Sometimes though, you are convinced you have malware on the computer because it just isn't running right. How did it slip through your security software? Panda Cloud Cleaner is able to give you a second opinion by scanning the computer for malware and offering to clean it afterwards. It's free and there are good, bad and ugly bits.
The software can be downloaded for free from pandacloudcleaner.pandasecurity.com and it is then installed on the disk drive. The installed size is around 100MB, which is about half or one third of the size of many anti virus/spyware software packages.
It doesn't load anything with Windows and while this means that it will not prevent malware from installing (it is a clean-up tool only), and it will not interfere with the running of your existing security software. Basically, it is a backup tool that you can use to confirm that your security software hasn't missed anything or to help clean up if it has.
To scan the disk drive for malware you just click the Accept and Scan button. The advanced options are for a boot-time scan, which may enable it to detect rootkits better. The scanner is fast, which is useful because you aren't sitting around for hours waiting for it to finish.
However, it also means that it is likely to be what full security software calls a quick scan - a scan of just the areas most likely to contain malware, rather than every file on the disk drive. This is fine though and the performance is good.
What's bad though, and this is a criticism not just of Panda Cloud Cleaner, is that it over-states the seriousness of some items it finds. In the screen shot above, you can see that it found two Malware & PUPs (potentially unwanted programs). Non-technical people will immediately assume that their computer has been infected with something serious like a virus, Trojan and so on, but actually all it found was a couple of cookies from advertisers on the web.
Have you ever seen a website that didn't have any adverts? It's impossible to avoid advertisers' cookies unless you disable cookies in the web browser settings, but then many websites won't work. It is wrong to classify ad cookies as malware. Advertisers try to identify what type of people view their ads, such as male or female, young or old, interested in fast cars or cookery, and so on, but is this malware? Not really.
The ugly bit came at the end as this screen shot shows. It cleaned my PC and removed the malware (advertisers' cookies), but then this message was displayed. If removal was successful, why do I need to call them to complete the process? I could understand the message if removal was not successful, but it was. That heading and the messages below are really just to trick you into calling that number. You don't need to.
That's a free-phone number, so call it if you want, but you'll probably end up talking to a sales person. It's fine to advertise in freeware and it is a valid way of gaining new customers. It is just the wording that irritates me.
Panda Cloud Cleaner is recommended, because although it has a couple of irritations, on the whole it is a very useful tool to have on your PC. It is free and it will work alongside your existing security software as a backup and extra clean-up tool.