Spybot 2.x FAQ

Download & Install

How to download Spybot – Search & Destroy

There are two options to download Spybot - Search & Destroy:

You choose a download location on our website. The displayed mirrors are partners who provide places to host Spybot - Search & Destroy for us. You can download from them, it is secure and they all contain the same data.
You choose the direct installation file.
Please search for new updates after installing Spybot - Search & Destroy.

Spybot 2.5 Prompt – Post Windows 10 Spybot-install

If you have installed Spybot recently, you may have noticed the appearance of a “Post Windows 10 Spybot-install” file on your Desktop after installation.

What is it?

This file was included in our updates for users upgrading to Windows 10.

During the upgrade process, Spybot is likely to be uninstalled. It can be reinstalled by running this file, which will survive the upgrade process.
If this method does not work for you, please see here for reinstallation instructions.

What do I do with it?

If you do not plan to upgrade to Windows 10, this file can be deleted. You can get this file back if you need to by reinstalling Spybot.
You can also delete the folder:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\AV\Spybot – Search and Destroy
If you do plan to upgrade to Windows 10, or already have, you can run this file to install Spybot 2.5. Changes have been made to this version of Spybot to improve compatibility.

If this does not work, please see here for instructions to reinstall Spybot.

StartCenter & System Scan

Are the found items really Rootkits?

Malware sometimes uses rootkit technology to hide itself at system level.
This makes it undetectable for standard tools. Our plugins help Spybot – Search & Destroy to detect this form of malware.
Our Rootkit Scan tool shows anything that uses certain rootkit technologies. But items with rootkit properties detected here are not necessarily malware. Sometimes, legit software uses rootkit technologies to hide registration data or other information it does not want the user to see in any case. So please keep in mind that a Rootkit Scan only flags suspicious stuff, not identifying just bad stuff. If you get ‘No admin in ACL’ this thread in our forum should help explaining. If you are not sure about the found items, please ask for ‘help’ in our RootAlyzer Forum before you delete anything. The deletion is final and can not be recovered through the Quarantine. If you still want to remove the found items it is strongly recommended to create a system restore point before doing that.

Why do I see “Internet protection: basic” in Spybot’s Start Center?

If your Internet protection is set to ‘Basic’ the most likely reasons are that when the software was installed the default setting was ‘Disabled’ or when updates were installed the setting was changed automatically. This setting can also be changed by the user.

The ‘Proxy’ feature filters all Internet traffic thus it can reduce your browsing performance. While this provides maximum protection it can sometimes be annoying. We therefore issued an update to 2.1 and released a new Software installer (Spybot 2.1.20 SR 1). This update turns off the Proxy and so the Start Center to display “Internet protection: basic” instead of “full”.

If speed is not an issue and you want all data coming from the internet to be filtered, you can enable the proxy by opening the Start Centre selecting ‘Settings’ clicking the “Internet Protection” tab and ticking the box ‘Use Spybot proxy’.


Can Spybot scan / immunize portable browser installations?

Portable installations, e.g. if you use PortableApps, can be added through Spybot's Settings window.

Open Settings, switch to the tab Portable Browsers and click Add... to specify where your portable installation is located.

Spybot 2.7  Settings Portable Browsers

What is Immunization?

The Immunization feature provides Internet Protection by preventing users from entering malicious, untrusted or potentially dangerous websites.

This is done by adding a list of known malicious entries to the Windows hosts file.

It also prevents tracking cookies from entering your system, and blocks known spyware installers (and similar baddies) already included in Spybot’s database.

Why does Firefox Immunization get undone frequently?

Firefox Immunization works by adding negative permissions to your Firefox profile, which will effectively block elements.

Some registry cleaners are unable to distinguish between positive and negative permissions and will simply remove all permissions from your Firefox profile.

Workaround for CCleaner

On the Applications tab, in the Firefox section, make sure Site Preferences is unticked.

Settings & Tools

Are there special System Requirements for Spybot?

If your Windows works well on your computer, all you need is harddisk space of around 500 MByte for Spybot - Search & Destroy, 500 MByte for +AV (Antivirus) and less than 100 MByte for Spybot Anti-Beacon.

How do I disable Live Protection?

