [Yes] [No]
Basically they tricked you into not uninstalling the software by confusing the heck out of you with double and tripple negatives and the like. Eventually I got rid of all of it, and my sister now runs AdAware every few days, but it appears that she still has SpyWare issues every so often.
With my parents it was a lot easier. They had a 3 year old Compaq PC that was falling apart, and so we got them a new Dell that is super sweet. On this machine I made everyone a Limited User, except for my father's account since I've found that some programs just don't install correctly when you try (even though I try and authenticate during the install by running them with admin permissions). Anyway, on their machine, spyware will find a harder time making it's way there since my Mom can't be tricked into downloading something that is not good for her.
But I was still left uneasy knowing this could happen again. Well a few weeks ago I started beta testing the GIANT AntiSpyware software. I admit, my expectations were low having used some of the other stuff our there. However, I was BLOWN away by how nice a piece of software this is. Not only does it protect you from AntiSypware but it tells me what the heck is going on with my computer. I love knowing when applications are adding themselves to the Startup process, adding Contextual menus, modifying x, y or z. It just leaves me feeling like I'm in control of my PC when installing programs.
It doesn't stop there. My Dad installed the software and called me up telling me how much he loved it! I really hope this gives assurance to all those people out there that have been burned by SpyWare to not be affraid of their computers any more (or screwing them up). I'm really proud and happy that Microsoft is providing good tools to protect our users.