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Generic OS Question.

by Ugg / November 20, 2004 1:01 PM PST

I'm currently running Windows ME. I know there's alot of problems & bugs with it, and I'm certainly having my share of problems. My reason for running ME is simple, I heard that MS built in spyware (Backdoor) to all their new OS's. I DON'T WANT MS, OR ANYBODY ELSE KNOWING WHAT I'M DOING OR WHERE I'M GOING! IT'S NONE OF THEIR BLANKITY BLANK BUSINESS!

Now, my question/'s is/are this. Is there any truth to what I just stated? If so, is there any way to block MS from spying if I change my OS? What's a good OS to change to? I have 3 machines on a home network, and I want them all to have the same OS. Does that really matter? BTW, all my machines are Dells. One is a 2100, one is a 4300, and the last is a 8400. All are Pent 3's.

Discussion is locked
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Re: Generic OS Question.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 20, 2004 8:17 PM PST
In reply to: Generic OS Question.

Short answer;

No, there is no truth to the statement.

Long answer;

Your main problem is not with Microsoft spying on you. How would they do that? How would they manage it? There are literally millions, if not billions, of web pages surfed each day from millions of users 24 hours a day. What would they do with the information? So, what if you surf a few porn sites. Millions of other people do. So what if you download copyrighted music or films? Millions of others do the same. Microsoft does not police the internet and they have no interest in what you do.

But, there are many people out there who do monitor what you do. Or they would do if you give them the chance. Hackers, advertisers, virus writers are looking for unprotected systems for them to invade and cause damage or take over for their own use.

Your problem is not Microsoft. Your problem is protecting your computer from viruses, trojans, worms, hijackers, hackers, advertisers.

Don't bother with Microsoft. They are the least of your worries.

Of course, you could be being monitored by the CIA, or any of the hundreds of other security organisations in the world who snoop in on emails, web surfing, chat rooms Instant Messaging, forums like this, cell phones, land line phones, tv programs, conversations in the street, credit card transactions.

Need I go on?

But then, I am not paranoid. Happy


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Re: Generic OS Question.
by Ugg / November 20, 2004 11:21 PM PST

Hi Mark:

1st of all, how did you get that smiley to post? Yes, I am a bit paranoid, but you would be to had you spent as much time as I have in the "Security" industry. The technology that we normal people are aware of is so far behind what is "State Of The Art", it's frightening. As large as MS is, why couldn't they do that? Do you remember Ma Bell? Why would they do that? To compile information. What would they do with that information? What ever they'd want to. You are aware that "Law Enforcement" no longer needs a court order to eavesdrop. Who knows, maybe MS made a deal with the government to provide information on people as a way to get those charges dropped? (Big smile and a wink.)

With that being said, so what's a good OS to replace ME? Would I lose any data when I upgraded? Is it needed for all the units in my home network to have the same OS? Thanks again.

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Re: Generic OS Question.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / November 22, 2004 4:47 AM PST

Ugg, sorry for the delay in replying.


Use - then ) without any spaces in between, (ie the minus sign, then the close bracket sign.

I agree with you in verything that you said. Microsoft could do these things. But then so could any other OS programmer. That said, I use Windows XP and I'm happy with it.

No you don't need all the same OS on a home network. My XP PC talks to my Win ME PC and is not snooty about it, Happy


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Forum Emoticons (Smileys)...
by glenn30 / November 22, 2004 6:07 AM PST

Here you will find the forum emoticons. In the upper part of the page column under "Forum Information" click
"Forum FAQ" and scroll down to page to Item #7 "Adding an emoticon to your message". I copied and printed that section to have for ready access.

Simply type in the keystrokes... HappyGrinWinkSillyDevil

Have fun!!


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Re: Forum Emoticons (Smileys)...
by Ugg / November 22, 2004 8:35 PM PST


Thanks. Wink

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Re: Forum Emoticons (Smileys)... Further Question.
by Ugg / November 26, 2004 4:36 AM PST


How do you get those straight lines as in the mouth on confused or plain?

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Re: Forum Emoticons (Smileys)... Further Question.
by glenn30 / November 26, 2004 5:23 AM PST

That is a "pipe" and located on the second row down and to the extreme right on my keyboard. Yours may vary but you probably have it. Wink


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by Butch F. / December 23, 2004 9:37 PM PST

It often looks like a line straight up and down with a small break in it. Often the Uppercase of the \ (backslash).

