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- This Week's Free Computer Tip -

176 - Internet Security - Turn off Windows Messenger

This week's tip has two purposes. It both improves the security of your computer and serves to eliminate yet another opening from which you can be spammed! It's worth the effort. It seems that Microsoft has built a feature into Windows which serves no useful purpose for you, but creates a vulnerability on your system. It's called Windows Messenger, and it has nothing to do with anything you use, such as Microsoft security update notification service or any of the "instant messenging" programs which are available.

Having identified this as a problem, a company called Gibson Research has decided to fix the problem and, best of all, to do it for no charge. They actually offer several free services. This particular one is a download of a program they wrote called "Shoot the Messenger". The program requires no special knowledge of Windows to operate and can be downloaded and run in a minute or two, even using a dialup connection. The following link will take you directly to their "Shoot the Messenger" web page.

Here's how you do it -

  1. Click on this link to go to the Gibson Research "Shoot the Messenger" web page.

    Link to Gibson Research page:  --->>  Shoot The Messenger

  2. Look for the green button labeled "Download now", and click on it.
  3. Save the download to a folder where you can easily locate it.
    (I set up a folder under the "C:" drive called "Downloaded Software". That way, I can always find it later on.)
  4. Now run the program.
    Depending on how your downloads are configured, the window will either close right away or you will get a choice of options. The choice will include running the program now, just going to the folder where you saved the program, or just closing the window. Choose the "run now" option if it's offered. If not, navigate to the folder and double-click on the program file to run it.

You can read the Gibson Research web-page to get the full explanation of what this program does. Suffice it to say however, it works and it closes one more hole in the security on your computer!

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