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Help My Computer is FUCKED

MU STAFF - 1.14.2005

It has happened to all of us. You are searching on the web for something, and the next thing you know there are three new programs installed on your computer, everything seems to be running slower and a porn site is now your homepage. You also can't seem to browse the internet without two million popup ads covering your screen - on sites that normally haven't given you trouble before. There is a roulette table on your background, and even though the latest method of internet gambling has always intrigued you, you were never keen on the idea of companies spying on you and watching your every move. Well I'm writing this article after experiencing this hell myself, and finding the best ways to combat it.

There are many free programs out there that I think every computer should have, or would at least benefit from. They battle the annoyances of spyware/adware, protect your privacy, and help control those annoying popup ads - and the best part is that they don't cost a thing. If you are having any of these problems with your computer, these programs are a great place to start.

1. Spybot Search and Destroy - From website, " Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. Spyware is a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn't intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if you browser start page has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But even if you don't see anything, you may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing behaviour to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to advertisement companies. Spybot-S&D is free, so there's no harm in trying to see if something snooped into your computer, too :)"

2. Ad-Aware - From website, " With its ability to comprehensively scan your memory, registry, hard, removable and optical drives for known datamining, aggressive advertising, and tracking components, Ad-aware will provide the user with the confidence to surf the Internet knowing that their privacy will remain intact. Let Ad-aware protect your privacy."

3. Zone Alarm - From website, " Easy-to-use firewall blocks hackers and other unknown threats."

4. Google Toolbar - From website, " The pop-up blocker in the Toolbar Options menu prevents new windows from automatically opening when you visit a website. Often times, these new windows display advertising that can interfere with your ability to see the content on the page you're trying to read."