Some people believe that everything they do is somehow monitored and the more technology they use, the less privacy they have. You may be one of these people, or you may dismiss these beliefs as paranoid ravings. But this may actually be closer to the truth than you think - the people who are worried about privacy threats over their computers have legitimate concerns ever since the advent of spyware.
Spyware is software downloaded to your computer that runs in the background and collects information about you. This information, such as web pages you visit, your download habits, and even your keystrokes and passwords, is sent to an outside source. The worst part is, you have no ides that this program is on your computer, let alone what it is doing! You also have no control over what information it collects or where the information goes.
Now that you know a bit about spyware, you may be wondering, "Do I have spyware on my computer?"
If you plan to scan for and remove spyware using an anti-spyware program, use one of our removal programs, included on the CPR Security Suite. If you're opting for downloading other free spyware removers, make sure this is a reliable alternative to what you already have. For your own interest, you may also want to check out spyware laws and legal issues surrounding this type of program.
Of course, prevention is always better than the cure. Do you fully trust your current security programs? Do they slow down your computer, feeding off all the computer resources? Making sure spyware isn't downloaded onto your computer in the first place is worth the effort, especially if it prevents you having to go through lengthy removal processes.
If you believe your unit may be infected, and would like to learn about the CPR Security Suite, see our Virus & Spyware Removal section.
Some liquid has just spilled into your computer. What should you do?
Bring your computer in for a spill cleaning. We'll completely disassemble your unit, and clean the affected parts. Then we reassemble the computer and test it to determine if any of the parts need to be replaced. A technician will then call you with the cost to replace any damaged parts; at that point you can choose to continue the repair or opt to perform a data backup of your files. You'll get the same advice we'd give a good friend; if it makes more sense to purchase a new computer, we'll let you know.
Learn how we can help you: CPR Spill Cleaning Service.
Your computer is your home. Behind the front door is your computer's hard drive, and just down the hall is where your personal data resides.
Whenever you save personal information on your computer, you want to know that everything is private and protected — and the level of your computer’s security determines the strength of the deadbolt for your computer's front door. Got it?
Spyware is often a component of a software application a user intentionally installs. This is especially true of free software downloaded from the internet. Spyware can also be part of an executed computer virus. And, even though you may remove the virus or fix the problems it caused, the spyware remains on the computer, collecting data and reporting back to parties interested in stealing your information.
Bloatware, also known by the more vernacular moniker of Crapware is the overwhelming pile of anti-virus, extended service, demos, free trials and promos which computer manufacturers feel compelled to pile onto their desktop and laptop PCs at the factory. Even the backgrounds can be an ad, as in the case of Sony Vaio computers promoting Sony Pictures' latest theatrical motion picture releases.
Due to the amazing competition in the computer hardware market, the margins on some computers is now so thin that the manufacturers have to resort to the commissions and fees paid by the providers of this Bloatware to turn a profit on their units.
When you first boot up your new computer you are likely to see the screen littered with icons that not only have no relevance to the operation of the PC but are also hogging precious hard drive and RAM memory space. Not only will a Bloatware-free PC run faster and better, but you'll have more space to keep the applications and data that you really do want.
On both Vista and XP, you should first establish a System Restore Point. Name it "Pre-Bloatware-Elimination" or anything that will remind you that it was the last properly functioning system setup. Now check out the system tray to note what applications are automatically launching. If you don't recognize the icons, just hover the mouse cursor over them to read the tag. Now go to the Startup folder and remove any startup icons that match those unwanted and unneeded programs from starting up when you boot your computer from now on.
Now you can go to your Run menu and type in msconfig. You can now choose the Startup tab and Disable anything you definitely recognize that you don't need. Don't arbitrarily start deleting anything that you are not completely convinced is directly tied into Bloatware as many functions, especially those running in the Registry, are required by your PC to effectively operate. Registry Editors have likely been responsible for the destruction of more data than any other single source, so use these Editors extremely judiciously if at all.
Now you can go into your Control Panel's Programs and Features (Vista) or Add Or Remove Programs (XP) and uninstall everything that you recognize as Bloatware.
If you are saddled with a promotional background, you can change the background to any image of your choosing by going into the Backgrounds function of your Display Properties, accessible by rightclicking on the background and clicking on Personalize (Vista) or Properties (XP).
On Vista, it now is the time to lose those useless Vista Widgets that inform you of the current weather in Caracas or the latest Britney Spears news. Just click on the X to close them.
Some companies like Dell give you a Clean Option when purchasing your computer which will keep any of this Bloatware from being installed in the first place. By all means choose that if you can.
On laptops such as the HP models you'll see that you have two partitions that effectively do nothing. One is the OS Tools which virtually no one ever uses and the other is the Recovery partition which is nearly as underutilized. On smaller hard drives, these two partitions can take up almost a quarter of all your hard drive space. When you add in a Vista installation and the usual amount of space for System Restore Points and the Virtual Memory Page File as well as all the other odds and ends that the OS parks on your hard drive you might find that you have very little space left over for the functions that you purchased your computer to do. Deleting Bloatware will reclaim some of that space and give you a faster, better running PC.