How to Find Monitoring Software on My Computer
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.
Press "Ctrl," "Shift" and "Esc" simultaneously to open Task Manager. Click the "Processes" tab, then sort by user name.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.