Well, Microsoft had decided to do something about the bad publicity that they're getting over peoples' computers being hijacked by various things that IE downloads. So they've released their own anti-spyware program.

As usual, it's got a gotcha: it not only requires you to let it look around by running an ActiveX control but you also have to type in your 25 digit validation key. In the picture they show, the sticker is neatly attached to the side of a tower case. In my world, the sticker is attached to the back of my Sony mini-tower. Or on the bottom of my Dell laptop. So I got to practice building up my short-term memory by remembering 5 digits at a time.

I was surprised and impressed that it found a couple of things that AdAware and Spybot-S&D didn't. I like that it does a check every day. I like that it downloads the updated files automatically, unlike AdAware or Spybot.

I'll keep running AdAware and SpyBot but I feel much more solid about having something running every day.

One thing that I did find interesting, though, was Microsoft's insistence on the sticker. Guess I had thought that activation of the OS had made it much more difficult to pirate XP than it is. If it wasn't easy, they wouldn't be such sticklers for the sticker ....