How to download, install and run Spybot Search and Destroy

Of the three antispyware programs (Adaware, Spybot Search and Destroy, and Hijackthis) mentioned in this series Spybot Search and Destroy provides the most options. Some of the best options available allow you to schedule scans, immunize your computer against known threats, and enable a function that not only blocks known Spyware from installing itself but monitors your computer for changes made to critical settings.

How to download a program

  1. Browse to the download link located on the proper website.
  2. Click on the link and wait for a dialog box (box with instructions or questions about what to do next.)
  3. In the dialog box click save and choose a location where you'll be able to find it later. I usually save it to the desktop.

Installing and using Spybot Search and Destroy

  1. Double click on the downloaded file and select the language you want the installation routine to use when communicating with you, then, follow the instructions as they're presented. Once the installation routine is complete you can move on to preparing the software for first use and protecting your computer from further threats
  2. The first thing to do once you've started up the program by double clicking its icon, either on your desktop or in your start menu or both depending on the choices you made during installation, is to update the spyware definitions so that your scan will be able to detect the most recent known Spyware. Upon startup you will be presented with what I call the first run dialog box and following the steps presented will prepare Spybot for your first scan. Those running Windows ME might like to create a restore point before going through the steps. Those running Windows XP with System Restore enabled should have had a restore point created by default when Spybot was installed. However, if you would like to make sure one is created Microsoft has the steps to both create a restore point and restore from one. Note that the final dialog box has both a help button and a tutorial button. Don't be afraid to take a look if these instructions somehow fall short. Once you're done with all the steps in the first run dialog box move on to step 3.
  3. At this point Spybot is ready to perform a scan. Select the option on the left called "Search and Destroy" then click on the button that says "Check for problems". Once the scan is complete there will likely be a list of items with check marks in the bottom part of the Window. You can note the names and do some research on the web if you wish but it is enough to make sure all the items are checked and that you click on the button that says "Fix selected problems". If you've managed to boot into safe mode your repairs should go down without a hitch, but if not then it is possible you will get a dialog box notifying you that "some items could not be removed" and "Would you like spybot to run on next startup". Click "yes" and when your computer is restarted spybot will load before anything else and perform another scan. At this point in the series most of the spyware has been removed from your computer but if you started with this step then proceed to the beginning of this series
  4. The final step in this series will take you through some of the more advanced functions of Spybot Search and Destroy. However, next week find out how to get at some of the more insidious forms of Spyware using Hijackthis.

Joe Magueta is an IT Consultant with Phoenix Community Works Enterprises (PCWE), a nonprofit organization that provides support to charities and other nonprofits.
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