Any concensus out there on what's the best? I think adaware is another version?
You'll not likely find a consensus on the best Anti-Spyware/Adware.
Spyware Doctor and Spysweeper seem to be the darlings of the magazine reviewers lately.
I've tried both and the performance hit is too much IMO.
AdAware and Spybot are two seasoned warriors but they are not as highly regarded by folks in the computer security business as they once were.
The free version of AdAware will not real-time scan and must also be manually updated.
Spybot will real-time scan if TeaTimer is enabled...if I recall, you still have to update manually.
An anti-spyware solution that I have purchased (my AV and firewall are free) is SUPERAntiSpyware.
They are based in Eugene and offer a free version that is 100% manual.
It was recommended to me by an IT guy who uses it (amongst other apps) to de-gunk client's machines.
If you decide to purchase, you receive three licenses. I used two at my house and gifted the third.