Automatic Spyware Scans

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I had been wondering recently whether it's possible to get Spybot and AdAware to run automatically, or not. Obviously it's easy enough to add them as scheduled tasks in Windows, but that would just start the programs, and not actually run scans. What I needed to do was to get them to start scanning automatically, but not actually fix any problems automatically.


After a bit of searching around, I found that Spybot could set itself up as a scheduled task:

  1. If you're in the default mode, then turn on the advanced mode by clicking on Mode>>Advanced Mode, and then clicking on Yes.
  2. Click on Settings, and then Scheduler.
  3. Click on "Add...." (if you have Windows Defender installed, then it will warn you that it's detected a change)
  4. Click on "Edit", and then enter the time that you want Spybot to run.
  5. Click on "OK"

This will create a scheduled task with the command line "C:\Program Files\Spybot - Search & Destroy\SpybotSD.exe" /AUTOCHECK. It's also possible to add /AUTOFIX and /AUTOCLOSE, but I don't think that that's a good idea.

The problem with this is that although it will run a scan automatically, I still need to check for updates every now and again. Fortunately, Spybot copes with many more command line parameters. These are listed on the Spybot website. I haven't tried it yet, but I reckon that /AUTOUPDATE will do the job.


Unfortunately (, it seems that the free version of Ad-Aware cannot be run as a scheduled task, but maybe I should spend some money, and update to a paid-for version anyway. Before I do that, I'll need to find out more about the command line parameters, to make sure that it scans, but doesn't automatically fix any problems.

I haven't figured out the command line parameters yet, but it's easy enough to get a list of them by using the /? or /HELP switches when running Ad-Aware. For example,

"C:\Program Files\Lavasoft\Ad-Aware SE Personal\Ad-Aware.exe" /help

This gives quite a few options:
Ad-Aware options

I'm not sure whether +update and +full will do what I want, or not. I'll need to find out.


Running CCleaner automatically is easy:

"C:\Program Files\CCleaner\ccleaner.exe /AUTO"


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Created on: 17 May 2006. Modified on: 06 Oct 2007.
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