Panda Software on Wednesday offered up an online spyware scanner with no strings attached. But the tool only detects spyware; it doesn't delete the malicious software.

The for-free SpyXposer will be updated daily, said the Spanish anti-virus vendor, which has U.S. offices in Glendale, Calif.

"PandaLabs is fully aware of the importance of spyware, and therefore, considers the SpyXposer initiative essential," said Luis Corrons, director of PandaLabs, in a statement.

But he was quick to add that the on-demand SpyXposer isn't the best way to defend a PC against spyware and adware. "We advise users to ensure they have permanent anti- malware protection installed on their computers, and that they are completely up-to-date."

Good advice, since SpyXposer only detects spyware and other malicious code; it doesn't delete or quarantine anything. For that functionality, users must pay $15 for Panda's not-free ActiveScan Pro online service.

Similar tools are available from other security firms, including Webroot and Computer Associates.