Clean Up Your Internet Tracks

 
 
By Sheryl Canter  |  Posted 2003-02-25 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Internet Cleanup 3.0 can make your usage patterns virtually invisible.

Internet Cleanup 3.0 ($29.99 list) deletes—and shreds—almost anything on your system that might reveal what you do. The software can eliminate your cookies, history, cache, and recent documents—even wipe out your entire C drive if you want. The products most unusual feature is its ability to list and delete ActiveX controls and browser plug-ins. Statistics on these items and more display when you first launch the program (the delay caused by the necessary system scan might annoy impatient types). Version 3.0 works with AOL 7.0 and 8.0; Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 and later; and MSN Explorer 6.0, 7.0, and 8.0. Users of Netscape, Opera, and other browsers must stick with version 2.0. We tested Internet Cleanup with IE 6.

BrowserGuard, the most important addition to version 3.0, blocks banner ads, Web bugs, pop-ups, and cookies. Once you activate the feature, a button appears on the toolbar. Clicking this button opens a window that lists the blocked Web bugs and ads. If youre curious about what youre missing, you can highlight an item and click the Details button. A trace option will do a Whois lookup for you.

BrowserGuard doesnt work perfectly. It doesnt block all banner ads, and its blocking of Web bugs can cause some pages to display incorrectly. For example, if you view the PC Magazine discussion area with Web bugs blocked, youll see either the thread list on the left or the messages on the right, but not both. Half the page will be blank.

The cookie-blocking feature adds little to whats already built into Internet Explorer. In fact, the cookie support in IE 6 goes farther than that in Internet Cleanup, which simply lets you block, monitor, or accept all incoming cookies. Monitoring cookies could be interesting, but the reports are inaccurate. We tested the program on a site with known cookie activity. When the site wrote a single cookie, the software reported encountering five. The program even reported a cookie when opening the browser to a blank page.

Internet Cleanup can remove spyware, and version 3.0 adds more types to the list. We ran into a problem here, too, however. When we found no spyware initially on the test system, we started a thorough scan, but the process hung. Internet Cleanup 3.0 provides many welcome features, but some of the newest need a few bugs worked out.

 
 
 
 

Sheryl Canter joined PC Magazine as an Associate Editor in 1991, and has been a Contributing Editor since 1993. As a speaker, writer, and editor, her specialty is in demystifying computer technology to make it interesting and accessible to a wide audience.

A software developer since the early 1980's, Sheryl is currently writing programs for Windows and the Web. .

For more on Sheryl Canter, go to www.SherylCanter.com.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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