When I wrote What is the Best Free Anti-Virus Program to Meet Consumer Needs? on July 20, 2011, I stated that I would review Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 9.0. To keep my promise I downloaded and installed Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 9.0 to my personal laptop system, which is currently using Windows 7 Ultimate with SP1 and all current updates. The installation was uneventful and without issues and after the installation was completed, the software automatically updated itself.
I have found that for a free version the GUI is very simple using only three main icons, when in simple mode, to control the software. From these you have the capability to update the software, scan your system, or to enable Ad-Watch Live. Using the first option, I made sure that my software was, in fact, fully updated and then proceeded to run a complete scan of my system. When doing this I knew that the program should not show any issues as I had previously run a complete scan of my system using the latest version of avast!, which had reported no problems.
With that being said, I was amazed when Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 9.0 completed its full scan and reported that the software had removed two instances of Double-Click. While this made it appear that avast! didn’t do its job correctly, it must be noted that there has been a controversy, over the years, as to whether Double-Click is in fact malware or not. Three of the major security companies, which include the makers of Ad-Aware products, Spybot, and Symantec, consider Google’s Double-Click malware because it places tracking cookies on your computer when you surf on the Internet. The program is not harmful and it can be disabled, with the exception that even when disabled your IP address is still available.
What did annoy me about Ad-Aware’s procedures was that it automatically removed Double-Click from my system without asking me whether I wanted it removed or not. The second annoyance was that I found the full scan took one hour and 32 minutes, which I personally believe is slow compared to other free products such as avast! or AVG. Because of these two issues, I cannot recommend Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 9.0 and I will continue to stand by my original recommendations that you select either avast! or AVG for keeping your computer system free of infection.
As to whether Double-Click is malware or not, that decision should be made by you, the user, knowing that only three companies claim it is malware, while a dozen or so other anti-virus applications do not include Double-Click in their virus definitions.