Peer-to-peer file-sharing programs such as Kazaa and BitTorrent are hugely popular, for obvious--though not terribly reputable--reasons. Less well known is that they can also be hugely damaging to your computer and, in consequence, to your academic life. Here are just some of the problems with file-sharing programs.
- They install spyware on your computer that can be annoying (lots of pop-up ads), disruptive (hijack your browser), and destructive (corrupting your files).
- They can also install tracking software on your computer. If you want every marketing manager on the continent to know your browsing habits, feel free to install file-sharing software and the spyware that comes with it. And pray that you don't get the installation that includes keystroke logging software designed to steal your personal passwords and credit card information.
- They can be indiscriminate about the files that are shared. Many people use P2P filesharing programs to acquire material (music, movies, etc.) without realizing that they are also sharing out files on their computer. Sharing files out to the entire Internet can open you to action through the DMCA or worse, make your personal documents available to strangers.
- They are bandwidth hogs. File-sharing programs try to monopolize all available bandwidth, slowing Internet access to everyone using the network to a crawl.
If you can't afford to lose your Internet connection during finals or have to wipe clean your hard disk--and all your documents--a week before thesis deadline, then you can't afford to have file-sharing software on your computer.
To uninstall a program:
- In your Start menu, choose Control Panels > Add or Remove Programs.
- Highlight the name of the program you wish to remove.
Some common filesharing names:
- BitTorrent or BitTornado
- Click on Change/Remove. This will open a confirmation dialog box.
- Click Uninstall and wait for it to complete the uninstall process.
- Restart you computer