How to Find Monitoring Software on My Computer

By Ruri Ranbe

Monitoring software tracks your user activity and reports the information to a third party. This software can monitor and record a number of activities, including your web browsing habits, your keystrokes, downloads and chat sessions. Some computers may come previously installed with monitoring software--such as a school or company computer--whereas others may be infected with spyware, a form of malware that installs itself on your computer and tracks your information without your permission.If you suspect that a third party is monitoring your computer activity, there are certain things you can do to confirm whether your suspicions are correct.

Step 1

Press "Ctrl," "Shift" and "Esc" simultaneously to open Task Manager. Click the "Processes" tab, then sort by user name.

Step 2

Look for a user name different than your own, excluding "Local Services," "System" and "Network Services." If a process is running under an unfamiliar user name, search the full name of the process (located under "Image Name") in a search engine.

Step 3

Right-click the process and then click "End Process Tree," if the process comes up in the search results as a form of monitoring software.

Step 4

Click "Start," then "Control Panel." Click "Programs and Features." Browse through the list of installed programs for any unknown software. Use a search engine to look up the program name. If it is a monitoring program, look at the buttons on the left side of your taskbar to see if the icon for this software is present. If so, right-click the icon and click "Exit" or "Close," if the option is present.

Step 5

Return to the "Control Panel." Click "Windows Firewall." Click the link located on the left side of the window, "Allow a program through Windows Firewall." Press "Continue" if User Account Control appears.

Step 6

Scroll through the list of programs and uncheck any that appear suspicious. Only uncheck programs you are sure you do not need; if necessary, use a search engine for guidance.

Step 7

Download spyware removal software such as Adaware. Install and run the software. Run the program's update utility to ensure all spyware and malware definitions are up-to-date.

Step 8

Scan your entire computer using the spyware removal software. If any spyware is found, follow the program's instructions to properly remove or quarantine the infection.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not disable or remove monitoring software installed on a company or school computer, as you could get in trouble with the IT department.