The effectiveness of database search algorithms, such as Mascot, Sequest and ProteinPilot is limited by the quality of the input spectra: spurious peaks in MS/MS spectra can jeopardize the correct identification of peptides or reduce their score significantly. Consequently, an efficient preprocessing of MS/MS spectra can increase the sensitivity of peptide identification at reduced file sizes and run time without compromising its specificity. We investigate the performance of 25 MS/MS preprocessing methods on various data sets and make software for improved preprocessing of mgf/dta-files freely available from http://hci.iwr.uni-heidelberg. de/mip/proteomics or http://www. childrenshospital.org/research/steenlab.