Webroot Spy Sweeper 5 with AntiVirus

An anti-spyware leader roams into the anti-everything arena

Our Verdict

A very good attempt, but security convergence nirvana is quite a reality just yet


  • Individual components work well


  • Rootkit detection disabled by default

    Resource-hungry scanning

Back in the old days (about three years ago), protecting against viruses and spyware meant installing at least two different programs that were almost certainly from different vendors.

While the two-product approach isn't uncommon today, it could be headed the way of the dodo. Anti-virus developers have been integrating spyware defences into their products for a couple of years, and now a leader in the anti-spyware business appears to be interested in returning the favour.

Spy Sweeper with AntiVirus is Webroot's first foray into the "anti-everything" arena, but they haven't exactly gone it alone. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Webroot has teamed up with an established anti-virus vendor and integrated the Sophos AV engine into its product.

In theory, this would appear to be a match made in heaven - a kingpin of the anti-spyware industry teaming up with a well-respected (and perennial winner of the VB 100 per cent detection award) AV outfit.

The new Spy Sweeper with AntiVirus continues to do an excellent job of detecting, removing, and defending against spyware. We were unable to infect our test system with new spyware threats with the program's 12 primary Shields activated and our scans picked up every existing infection.

Spy Sweeper with AntiVirus offers excellent virus detection and removal capabilities - its AV engine did detect and quarantine all of the planted viruses during our scans and every time we tried to open an infected file.

Spy Sweeper with AntiVirus' scanner certainly does a comprehensive job of checking a system for pests, but scanning for rootkits is disabled by default - it adds far too much time to the scanning process.

You can enable rootkit scanning from the program's Custom Sweep Advanced settings, but be warned: scanning with Spy Sweeper can be a long and resource-intensive process at the best of times and trying to get work done while also scanning for rootkits may prove frustrating.

As a general rule, you'll want to schedule all scans to happen when you're not busy with other tasks - while not as bad as it has been in some older versions, Spy Sweeper can still be a memory hog.

Users who opt for the new SpySweeper with AntiVirus will appreciate the program's clear and intuitive interface and should never have a problem finding their way around the program's settings.

Starting the scanning process is completely streamlined - literally a one-click affair. Spy Sweeper still does a top-notch job of eradicating spyware from even the most badly infected systems and the likelihood of reacquiring any infection with the program updated and running is literally next to nil.