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Re: Generic O S Question
by surak / December 24, 2004 4:07 PM PST

I feel that I must agree with Mark, the previous writer who responded to your question regarding personal security with Microsoft. I do not believe that Microsoft is your problem, nor your enemy.I do believe the real enemy is the spyware that insidiously downloads onto your hard drive with out you knowing about it when you download a free or a purchased product off the internet. this spyware then transmits all of your personal information to its original source. this is true of viruses, worms, trojans, and other malevolent software too. Start investing in some reliable antivirus and Firewall software to protect your computer's security and your privacy. Upgrade your OS to the next level without fear. Microsoft will not hurt you. But as a last tidbit, don't ask for trouble in these troubling times by going to "questionable" web sites that invite trouble. Live long and Prosper.


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Re: Generic OS Question.
by radioactive1 / November 24, 2004 3:03 PM PST
In reply to: Generic OS Question.

Yes, there is some truth to what you are saying, particularly if you register for MS Passport. MS Explorer in particular opens you up to a number of privacy issues as you surf the Internet.

Adware/Spyware programs only address a part of the problem and don't address (at least most don't), the specific issue you raise here - i.e., protecting your privacy.

I'd recommend installing All-in-One Secretmaker (freeware) which will help you close the privacy gaps in IE, as well as deal with spyware, adware, spam, popups, etc.

Good Luck,


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Re: Generic OS Question.
by Ugg / November 24, 2004 11:20 PM PST


Thanks. I'll look into that. So what your saying is that All-in-One Secretmaker will keep MS away too? I have the local guru coming over to help me get everything back together, & I'll probably install a new OS in all our machines then. Angry

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Re: Generic OS Question, Additional Question.
by Ugg / November 26, 2004 4:34 AM PST


Will Secretmaker be affected by the firewall I already have (McAfee Personal Firewall)?

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Secretmaker and McAffee
by radioactive1 / December 20, 2004 2:03 PM PST

Shouldn't be a problem. The two should work together OK.


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by Ugg / December 21, 2004 10:00 PM PST


SecretMaker seems like it's gonna take a whole lotta time to teach what's what. So I guess I'll come back to it later when I got the time. Right now I still have to figure out how to translate my AOL files so I can save em & be able to view em without AOL. HA!

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Microsoft is Spying On Peoples
by matrix777 / December 24, 2004 8:28 AM PST

Ofcourse MicroS*cks is spying on us.

Now How would I come to know I do not have a Jennie with a Lamp Wink

Use Some Good Fire Wall and some Trojan Guarder type software and see it for your self.

SNDMON.exe in Windows 2000 Professional \ Server
Hackcmd.exe in Windows almost every version.

A software could hook that hackcmd.exe and etc etc...

Where these files are??? In services My dear and some other services running in back Ground too, not mentioned here.... are known as too nosy services..

If you have experience to updated you MicroS*cks OS install all updates and keep you system updated then install some internet Monitoring Program \ APP to check the incoming and outgoing connections\bytes you will find some interesting things....

OPEN Your Eyes Baby.. Its True....A big Spy MicroS*cks!

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Microsoft Spying?
by NeBot / December 25, 2004 12:46 PM PST


First of all, both of those files are not on my computer and the hackcmd.exe file does not reside on any install media of microsoft. I run an MSDN Library and have access to most of the software that M$ has made.

Secondly, the idea of Microsoft spying on people using the internet brings up the question, Is anything you do on the internet anonymous? When you connect to a website that site knows the address (IP) of the computer you connected from. With that address they can find the ISP you connect to the internet from. The ISP keeps a log of who is connected to which IP at every second of the day. So if you were to do something illegal, like fraud towards that business, all they would need is your IP address and they can find you. Sure there are ways around using your "real" ip but since the web page or file got back to you there has to be a trail that can be followed, no matter how many times it is relayed it has to be logged for CYA perposes.

Personally though, I would rather be worried about someone who doesn't have anything getting my information then a company with more money then they can count getting it.

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They're Everywhere!
by Ugg / December 26, 2004 8:38 PM PST
In reply to: Microsoft Spying?


What do people and or companies with BIG BUCKS want? MORE BUCKS! Like the oil companies that are making these HUGE profits, that's PROFITS, not gross, and they're not happy because they want more. Most of the really rich folk I've met are really, really cheap. They make me look like a drunken sailor, and IMO, I'm pretty darned cheap.

So MS compiles this info & sells it to whomever. I would prefer that nobody got inside my machine. Not that I'm hiding anything, it's just the principle of it. I don't want anybody knowing which hand I use to wipe my butt (actually, I use toilet paper). Grin It seems that YaHoo's another big company that's spying on us. Sad

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Snooping by Business or Government
by FLATFOOT / December 23, 2004 5:23 PM PST
In reply to: Generic OS Question.