To disable Live Protection:

    • Open Spybot by right-clicking on the Spybot icon and clicking "Run as administrator".
    • Click on the Live Protection status in the Start Center.
    • This will open the Live Protection Settings window.
  • Untick the checkbox beside "Scan all programs before they start".
  • Click on "Show Live Protection Advanced Controls".
  • Click on "Uninstall Live Protection".

You may receive an error saying that "The Live Protection System Driver could not be deactivated/uninstalled. A reboot might be needed to completely deactivate Live Protection."

You must restart your PC for the changes to take effect.

After your PC has restarted, Live Protection should now be disabled.

Running Spybot and Windows Defender – Windows 10 (Error 577)

User of Windows 10 may have noticed that Windows Defender will stop running in Windows 10 when Spybot is installed.

Windows will disable this program if it detects another antivirus program on your PC in order to prevent conflict between the multiple antivirus programs installed. The Free Edition of Spybot also falls into this category, because it contains antivirus components from the +AV editions.
To fix this issue, please disable Spybot's Security Center Service using the instructions below, as this will prevent Windows from detecting Spybot as an antivirus program.

  • Open Spybot by right clicking on the Spybot icon and click “Run as Administrator”.
  • Open Settings (Tick the checkbox next to "Advanced User Mode" if you do not see "Settings")
  • In Settings, go to the System Services tab.
  • Here, click "Stop" beside the Security Center Service.

After disabling the service and rebooting your PC, Windows Defender should function correctly again when it is run.
However, the antivirus programs could now conflict and cause issues.
To avoid this with Spybot, please also disable Live Protection / Real-Time Protection in either Spybot or Windows Defender.
You can find instructions for disabling Spybot's Live Protection here.

Updates & Licenses

Bitdefender Threat Scanner.dmp

If you receiving the following message when shutting down your PC, it is possible that one of Spybot's files has become corrupted and needs to be replaced.


This issue has been resolved in the latest version of Spybot, and several other improvements have been made. You can download Spybot 2.7 from here.

Can I manually download updates for Spybot 2?

You can manually download the antispyware definitions using the instructions below.

  • You can download the manual update file from here.
  • When you run this file, it will ask you to select a folder.
  • Please select the Spybot program folder:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Spybot - Search & Destroy 2
    Or on a 32-bit/x86 system:
    C:\Program Files\Spybot - Search & Destroy 2
  • The files will be added to the "Includes" folder within the Spybot program folder.

Unfortunately it is not possible to download the Antivirus definitions manually.

How do I activate my new Spybot license?

Licenses bought starting mid August 2018

Open Start Center and click Show details in the lower right corner. Click the Free Edition (or whatever your current Edition is) text below the logo to open the license dialog.

In the license dialog, open the Your License tab and click the Enter a new License Key button.

Enter the license key you received (it can be found either on the Purchase Confirmation page, your Purchase Receipt email, and your invoice PDF) and you're ready to go.

Spybot 2.7 Entering new license key

Licenses bought before August 2018

You will have received a link to your license installer by email. Please download and execute this installer.

How do I report a problem?

If you are unable tom find a solution for your problem, please take a screenshot of the window showing the problem and gather any other error messages you receive then send them to Team Spybot by using the link below to the Request Support page:


See the following links for more information on how to take a screenshot:

Using Paint:

Using the Sniping Tool:

Spybot – Search & Destroy Update Failed

The Spybot updates contain all of the definition files and detection signatures which are used by the System Scan to search for and detect malware and viruses.

You are required to update Spybot before performing a System Scan to ensure that all of the latest definition updates are installed so that you are capable of protecting your PC from the latest threats.

Before updating Spybot, you should disable any other security programs that are running real time protection which may interfere with the Spybot update, causing it to fail.

To update Spybot:

- Open Spybot by right clicking on the Spybot icon and click “Run as Administrator”.
- Click “Advanced User Mode”
- Click on "Update".
- In the Update window click the "Update" button to begin downloading the latest definition files.

If a file(s) fails to download during the updates, please close the updater then open it again.

After the status check is complete the update button will become active again.

When you re-select the update button the update should resume and complete successfully.

For more information, please view our video tutorial on Updating Spybot:

Licensed Edition:
Updating Spybot +AV

Free Edition:
Updating Spybot Using the Free Edition

If you are still unable to update Spybot, please take a screenshot of the update window and any other error messages you receive then send them to Team Spybot by using the link below to the Request Support page:


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