TECH HOW TO: Cover your Internet tracks
In the glory days of shareware programs, PC users could download useful little utilities from computer bulletin boards at speeds up to 1200 bps. Modems were slow back then, but programs were tiny by today's standards. If you found the program use...
In the glory days of shareware programs, PC users could download useful little utilities from computer bulletin boards at speeds up to 1200 bps. Modems were slow back then, but programs were tiny by today's standards. If you found the program useful, you were on the honor system to pay the program's author a small fee. Sometimes these utilities were works in progress, and I'd delete them and find something better. Shareware programs still exist, and they can be downloaded from websites using your high-speed Internet connection. However, many are only samples of the real program. You can't get the full program without paying.
I was reminded of my shareware days when I installed SurfTracks Cleaner, a useful utility for Windows PCs that clears Internet clutter and privacy files from your hard drive. Like its shareware counterparts, this program does a few things well. Unlike shareware, however, you get the full version at shareware prices. In my tests it did everything well, and it's found a permanent place on my hard drive.
After a quick installation, an options page appears. You can choose to manually delete browsing history, cookies and temporary Internet files showing sites you've visited, among other tell-tale signs of your surfing sessions. If you choose "automatic," your surfing sessions are wiped clean, and no one's the wiser about where you've been and what you've looked at on the Internet. I chose to have my cookies file deleted, which means that sites I visit regularly won't recognize me when I return. If you're sharing a computer, you'd probably want to turn that feature on. You can also choose the cookies you want to keep. And you can choose to delete all your Internet tracks, cookies, typed URLs and Internet files every time you close your Internet Explorer or Firefox browser.
While both browsers have similar delete features, somehow SurfTracks Cleaner found files they missed. So, if you're looking for a useful little program to protect your privacy on the Internet, this one works well right out of the case and has features shareware authors of yore could only imagine.
SurfTracks Cleaner works with Windows Vista or XP. To order, send $12, plus $6 for shipping, to WashingtonCD, P.O. Box 351531, Los Angeles, CA 90035, or online at www.washingtoncd.net .