I personally do not think you have much of a choice. Big business and government are inherently dishonest and there is no way to overcome them. You just need to be careful to not put anything on your computer that you feel would be embarrasing to you. They will monitor you and deny it. It is a no win situation.

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It is illegal for anti-spyware programs to detect government
by baddawgg / December 24, 2004 12:38 AM PST

it is illegal for anti-spyware to detect government spy programs. Webroot Spy-sweeper, Ad-Aware, Spy Bot, Spy Hunter, Leak Test, Spy Cop, and Who's Watching Me all refuse to detect at least 16 spyware programs used by the FBI, CIA, Army (both US and Canadian) and other departments in the Office of Homeland Security. You don't need to worry however. Everything you do online can be detected by Carnivore and Echilon, software your ISP is REQUIRED to run on their server. The other spyware programs are used to read files on your computer generated by MS Office and Quicken

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Well, you can make it much harder for the snoopers...
by rsomoza / December 23, 2004 6:47 PM PST
In reply to: Generic OS Question.

While it's unavoidable that people (companies, hackers & governments) spy on you, try a couple of things to make their life much harder...

a) Have a good firewall (NOT the Windows XP one), and make sure that you have all ports covered. Prohibit incoming connections unless you are sure you WANT those. Similarly, let your firewall block out EVERYTHING unless you specifically permit it (and have a good look at what you permit - if in doubt, block it).

b) Use a track erasing software. There are a couple of them that guarantee your anonimity on the Internet.

c) Apart from a good (& up-to-date)antivirus, use some Spybot/Adware blocker - these detect a lot of malicious things that many virus checkers ignore completely. I personally use Spybot Search & Destroy. You would not believe all the stuff that manages to get through while navigating the Internet, firewall or not.

d) Dump Internet Explorer - that's the greatest blaring security holes in Windows - use an alternative browser. I just installed Firefox, and probably I'll switch to this one instead of Netscape.

e) Ditch also Outlook & Outlook Express. Again, this is where all hackers look for security holes (because it's the most widely used). There are plenty of mail alternatives available -for free.

f) Get a security certificate from a trustworthy source (some provide it also for free) to certify that a message is indeed from you.

g) Encrypt sensitive mail with the highest encryption. PGP is the obvious candidate. This does not mean that a government will not be able to decypher your messages, but at least they will need a supercomputer to do that - and at least that is out of reach for 99.99999999% of all hackers & not-so-honest businesses.

h) Oh, and yes, the "stupid" (and very often forgotten) advice: Browse Internet with an account that does NOT have Admin priviledges... preferably, use the Admin account ONLY for software installation.

i) And I imagine that you have also a proper password protection on your PC, including limitation of access of directories to a specific user (if you do that, even disassembling the hard disk from your PC would make such information inaccessible to everybody except the most specialised hackers). After all, burglary is not all that uncommon....

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make it harder for the snoopers
by Anneee / January 2, 2005 1:46 PM PST

I'm very interested in learning more about "Admin privileges" - both to protect my home pc settings (runs WinME) - and several computers in lab setups that I run/teach, some are open to gen. public use (running Win95, Win98 and WinME). Use cable modem at home with firewall; converting labs to cable modem from dial up.

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Microsoft O.S. Backdoor Spyware...
by thepan123 / December 23, 2004 9:02 PM PST
In reply to: Generic OS Question.

This is a subject that I have argued with a friend, on occasion. I am of the thought that this is urban legend. Let's face it...any software maker could incorporate some form of spyware in their programming. If you truly beleive this is fact, why not conform to the use of a non-Microsoft operating system? Do you realize the data base Microsoft would have to have to accumulate, save and sort spyware data from everyone using XP in the world?

While I do beleive that there is some reporting to Microsoft (as my Adaware Program shows)I feel its nothing more than other typical spyware that I remove. I am security minded for myself and my clients and a ardent user of anti-spyware programs. It is a necessary evil in these times of computing.

You say your networked with three computers? Then watch what you share and how you share files between them. Use a firewall. Keep your anti-virus defs up to date.

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not so urban
by davos1 / December 23, 2004 10:24 PM PST

a few years ago I was testing the security of some sites, and I realized that one could bypass the Altavista firewalls from the outside part by simply using MS explorer with out privileges... looking forward, it is so logical for MS to have the information linked about the users-hardware-software, not only for royalties. Have u ever realized that if your antivirus is going to expire an increase in random attacks from virus arrives to your machines? have u ever realized that MS passport and win xp updates verifies your serial number and updates you BIOS version, and verify if your machine is part from the net group? It is logical to link the sw/hw to get royalties.
also the next logical step is to get identification/tracking of all the persons, and more with the antiterrorist campaigns.technically it is possible to do it.

