I am learning to deal with spam, but it is not much fun. I am testing several things and gradually coming up with a strategy I hope will work. I also have a better way to deal with unwanted popup menus. What bothers me now is that I am told there are programs called 'spyware' or 'adware' that can change the home page of the browser and even redirect you to sites of its choosing. I do not like the sound of this and wonder what is out there that can help protect me. It seems we manage to contain one problem only for another to jump up and bite us where it hurts the most. Name and address supplied This is one of Tech Talk's most frequently asked questions. Sadly, nothing that is done with computers is likely to remain fixed forever. People who understand security admit that statements about 'total security', for the most part, are wrong. This is not what customers want to hear, of course, so people like Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison create marketing campaigns that embarrass the engineers. (Oracle started a campaign a while ago called 'Unbreakable', intending to convey to its customers that nobody could break into an Oracle database or system. It got mixed reviews.) Some systems - Oracle's may be one - are perhaps better at keeping the villains out than others, but we all know that the most popular desktop system in the world, Microsoft's Windows, is the most vulnerable. So, we must look to third-party solutions. The most common spyware scanner is Lavasoft's Adaware, which we have mentioned several times in the past. It can be found at www.lavasoft.de . A freeware program called HijackThis comes highly recommended for its ability to protect your system against 'spyware', or software that tries to work out what you are looking at and then changes things. HijackThis looks at the registry and parts of the hard disk, and lists the contents. What it shows are things that both legitimate programs and hijacker programs have access to. It gives you the chance to delete what you want, which can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. So, it is necessary for you to keep up with what is going on and that will means looking at a forum or two. The bad part about this is that it wastes even more time. However, that may be the price one has to pay. HijackThis can be found at mjc1.com/mirror/hjt. Spybot Search and Destroy from PepiMK Software is another program that will search your hard disk for spybots and adbots and, unlike HijackThis, it will keep a list of sites that try to invade your system. Spybot will also remove your usage tracks such as the last visited websites and cookies. You can download it from www.safer-networking.org . If you do a search for 'spybot' on any download site, you will find lots of solutions, most of them free. This could make life more difficult if you do not know which one to try. Most of these sites publish users' comments, which can be useful. You must be careful not to download a program that will enable you kill important files by mistake. If you are a novice and the software is for experienced users, you would do well to leave it alone. Questions to Tech Talk will not be answered personally. E-mail Danyll Wills at email@example.com .