Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool – Free & Portable, but Does it Work


I realize there are a number of free adware/toolbar removal tools already available but when a reputable security company such as Bitdefender enters the arena, one has to sit up and take notice.

As far as I can tell, Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool was first released in November last year, at least that’s when it was added into the Major Geeks download listings. Major Geeks lists version 1.1.0 as “Freeware (During beta)“, however, there is no mention of ‘Beta’ on the software’s official home page and, according to Bitdefender, it is definitely free:

bdart - free

The version I downloaded and tested (direct from Bitdefender) is v1.1.2.1610, so Major Geeks is obviously a little behind on this one.

Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool – Download & Testing

Download consists of a 46.00MB executable, which is slightly larger than I would have anticipated. The tool is portable so it’s just a simple matter of double clicking the downloaded executable to run.

First off, I scanned a clean Windows 8.1 system. That may seem a tad pointless but it provides a guide as to whether or not the software is prone to throw up false positives. The scan took around 6 minutes to completion and, as you can see from the following screenshot, confirmed that the system was adware/toolbar free – and no false positives:


bdat - results

Time now to test Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool properly, on an affected system. So, I downloaded and installed two of the more nefarious scumware toolbars, MyWebSearch and Ask:

toolbars

Don’t worry, this was all within a virtual machine, so no possible harm could be done. Now scan again and see what Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool finds:

bdat - results

As you can see from the above screenshot, Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool is still reporting a perfectly clean system. What the…

As a means of double checking, plus to prove I wasn’t going batty, I then scanned the exact same system with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. Because I didn’t have the patience to wait for a full scan to complete, I restricted the scan to those folders I knew would include files relating to the toolbars.

Sure enough, Malwarebytes flagged 8 items associated with the toolbars, even in that restricted scan mode:


mbam scan results

Just to clarify exactly what Bitdefender Adware Removal Tool is supposed to identify and remove, I refer you again to the description from the software’s home page:

bdart - remove toolbars

The Verdict

Can be summed up in just two words… massive fail!

It’s remarkable to me that a company as reputable as Bitdefender could produce such a seemingly ineffective piece of software, I certainly can’t explain it. Hopefully, a Bitdefender representative might drop by and offer some sort of insight.

 

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

10 Comments

  1. Now that’s an oversight that’s completely unexceptable. Mistakes like this is what hurts the good reputation of a reliable company, but on the bright side, Malwarebytes again proves it’s still the best.

    • Hey Claw,

      I was really hoping this software would work out. Malwarebytes is excellent of course, but this one scans in around 6 minutes as opposed to over an hour and is portable.

      Even though it concentrates solely on adware and toolbars, it would have been a handy addition to the tool box.

  2. I was hoping you where going to say this was a great product. They should never have put this out if it was not up to par. At least my go to software “Malwarebytes” is still dependable.

    • I was hoping you where going to say this was a great product

      So was I Jason, that’s what I had in mind when I decided to check it out. Then, when it failed so miserably, I was forced to change tack.

      Bitdefender’s reputation is so solid, it’s difficult to reconcile the name with something like this.

  3. That’s sweet music to my ears Jim. As a long time user and advocate of Malwarebytes products, I’m glad to see they are still on top, and challengers are welcome, Mindblower! 🙂

  4. Jim, You must have suspected in the first place to go through this exercise. Thanks for the warning. Up until now Bitdefender has a good reputation in my books.

  5. That’s the problem – BitDefender isn’t reputable.

    I tried their total internet security (if that was the name) in the past and it tended to crash a lot and stop working. I was a beta tester for one of their upcoming new releases and reported that when using the beta my internet got completely blocked even when set up properly and after going back to the previous version everything worked fine.

    However after the beta version finished and it went stable the issue still existed and for months many users complained and all the staff at BitDefender asked for is logs and more logs and more logs. They didn’t know what was causing the problem but had still released it to the paying public.

    I liked BitDefender as it was lightweight and it does seem like they have improved but I’ll never trust an antivirus company that releases stuff it knows are dodgy

  6. Interesting results, considering their main antivirus program just clocked in at the top of the heap in comparison testing. I tried installing Bitdefender recently on a relative’s computer. But, I didn’t like the install routine… not flexible enough and a bit intrusive, in my view. So, I went back the the perennial favorite, Avira, minus the firewall.