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Spyware Doctor 5 bug reports are storm in a tea cup, PC Tools says

Jumps into bed with Google

Warning: biohazard

Anti-spyware vendor PC Tools is downplaying reports on its forums from users who found bugs in the latest version of its software, Spyware Doctor 5.0.

Problems including conflicts with anti-virus packages, slow ups with IE7 and Opera, system freezes and more feature in a list of 41 issues with Spyware Doctor 5.0. Most of these problems were addressed during the two-month external beta testing process for Spyware Doctor 5, or since the product's release earlier this month. However that still leaves 16 reported issues unresolved, only three of which affected beta software.

The section of PC Tools's Forum devoted to Spyware Doctor 5 contains 22 pages each containing 20 or so threads. Quite a lot of these threads involve reports of bugs with the software. Michael Green, VP of product strategy at PC Tools, said only a small percentage of its customers had experienced problems with Spyware Doctor 5.0.

He apologised for the inconvenience suffered but suggested that only 50 people were posting about issues with the product. "To date, there are just a small percentage of customers that have experienced problems with Spyware Doctor 5.0 – some of the comments on the forums have been very positive although we accept there are some issues. Overall, Spyware Doctor 5.0 sales have been up by 20 per cent on Spyware Doctor 4.0," he explained.

PC Tools blames many of the reported problems with conflicts with antivirus and low level drivers for their hardware. Green suggested that the firm's openness in running a forum, unlike many of its competitors, had backfired. The forum had magnified the apparent number of security bug reports. However he conceded that users were more "vocal" about problems with version 5 than version 4, even though he disagreed with our assessment that diversity and number of complaints with Spyware Doctor 5 was out of the ordinary.

"We are taking these problem seriously and using partial updates, which can be downloaded in the background, to address bugs. Our software is compartmentalized so that we don't have to issue a major security update.

"The forum is already showing signs that users - obviously those without software conflicts - prefer version 5 to version 4," Green added. pointing us towards a thread on the PC Tools Forum here.

Now for some better news for PC Tool. Google is to begin distribution of a cut-down, free version of Spyware Doctor 5.0. A Free Google Pack edition of Spyware Doctor offers spyware detection and removal as well as on-access real-time protection.

Google Pack includes a range of Google software: Google Earth, Google Desktop, Picasa, Google Toolbar, Google Photos Screensaver, the Google Talk VoIP client and Google Video Player. It also includes the partner software Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Reader, Norton Security Scan, RealPlayer, GalleryPlayer HD Images, Skype. Spyware Doctor has been added the the package of free software packages designed to make life easier for home users to set up new PCs. ®

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