Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
I came across the web page that I found you on in the attempt to find information out if there is a possibility that my husband who I am in the middle of a nasty divorce could have, sometime since he moved out 2 years ago, put a spy program on my computer. I know it is possible, but am wondering how I can find if he has been monitoring my activity on the computer. In the past I know while he was in the residence he had put a program on and I found out by him showing me what he had done. When he moved out, I had the computer basically stripped down and reloaded and all programs supposedly were erased. I did purchase E. Blaster thinking he might be using that program but it loaded so I would assume that he is not using that program. Could there be another? Some computer technicians do not want to even get involved because they have told me that they do not want to be involved in a court case. I just need direction on where I should start or where I might find someone to investigate my computer and see if they can find any trace of him doing this.
I can understand a normal technician not wanting to get involved. But I also understand that it might take some money, money that most of us might not have, to actually find someone to do the detailed analysis, and then testify to it in court.
So what should you do?
Depending on what you mean by "stripped down and reloaded", that might well have been the very best thing you could have done. Basically if it involved both reformatting the hard disk(s) and reinstalling Windows, that's exactly what I would do myself, and feel quite ok about it.
Most anti-spyware programs will actually catch these kinds of things. While they're targeted at commercial spyware (things that insert ads, or redirect you to other sites and the like), they actually are also looking for true "spy" ware as well, as the name implies. Unfortunately not all anti-spyware programs catch all spyware, but running at least one, if not a couple every so often could give you a higher level of confidence. This article has more on the generalities: Spyware: How do I remove and avoid spyware?.
Sadly there are no guarantees, since I can't see or get at the specifics of your situation, but hopefully these general guidelines will help. After all that if you really do still suspect that he's spying on you, then it might be worth the extra effort and cost of tracking down a professional who can help you in your specific situation. In most cases, it'll take a private investigator who's up on technology, or perhaps law enforcement if you can get their attention.
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