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Monster Database.
by Ugg / December 26, 2004 9:07 PM PST


What does the government use? For instance, when they monitor & record ALL telephone conversations that use the airwaves (microwave transmission) in the US, & who knows where else. They've been doing this for years already. Their computers "LISTEN" for key words, & when triggered, they record the conversations & the info that goes with em (like datestamps & # ID's), & store em somewhere, somehow.

I'm from Chicago. Back in the 60's, the Chicago Police had a unit called the "RED SQUAD". Their job was to compile info on suspected commies. What they would do is follow a suspect, & when this person got to where they were going, the police would copy the names off of mailboxes for a 2.5 sq block radius from the place the person went to. They would also write down the #'s to ALL auto license plates in that same radius. They would do this EVERYWHERE the person went.

They would do this with every suspected commie. Then they would correlate all this info. Now this was before the widespread useage of computers, so you can imagine the amount of man-hours that went into this endevor. Before long, they had compiled info on over 80% of the population of Chicago.

They disbanded the "RED SQUAD" because it GOT OUT on what they were doing, but there is no mention about what was to be done with the info. Now all THAT info was stored on PAPER. Can you imagine the amount of space that took up? Sad

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Theres no such thing as privacy on the net
by Grigster / December 24, 2004 12:34 AM PST
In reply to: Generic OS Question.

I've been using MS windows since it was an adon to DOS 6.22. From its outset as far as I can determin it has had built in spyware as its now called . By useing older versons of windows it only makes things easer to spy on you by companys or hackers . I have also tryed many others OS through the years and ALL have been worse on security then windows was and still is.
They could close all these backdoors any time they want. But they make more money leaving them in and creating more new ones . The same small group of people who invest to the point of control in OS software also invest in all the Antiverus and privacy protection software . And you know companys if it puts an extra fifty cents in there pocket, they don't care how many peoples lives are ruined. Literaly the only thing you can do is to boycott any company you catch spying on you and make sure to post what you know on the net as a warning for others.

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Windows addon for MS-DOS 6.22
by NeBot / December 25, 2004 12:53 PM PST


You really make me feel old with that remark. I remember installing the brand new version of MS-Dos 3.0 and Windows 1.0 on top of it so I had something that now would be called DosShell.

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Generic OS ??
by johnmccollim / December 24, 2004 1:27 AM PST
In reply to: Generic OS Question.

I was under the impression the spyware came from the computer makers. Everytime i built my own system using win 98, and a motherboard drivers disk i never ran into preinstalled spyware. But working on Compaq & HP models wich use a restore disk {OS, motherbord drivers, with company logo's etc.) i ran into the spyware. .... I would wait for windows Longhorn to be released in 2005. Last of all run spyware removers such as spybot & ad aware. (free dowload from this site).

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No Modem No Backdoor
by billyrferrell / December 24, 2004 1:37 AM PST
In reply to: Generic OS Question.

All operating system [OS] have built in spyware (Backdoor) to procect the their software from attacks or problem & bugs that you may be haveing with it. So that thay can update their software.
You say that you have Windows ME it time to move on to Windows XP.
But remanber that operating system troubleshoot a computer bugs for problem that you are have and ask to send the necessary information to MSN.
No Modem No Backdoor.

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by Ugg / December 26, 2004 9:17 PM PST
In reply to: No Modem No Backdoor


Yep, it is time to move on from ME. I just don't like the idea of someone getting into my machine & snoop around. But if ya stop & think about it, these people/compaines actually want your machine to run smoothly, so they can compile all your info with no problems. It's just like if your phone was tapped, your connection will usually be crystal clear.

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Spying OS on you
by elmrj / December 24, 2004 4:47 AM PST
In reply to: Generic OS Question.

I have long ago suspect that big companies ISP's,PC makers and Big Websites(Paying and Non-Paying) have long since placed spy sofeware on the OS in order to keep track of your habits. And if you think they will ever admit it, you will be thinking that for a long time. Think about this, when you use your Credit Card at a local merchant or buy a car/house. All of sudden you get offer's from compies you never heard of. Insurance/Extented warranties plans and more offer's from other Credit Card companies. Even when you fill out a Win-Contest at a store you give them certain information and then you receive mail linking to product offers. I strongly believe "Spam" for the most part will never go away due to big Websites being part of the problem. Thats how they get their money to offer users free Chat Rooms, Instant Messenger and free E-Mail Service (Its not really free)the Ads and Spammer's pay them for the information to send junk mail to you and I. Since most people delete them it goes on. And the few hundreds who reply to them they get the money for the placing. Yes I do think OS is part of the spy game along with the rest mention...elmrj

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