So then: uninstall via Add/Remove, reboot, uninstall using specific avast! Uninstall utility, reboot, then reinstall (& reboot I suppose)? (Why both uninstall methods, do they complement each other?)
Anti-virus software components insert themselves deep into the operating systems core and create files/folders/registry entries in various locations. If is not uncommon for some anti-virus programs to not completely uninstall itself using the usual method of Add/Remove Programs
or Programs and Features
in Vista/Windows 7. That's why many anti-virus vendors provide clean-up utilities
on their web sites to remove remnants left behind after uninstalling or for a failed uninstall.
also: from all the very thorough explanations of SpywareGuard's heuristic methods, I understand that it doesn't need frequent updating. However, I haven't gotten a single instance since I installed it seven months ago. I have been using the Update utility provided.
SpywareGuard's strongest protection is its Browser Hijacking Protection
which does not require constant definition updates
(See Why is the most recent database update for SpywareGuard dated 2004?
). This is because its detection abilities use a heuristic
(rule-based) engine engine. Normally, for an Anti-Virus product to detect a virus, the virus must have been seen before, analyzed and detection added to the signature update files. Heuristics are used since there are some families of viruses that continually change their appearance and it is not possible to detect every variant. Heuristics allows setting up a defined set of rules so if it looks like a virus, and acts like a virus it can be detected, even if the virus has never been seen before.
SpywareGuard uses this same approach for detecting spyware. Even through its an older program, with out-of-date signatures (last updated 1/22/04), the heuristics still work at detecting attempted changes to Internet Explorer's Home Page. As such, it is still useful to some extent if you don't have another security tool which provides similar protection. If you are using another security program (i.e. SUPERAntispyware Hi-Jack (Home Page Protection), Norton Home Page Protection, Browser Sentinel, Spy Sweeper, WinPatrol, etc) that monitors attempted changes to your browser settings, then SpywareGuard will not be of much use.