How to resolve privacy issues?


I read an article some time ago regarding windows XP which informed of microsoft built in data collection/tracing/cookies/internet monitoring activity. The author regarded this as an unwarranted invasion of privacy and gave information of how to prevent/remove the offending files. I was not an XP user at the time but have now got a new computer with XP home edition installed. Do you know of the privacy issues referred to in this article and can you assist in finding this information please.

My new computer is a Dell - do you also know if manufacturers install any hidden spyware and how to remove it?

Thank you for any assistance


This question was answered on October 23, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

To clear your computer of adware, spyware, and many other pesky programs, use a free

anti-spyware utility like PepiMK Software's Spybot Search & Destroy or Lavasoft's

Ad-aware 6.0 In fact, you may have the best results if you use both, since neither is

likely to catch every malicious application installed on your PC Neither program detects

or removes viruses, so you'll still need to use a good antivirus program, such as

Symantec's Norton AntiVirus 2003 ($50; $15 annual renewal fee)

You can avoid installing unwanted software by being choosy about the free programs you

download, and by understanding your browser's security settings Removing adware and

spyware can be tricky, but several free utilities detect and remove hundreds of known


Once you've cleansed your PC of unwanted programs, you can keep it clean by avoiding

spyware-laden downloads and by upping your browser's security settings to avoid

"drive-by" installations Internet Explorer is the main target of most of these, and its

default setting (Medium) will prevent automatic installations of most Web-based adware

and spyware

To check your browser's settings in IE, select Tools, Internet Options, click the

Security tab, and choose the Internet zone Make sure that the security level setting is

at Medium or higher In AOL 8.0, which uses IE to display pages, choose Settings,

Preferences, click the Internet Properties (WWW) link, then select the Security tab, and

choose the Internet zone to access the same settings options as IE

Also install a firewall, like ZoneAlarm to control what goes in and out from your



Update your system files using Windows Update

In Windows XP Home Edition, you must be logged on as a computer administrator to install

components or modify Automatic Updates settings In Windows XP Professional, you must be

logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group If your computer

is connected to a network, network policy settings might also prevent you from completing

this procedure.

Windows Update is a catalog of items such as drivers, security fixes, critical updates,

the latest Help files, and Internet products that you can download to keep your computer


Open Windows Update in Help and Support Center

On the Windows Update home page, click Scan for updates

Click Yes when prompted to install any required software or device drivers


Windows Update scans your computer for outdated system files and lets you replace them

with the most recent versions


Legitemate computer distrubutor will never do harm to their customer that could destroy their reputation.

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Posted by gilbert of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on October 23, 2004