Interference – Who’s Pulling your Strings……

2 Jan

Who’s in Charge of your Computer……

As our computer operating systems have progressed from MSDOS to Windows 7 more and more of your software is setup to check and update itself by default.  This is stuff like Windows Update, Java, Adobe, Norton Antivirus (and nearly all other anti this and that software) along with multitude of other programs running in the background.  Even the PC manufacturer, be it Dell, HP, Acer or whoever will probably be running checks and updates by default.  Most offer an opt out/manual facility but the average consumer simply accepts the recommended options (finding the manual settings can be difficult).  Incidentally, when you get the ‘I Accept the Terms & Conditions’ check box, without which you can’t install your software, you probably don’t bother to read the endless pages of dribble before checking the box.  However, hidden amongst the jargon will be an ‘I agree to allow you to collect information about my computer and the choices I make’ statement……

Why Does this Affect You & Your Computer……

The first thing it does is slow you down.  Despite running in the background it still takes up some of your processing power and steals some of your internet speed.  Secondly, the information you have agreed to share with your manufacturer or software developer can be passed on to third parties for useful stuff like marketing, after all you did agree to it so no Data Protection laws have been broken.  Finally, the industry does not communicate well with issues surrounding how one piece of software can affect another.  I have frequently installed Microsoft’s recommended updates only to find that some other piece of software then stops working as smoothly as it did, if at all……

Recommendations……

I always set my updates to manual.  That way I can choose to run them when I’m not in the middle of doing something important.  I also check online to see what the update is for and if it is essential to keep things running smoothly.  I also run my antivirus, spyware and malware scans manually.  If left on a weekly schedule scan they may well kick in when you’re doing something else.  The only words of warning I will give you are, be organised and don’t forget to update your virus databases and run your scans fairly regularly.  I do mine approximately once per week.  I also keep really important stuff on USB memory sticks should the worse happen……

And Finally……

Happy computing and don’t forget you can ask any company to hold the information they collect about you securely and not share it with others.  An email should do the trick, just remind them of your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998……

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One Response to “Interference – Who’s Pulling your Strings……”

  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes January 4, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Very, VERY interesting. For the first time in my life, I bought a MAC last year (in August, & started a blog!) and had to get a Windows program with it. I’m set for weekly updates & apparently there’s a critical update that needs to be done BUT I CAN’T INSTALL IT.

    It’s maddening because it scans once a week, comes up with it, I agree to the licence (yep, without reading it – THAT was very enlightening) and it says it’s dragging it in or whatever – a blue bar goes across – but then it says I need to close Safari and Word for it to continue. I do this and then the only option I have is to CANCEl the update. I guess I need to take it back to the store. It’s a bit crazy.

    Thanks for this article – very good to know.

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