View Full Version : Essential reading for computer privacy

18-05-2002, 11:45 PM
Over the past couple of months there have been various discussions regarding 'features' of the temporary internet folders, internet history, etc and protecting one's privacy.

A number of people know that I am a fan of Spider, a program that cleans out these folders, ridding the system of unnecessary bulk and eliminating evidence of surfing habits.

It has often puzzled me why I sometimes have to run it two or three times to completely clean the index.dat file. Well, now I know why. The answer is at:


I strongly recommend everyone who is concerned with maintaining and controlling their privacy while using their computer to read this entire article. It applies to all Windows users who use Internet Explorer, Outlook and Outlook Express, as well as those who have Fast Find enabled on their machine.

Even if, like me, you don't have anything to hide, you would still benefit from following the advice and clearing out *a lot* of unnecessary rubbish accumulating without your knowledge.

For all of us who have ever had problems with scandisk or defrag restarting due to disk writes, I was amazed to find out that one cause could be because Find Fast was indexing your hard drive in the background. The article explains why we are better off without Fast Find and how to get rid of it.

I'm sure other people will find this article as informative and interesting as I did.

19-05-2002, 12:56 AM
Well done Susan B a very interesting site.

19-05-2002, 01:07 AM
A very interesting article.

Once I get the thumping sound out of my head, I will have a more detailed read of it.

By the way, did hubby buy you that new 21' flat screen monitor or did he settle for the new toaster from Farmers.

19-05-2002, 01:36 AM
Susan - I was going to post a query about a virus scan showing scanning thousands of temporary internet files, after I had just cleaned them all out, plus cookies. I wondered where the files were hidden that were being scanned.

Now I know - thanks a lot. EC

19-05-2002, 02:17 PM
Hi Susan

Found that very helpful. Being a bit of an amateur DOS-head myself I had identified and viewed the contents of all the index.dat and temporary internet files using Ztree (which is not bound to slavishly obey Microsoft's wishes). Unfortunately the one wish that it does obey won't let all of the index.dat files be deleted via Ztree so it is necessary to resort to DOS.

Some time ago I made up a boot disk with a batch file routine that deletes all of the unwanted files and I run this before I run scandisk & defrag. It seemed pointless to me to defrag a disk full of unwanted data as this would just extend the defrag time. I also get rid of all of these files before creating any back up (Ghost) image files.

The sequence I use is to delete temporary internet files and history using IE tools then reboot with the disk in let it rip. The whole process could be automated for every boot by loading the batch file on the HD and calling it from the autoexec.bat file but I don't have that much to hide. I note that the author of the article makes passing reference to use of the auto exec.bat file but doesn't take that option any further. He/she recommends use of proprietary products instead. I have Historykill on one of my Win2K machines and it seems quite effectiive though I doubt that it can deal with email archives.

I would caution anybody using Outlook not to delete their *.pst file though as this will delete all of their current email records.


Billy 8-{)

19-05-2002, 02:46 PM

Thats creepy. Why on earth would Bill want to have these records, apparently, prmanently stored on our computers. To labour a point, to what end.

I guess these files include such things as any viruses that have the ability to replicate and copy your address book, ads, spyware, etc.

Could you post that batch file Billy or alternatively are there any utilities that will do the job for those of us who are not DOS jockies.


Murray P

PS. Well done again Susan.

19-05-2002, 05:06 PM
Hi Susan,
I'm an older person, like over 50, I went to the web address you mentioned, and was really amazed. I copied and pasted the info into a word document to read it at my leisure.
About defrag and scan disk, I've been having trouble with these for a while now, I can do a defrag and a standard disk scan. But not a through scan, when I do a Through scan always something working in the background, so I have to start computer in safe Mode which is annoying, even though I do them like fortnightly they seem to take forever like up to 3-4 hours, with nothing that I no of running.
As to the reference' Find Fast, is this the same as' Fast Find', which is what I have that I can find.
I'm using a HP Pavilion 6700 computer, 192mb RAM, Windows ME, (no jokes now please I hate MS), but have to put up with it.
The Riddler Says to put in a BOOT disk for Windows ME to boot to Dos. (Index 3.1 Paragraph 3). What is a 'BOOT DISK', and should I have one, I got 3 CD's with my computer 1.5 years ago, one is 'Application Recovery'; the other two are 'System Recovery'. No 'BOOT Disk'.
Can one create a 'BOOT DISK'? I properly could follow the instructions for the removable of 'Find Fast' but as for the rest it's a little over my old noggin.
By the way do computers still require DOS, I heard refference sometime ago that someone deleted DOS from there computer, mybe I was mistaken.
Any help please.

merlin :-)

19-05-2002, 05:50 PM
Good one susan - most imformative and interesting site - i too like merlin with read it further at my leisure - Thanks

19-05-2002, 09:30 PM
Hi Murray

I will post the batch file soon, but first I need to make it more user friendly as at the moment it is set up to require enter to be pressed at every step. I did that for my own interest so that I could stop part way through if I wanted and see what had been deleted. Also, since it is a universal jobby for Win9x and Win2K (and probably NT & XP I wouldn't mind betting since they both have the same base as W2K) it has some personalised parameters that need to be converted to wildcards or equivalent. I would want to do that and check that it doesn't do anything stupid before I post. I'm a DOS batch file tinkerer rather than a Guru so I like to test before I commit mayhem on others!

