Is Microsoft so hard up for traffic that it has to resort to the sleazy tactics of spyware makers? Based on one feature of the beta of Microsoft AntiSpyware, that appears to be the case.
Overall, Microsoft AntiSpyware, is a very good, solid piece of software. But it has one particularly disturbing feature — in essence, it hijacks your home page, and so is guilty of doing the very thing it’s supposed to be protecting you against. And, as you might guess, it hijacks your home page to — surprise! — MSN.com.
How does it do this? In a devilishly simple and exceedingly misleading manner. When it detects that a hijacker is trying to reset your home page, it warns you and then asks whether you want to block the hijacker. When you answer yes, Microsoft AntiSpyware promptly blocks the hijacker. But it then does a hijack of its own and resets your home page to MSN.com.
If you dig deep enough, you can defeat AntiSpyware’s home page hijacking. Choose Advanced Tools–>Browser Hijack Restore, and highlight Start Page. Click “Change restore settings to a new URL,” type in your normal home page, then click OK. From now on, when Microsoft blocks a home page hijacking, it will let you keep your own home page, and won’t do a hijacking on its own.
Microsoft AntiSpyware is still in beta, so let’s hope that Microsoft changes this behavior. Apart from this grubby little feature, it’s an excellent spyware killer — one of the best ones out there.
What do you think of Microsoft AntiSpyware? Let me know.