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Windows secret files

By markh ยท 9 replies
Jan 15, 2009
  1. Hi all, a friend of mine was telling me that microsoft whas secret files on the c drive that retain all of your internet activity and emails.Can anyone confirm this and if it is so how can you access them (the path). Apparently you cannot see or access them through windows you have to start your pc in DOS. That being the case how can you view these secret folders on a NTFS partition.

    Many Thanks
  2. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    Your friend was likely playing on the internet and came across some of the following:

    It possibly it might have been mentioned in a newsletter. I can neither confirm nor deny- but I would ask: "what in the world would Microsoft do with all out temporary internet files and emails?!"

    Kind of like "who was the other shooter on the Hill in the Kennedy assassination?"
  3. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Hmm. That old page: http://www.****microsoft.com/content/ms-hidden-files.shtml (note: **** word removed as offensive) has closed; pretty sure cached somewhere though ;)

    Anyway, YES, it's confirmed
    There are many (and I mean -> many) areas in your computer to show others where you have been

    CCleaner, the basic free temporary files removal, is a good start
    But history in the multitude of logs; system files; and secret files still exist
    If you a really concerned about data on your Harddrive, here are the only two best options:
    1. wipe your Harddrive; approximately 4 to 7 wipes, using a powerful wiping program
    2. Physically destroy your Harddrive (preferred) As the best way to remove all traces of evidence on your computer

    By the way, this still does not remove online logs of your IP to pages you have viewed. Nor does it remove the logs from your ISP who have confirmed (a few years back) spying on your Internet habits

    This was a good question ;)
  4. markh

    markh TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi again, great stuff - many thanks to you all for replying. Can anyone tell me how to get access to these temp files / secret folders.

    I have tried booting to DOS with a NTFS boot disk to get access to my NTFS partition which I use for Internet access. However I could not find these secret folders.

    Any help is greatly appreciated,
  5. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Well number 1 is c:\Pagefile.sys

    But as for the rest, they're everywhere! Even in Registry
    I gave you the only 2 options above ;)

    By the way you need to "wipe" not delete, otherwise anyone can undelete your files
    Face it, you can not remove all traces.
  6. markh

    markh TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hopefully the last question on the subject. Why would microsoft want to retain all of this information - what you have searched for your emails etc?

  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    It was suppose to help the user
    Temp files act as cache, which allow faster access to opening files ie They are on your computer not the Internet
    Logs help diagnose issues that may happen and can be used as a history reference
    Registry entries allow reference as well, including back up of searched areas etc etc (this area is big)
    And hidden files allow others to diagnose symptoms that the user cannot normally remove

    It's all about backup; quicker response and diagnosis
    But all these things were improved over the years.
    Backup programs are now generally accepted as external
    Quicker Response is now available through faster computers
    Diagnosis can be made immediately without build up of history

    There was another area too.
    Poor optimization of written software
    MS trying to better improve their developments in Windows, from users activities

    But something even more stranger happened since the Internet and Windows users first started becoming a home and basically private area.
    Privacy itself was destroyed, and then basically re-written and re-defined

    It is now acceptable that private individuals provide all their personal information online. Including Age; Personal Interests; even Photos of themselves, and generally everything about themselves, that was once classed as "private", and certainly never allowed to go public.
    This happened through the digital technology, cameras, and the Internet and generally to help in safety of our children or even communities in sharing and legalizing and overseeing of activities (basically the Big Brother approach)

    At that initial stage (that all older people are fully aware of - sorry to patronize) The "children" basically grew up, conditioned to allowing "privacy" to be a thing that everyone can see. BUT many older individuals (and some younger with old fashioned ways, still in bred) know that this is not privacy. This is the accidental (and totally originally non-intentional) mistake, that we taught our children to speak openly (about themselves) and allow all their movements to be fully viewed to everyone, not just to the parents

    Not to worry, many older and more aware people thought. As safety in the community and sharing knowledge was still generally a benefit in many areas. But, just then it happened ! Something no one ever realized until it was too late.
    We had forgotten to teach our children what privacy meant, and now they were adults, and the original adults were quickly dieing off.

    Of the few originals left (ie me, and not many others left in the world) try to hold onto what "privacy" is still around (next to zero) And continue to avoid things like Messenger and hold the true meaning of what "privacy" once was, ie private.

    Therefore, your questions are generally not understood by most any longer, and even questioned as to why you would even want to remove this publicly accepted area. You are not alone in your confusion, but possibly now realize Windows and the Internet together with Privacy does not exist.
  8. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,335   +36

    kimlsland, you have taken us through on excellent trip through the internet and cyberspace! Yes, much has changed. I have still never come to terms with why a software makes needs to know my sex, age and sometimes income bracket in order to download their program!

    But the point is we are required to give information that was, at one time, personal and private. Never mind the kids on MySpace and Facebook who bare their virtual souls to the public!

    I have found logs scattered through my systems for features and functions I have disabled. I see documentation that someone from somewhere has tried to automatically update something on my system although I have the feature turned off.

    Mark, to you question of "Why would microsoft want to retain all of this information?"

    I can only answer- because they can.
  9. markh

    markh TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Many thanks for all your replies - very informative,

  10. dgower2

    dgower2 TS Maniac Posts: 238

    index.dat records all sites visited

    This is a little late, but index.dat wasn't mentioned here. index.dat records every (or almost every) web page ever visited. It can't be opened/read without an "index.dat viewer" program (free if you google it). You'll notice the option to delete index.dat with some popular cleaning applications - I think ccleaner has it.

    Search your C: drive for index.dat; several will result. Incidentally, they can simply be deleted without casuing any harm to your computer. You may have to close IE first though.
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