Spybot Search and Destroy 2.0 has bloatware issues

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 17, 2012
Software, Windows, Windows software

Remember Nero Burning Rom? The program was a lightweight burning software for Windows back in the days when first CD burners and coasters became available. It was my favorite program of choice for several years, until Ahead decided to add features to it. New features were added with each new version of the program, so that the once tiny lightweight program turned into a bloatware monster that installed too many tools and files on the PC.

The latest version of Nero has a download size of almost 300 Megabytes, and while you get many tools in that package, it is simply too much for users who only want to burn discs.

Spybot Search and Destroy is another candidate that I have been using back in the days. Back then it was an efficient cleaner that removed lots of adware and spyware that many professional solutions did not detect. The developers of the program are currently preparing to release a major update, Spybot Search & Destroy 2.0. If things turn out all right, it will be released this coming Monday.

The program has a download size of 52 Megabytes, which feels like a lot for a once lean and clean program. You quickly now why when you look at the components that it will install on your system if you do not select the custom installation option during installation. Note that all features together require more than 133 Megabyte on your hard drive.

spybot search destroy

Here is what you get among other things:

  • Background scan services
  • Plugins for installed web browsers
  • Various helpful tools
  • Professional tools (which seem to include Phone Scan, Boot CD Creator, OpenSBI Editor, Scripting and Repair Environment)
  • Analyst tools
  • Background update service

The program installs two background processes that are running all the time, SDTray.exe and SDWelcome.exe. Scans spawn a third process SDScan.exe which may use a serious amount of memory. Yes, that is more than 500 Megabyte for that process alone.

spybot search destroy processes

It is a release candidate which definitely needs to be mentioned here, and while scans did use lots of system memory, the program itself did not slow down the system itself while doing so.

Most of the tools that it includes are somewhat related to PC security, plus it has options to uncheck those during installation to install the program with less features.While we are at it, I'm not sure why tools have to be divided into basic, advanced and professional tools, with the latter two options not displayed by default. Especially the phone scan option feels like something that should be available directly.

If you are a Spybot user you are probably wondering what is in store for you in the new version. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Extended whitelisting identification for File Scanner and Startup Tools
  • New Protected Repair Environment allows to run all Spybot – Search & Destroy tools in a separate and secure desktop
  • Full Scan runs faster through files in your download directory
  • Separate File Scanner can now handle huge folders
  • Fixed problems with Cleaner on reboot
  • Added Russian localisation

There is also a new licensing scheme. Free users get access to all features they had access before including rootkit scans. Some features, like support for networking environments and boot CD creation will only be made available to licensed users.

The third release candidate is currently available for download. The final version is expected to be released on Monday.


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  1. Ken Saunders said on November 20, 2012 at 1:54 am

    “More various helpful tools”

    You never can have enough of those non-specific things.
    That could mean anything.

    Jonson Size Scanner
    Scans your wiener size and compares it against our community cloud system of Johnson Size Scanner users.

    Bathroom Break Browser Add-on
    Popup clock Add-on for Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and whatever else is on your system (global forced install) that reminds you to get up and go to the bathroom so you don’t sh*t yourself.

    Plus More various helpful tools.

    It is all sad though. I had also used Spybot for years and Nero (seems like we have the same tastes). I understand that people need to generate revenue through partnerships, etc (see every product that offers to install Chrome), but they never seem to have anything that adds real value or even is related to the original purpose of the product (see every product that offers to install Chrome).

    As much as people give Mozilla crap about their deal with Google, at least Mozilla offers what is the most popular and wanted service and that is why Google is the default. It doesn’t mean that Google is the best, but it is what the majority uses and wants.
    If another service had that, then it would be the default.


  2. Ray said on November 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I was a fervent user of S&D four years back but I changed to Malwarebytes Antimalware because the latter was faster and eliminated more nasty software than S&D. I have not changed since and I don’t consider it necessary too since Malwarebytes already covers most of my antimalware arsenal.

  3. Shawn said on November 18, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Unfortunately programmers theses days use pre-made modules and most just cut and paste codes, rare are thoses who can program from scratch or even assembly code.

    @noswal indeed and still using it..
    Sygate Personal Firewall 5.6.2808 last freeware version and still available to download and still does an excellent job.

  4. EuroScept1C said on November 18, 2012 at 12:41 am


    I really wonder why you install such crapware on your PC. Nowadays we need an efficient, light tool that cleans all those crapwares.

  5. Wayfarer said on November 18, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Spybot has been a fail for several years now, for reasons already fully outlined above. From an almost irreplaceable application to just-another-adware-carrier in a couple of generations. A tragedy IMHO. As with so many applications we once viewed rather fondl y. Why on earth do they do it?

    I can see the attraction of a bit of income from the adware/toolbar merchants. But what’s the point if people simply end up avoiding your product? Just lost sight of the number of very valuable applications I’ve had to abandon over the years because of this.

    So – don’t want treasured applications spoiled by malware, adware or other crap? The answer is often easy – when freeware software asks for a moderate donation – give a few dollars or a few quid. It won’t break you and it might make these kind of discussions irrelevant. And it won’t be a tiny fraction of what the big boys like MS ask you to fork out for their software.

  6. Marc Savoy said on November 17, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Spybot and Destroy is one of the most effective malware removers I’ve ever used but comes at a high cost. I’ve read many articles that recommend NOTusing Spybot & Destroy for being spyware.

    I myself stopped using it because once installed you are never able to use host services to block sites from your computer. Even after uninstalling Spybot & Search it leaves behind legacy software that forever prevents you from blocking sites if, when you choose to.

    There is an over ride application that undoes what Spybot has left behind that I used which once again allowed me to block sites using hosts but I forgot the name.

  7. Transcontinental said on November 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Indeed ‘Spybot Search and Destroy’ is joining the big ‘Bloatware & Company, Illimited’, as Nero did, as ACDSeee had done as well, as many others …

    I’ve been at one time an ardent defender of ‘SB Search&Destroy’ together with ‘Javacool Spyware Blaster’ ; the latter remains on my system because it still is efficient, getting better and not fat, the former was removed when it’s 2.0 beta came out : I knew it was bound to fall in the bloatware domain.

    Some companies/developers don’t understand that the point in progress is making things better rather than developing more things, some don’t, and that remains above my understanding, especially that it’s not commercially motivated when freeware is of the lot. I think it’s a plain mental routine.

  8. noswal said on November 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    I have used Spybot for a long time but this could be the end.
    It seems to be happening with a lot of good software. Bloat, bloat, bloat.
    Its a shame.
    I still use versions of other software that are several years old because they are lean and do the job.
    Anyone remember Sygate Firewall?

  9. Chris said on November 17, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Spybot has had bloat issues for years now, think Tea-Timer. Remember when Ad-Aware was the “must-have” leader in anti-spyware tools? Spybot is headed down that exact same road.

  10. Richard Steven Hack said on November 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    If it’s a release candidate, the 500MB may be a result of debugging tools inserted in the program. These might be removed in the final release.

    If not, however, this thing will be useless. Most people still don’t have more than 1GB of RAM in their systems, unless purchased in the last couple years, even with Windows 7 generally requiring 2GB to be efficient. 500MB is WAY too much for an antimalware program.

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