There are some interesting DOS parameters in the document Susan referenced that I don't understand the need for too, but in batch files there's always more than one way to skin the cat as the saying goes so I'll sort it out when I get time and post it with the appropriate title. You won't miss it if you are a Press F1 regular.


Billy 8-{)

19-05-2002, 10:13 PM
Hi merlin (& Billy)

That system recovery disk is probably a boot disk of sorts if your computer is set to boot to the CD drive.

Would pay to make a windows one with CD drivers. Do this (I don't have ME so may be a little different):

Get a floppy disk ready. Go- Start> Settings> Control Panel> Add Remove Programs> Start Up Disk. Pop the disk in the slot and hit the create Disk button. Follow any instructions.

To use the disk put it in your drive when you boot up your computer. You'll end up at A:\ prompt type C: <enter> (where C: is the drive windows is installed or root) and a way you go.


Thanks for that Billy. re read the article and had a closer look at my files. All the index.dat and descktop.ini are visible to me. Have altered them and made the index.dat (.xl work book) password protected. It might just work you know??

That batch file would be nice though. I'm about to format and reinstall so would be great to have something to do it auomatically (they'll all be back in all their sneeky glory, won't they)


Murray P

19-05-2002, 10:27 PM
Merlin, I see that Murray has just posted when I started typing this and his advice is what I was going to suggest, so try that. If you can't boot from the floppy it may be because your PC is set to boot from a CD. Post back here and we will give you further instructions if you need them.

DOS has completely gone from Win XP but as far as I know it is still partly there in WinME, just well hidden. I'm using Win98 but I was still surprised to read that you need a boot disk to get into DOS.

Yes, the Find Fast is the same as Fast Find - I think maybe the Riddler got the name transposed a bit.

To get rid of all those files the Riddler referred to, you could also try Spider (see my reply to Murray for the link) as it has been reported to run in Win ME as well.

21-05-2002, 02:42 PM
i suggest the concern get two computers. one slow PC for internet with no info on HDD and another for their normal work.

Link it up with a 100BT network card. 2nd computer prevents all internet activity .. this should be able to fix it. Well I would prefer to diconnect the cable. So screw the computerfiler ... aka PC Data peterfiler

I could do that wif my P200 win95, office 2k. Brilliant little machine put to great use! And use email encrypyed on slow machine. then export to fast Pc so the usual pc is at no risk. it prevents internet games though..


22-05-2002, 02:44 PM
Susan - thanks for opening this can of worms and a lot of eyes!

For those wanting to read more info about hidden files I suggest going to the CacheSentry site - EnigmaticSoftware (mindspring.com/~dpoch/enigmatic). There is quite a bit of interesting stuff there, especially about the Temp Internet Files, although from memory you have to poke around a bit to find it all.
CacheSentry may have been designed to take care of many of the issues raised by Riddler. Tweak'e may have some answers to that because he was looking at that prog.

Since reading your thread and Riddler's page I have had a quick play with good ol' Norton Commander, using both the DOS-based and Win 95 versions. Without making any of the changes suggested by Riddler to force the display of MS-hidden files, I looked at the contents of Tempor~1\content.ie5 in Win Explorer and the 2 Nortons (both run from within Windows). All 3 showed 8 subfolders with alphanumeric names. On examining the contents of the 1st subfolder, NC3 (DOS) showed 548 files, NC95 showed 549 and WE showed just 16 .gifs and a line saying '&java=true'. On checking the other 7 subfolders with WE, only 17 lines were reported from each and about 4 of them showed identical or very similar contents. There was extensive duplication throughout the 8, and this is in line with a point made in the CacheSentry info. I did a boot straight to DOS and ran NC3 - it again reported 548 files.

Unfortunately I don't have a spare 3 days to try all the things that come to mind after these readings and a bit of thinking. I have not as yet tried the Nortons to see if they will delete the unwanted files - I suspect they will. If anyone still has PC Tools or Xtree Gold it might be worth experimenting with those too.

Susan, I suspect this topic will be active for a while yet. I suggest you make a new Mk II posting in a day or so, with a link to this one, to keep the thread on the 'front page' which is so much easier to access than the by date, author or subject listings.

22-05-2002, 09:33 PM
Hi Susan,
Glad to hear from you I suppose you are a busy lady.
Just before my tv programs I recieced you post am haing a little trouble at the moment logging on but that is another time.
As to the findfast problem is as follows.
C:\program files\microsoft office\office\1033 (x 3 files)
FindFast binoculars with lightening Bolt
and two FindFast books with question marks on them.
Hope that helps as to the other problem I will do that later tonite because will be away from home on thursday.
Many thanks until next time.

merlin-nz :8-)

22-05-2002, 09:51 PM
Thanks for sharing that info Robin, the plot seems to thicken every day! It's good (?) to know that the Riddler's claims are being confirmed by other people and that it isn't just a fairytale.

Am currently looking at the Cache Sentry page, it looks a good little program but if all it does is keep one's temporary internet files to a manageable level then I may not have much use for it. I delete them all with Spider every few days. Will give it a run though to see what it's all about.

I'm interested in seeing the info regarding temp files but there's a lot to read and I haven't got there yet. So much to do and so little time! LOL