HOME PC Alamode About Us HELP
Reviews Columns Features Archives Other  

 Preventive Maintenance

Unneeded ActiveX
April 2003

Russell James is Operations Manager at BJ Associates of San Antonio. They are an authorized service center for Toshiba and Sony systems. They are the laptop specialist and also handle system builds and parts for desktops. They can take care of any IBM compatible hardware or software problem that you have.

The Internet is a marvel of our modern age. You can find information on almost any subject by doing a search on one of the search engines like Google free of charge except for the price of your connection to the Internet. You can even have the connection for free with a number of sites like Juno or Netzero. Granted you wonít get the speed of the cable modem but you get what you pay for. You can even use the computers at your local library but then why go to a library to surf the net? Read a book instead.

You can look up the spelling and pronunciation, with sound, at the Microsoft Encarta Dictionary site as well as the Merriam-Webster site. There is also a thesaurus, encyclopedia and atlas available as well. There are sites that will show you how to build a tree house or research your family tree. Anything you want is available and therein lies the problem with the net.

The openness and availability of information on the Internet can also get you in trouble. I have talked about spyware in the past but we need to get into the specifics of how these programs get into your system. There are programs that are made to keep tabs on your surfing activity but they are installed by the user for different reasons.

One way is by going to a site, downloading and installing the software. Other software will be installed with what is called an ActiveX control. This is a pop up window that asks you if you want to download and install a certain program. You can get these pop up boxes just by going to a site. You might think that you have to install the software to view the site but this is usually not the case.

One such program is called Gator eWallet. It includes a login and form helper for remembering login names and passwords as well as your personal info for Web forms. The problem with gator is that when you install it, you also install another program called OfferCompanion. This program watches the sites that you surf and pops up ads based on where you go. Just what we need, more pop up ads. When you install Gator eWallet, you are agreeing to install the other software as well. The software is always running in the background, makes changes to your browser settings and can connect to the Internet by itself if you allow your computer to connect automatically.

Another program that gets installed is called New.net. It is installed with the same type of ActiveX control. You have to agree to install the program. This program also makes changes to your browser settings, connects to the Internet by itself, stays resident in the background and also hides itself from the user. Here is what the company says about their software.

The software application you are installing enables your system to recognize New.net domain names. This software also contains other functionality that enhances Internet browser navigation, facilitates delivery of content to your computer and enables automatic updates of the software.

This sounds like something that you might need to continue on your Internet journey, but I can guarantee you that not having it will not slow you down. In fact having the software will definitely slow you down. If you install enough of these spyware programs you are going to slow your system down to a crawl. These are only two examples of hundreds that are out there. There are also many that will do much more damage to your system than these.

Letís look at this at a very elementary level. If you have 10 of these programs installed on your system, every time you go to a Web page, your browser has to tell each of these programs the information that they are requesting from it. All of these requests for information take up time as well as system resources. I can tell you from experience that 10 is not a very high number. This is one of the easiest ways to speed up your system. Get rid of the junk. Or better yet, donít install the junk in the first place.

When you get the urge to download and install that great new piece of software, take a moment to find out if it is a known spyware program. This will save you the headache of trying to get rid of it later. You can lookup the programs at spywareguide. They have a database with what seems to be a very current list of spyware programs and explanations of what they do to your system as well as how to get rid of them. 

If you will take the time to lookup potential programs first you can keep your system from having the slowdown that it might have had. It is a lot easier to keep your system clean than it is to clean up afterwards. There are too many good things available on the Internet to waste your time on programs that will mess your system up. Donít install a program without checking it out first.

Copyright© 1996-2010
Alamo PC Organization, Inc.
San Antonio, TX USA