May 2004 Newsletter

Special Report: The FTC Spyware Workshop
Continued Attacks Against Anti-Spyware Sites
Inadequate Disclosure by Claria/Gator and WhenU
Where’s Your Newsletter?
Solve Your PC Problems At The Pit

Gator Alternatives

Are you using a Gator or GAIN-supported application and would like to keep its functionality but dump the popup ads, excessive memory use, and data collection? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve researched a collection of free or low-cost programs that are superior to Gator’s. For each Gator application below, you’ll see our picks for programs that offer similar functionality.

PC Pitstop Research Methodology

Our mission at PC Pitstop is simple: help people make their PCs faster, more stable and more secure. PC Pitstop runs diagnostics on users’ PCs to identify things that might help improve performance. The process is fully automated, private and safe.

Our Position

PC Pitstop is speaking out against Gator and similar products because we believe that most users do not benefit by having them installed. This is consistent with the basic tenets that drive both our business philosophy and the advice that we give to users.

Overture and Gator

Several companies that have contacted PC Pitstop are puzzled how they could be associated with Gator when they honestly don’t believe their company does business with Gator Corporation. Our first thought was that there was simply someone else in the organization responsible for advertising through the Gator Advertising Information Network (GAIN), or perhaps that a third-party ad agency they hired was responsible for placing Gator advertising. (For example, adware has caused concern for companies such as Toyota.) However, we have found another way that many companies may unwittingly be advertising on Gator through its partnership with Overture and the Search Scout feature.

Gator’s Lawsuit

So why is there a Gator Information Center anyway? Why did we single out Gator for a special section? In a way, you could say that Gator almost demanded that we single them out because they didn’t like the group they were in.

The Economics of Gator

A recent article estimated that Gator made $100M in revenue in 2002. That’s a lot of dough. And it got me wondering, how one goes about making $100M in a year. Here’s my back of the napkin math.

The Evils of Unwanted Software

There is a war going on out there. As you are reading this, the forces of good and evil are at work battling to control your computer. This is not a joke nor an exaggeration. It is happening every day, and at times, I think the bad guys are winning. I’m talking about unwanted software. Software that installs itself largely without the user’s knowledge. The makers of these softwares are going to great lengths to gain control of your PC to further their own causes. Following are three different and distinct examples:

March 2004 Newsletter

Spyware Wars
Tip: Emergency Access To PC Pitstop
Another Smoking Gun
PhatBot Lets Spammers Own Your PC
Comcast Yanks the Plug On Infected Customers
Will Legislation Stop Spyware and Spam?
Tip: System Security Checklist
Solve Your PC Problems At The Pit

February 2004 Newsletter

Test your computer on PC Pitstop’s New Servers
Our Gator Center Reveals the Truth
A Real Big Warning About Unreal Sites!
Tip: Curb System Restore’s Disk Appetite
Dave Methvin Gets a New Writing Gig
Tip: Another Line of Spyware Defense
Free Computer Help At The Pit

Why Defragment Your Hard Drive?

When you first loaded files onto your new hard disk, they weren’t fragmented. Each whole file followed the last in consecutive disk clusters, lowest to highest. Your disk performance was never better.

When you began using those files — changing them, adding and deleting records and files — they were broken into smaller and smaller pieces scattered around the disk. That’s because your system writes each new record into the first empty slot it finds on the disk, even if it’s nowhere near the rest of the file.


I‘ve been in the PC business a long time. I would almost have to call myself a veteran at this point having worked at Texas Instruments (remember the TIPC?), Gateway Computers, and now PC Pitstop. In reflecting back, I am amazed at how far the PC has come, and more importantly the impact it has had on our lives.

October 2003 Newsletter

Social Engineering Viruses Running Rampant
Keep Windows Fully Patched
The Real Microsoft Security Newsletter
Security Tip: Toss Viruses in the Trash Automatically
SoBig Virus Actually a Spamming Engine
Stay In Touch At The Pit

Fix any PC Problem

Hello out there everyone in PC Land! At PC Pitstop, we are at your service to keep your PC running as fast and reliably as possible. Whether you have a brand new XP machine, or you’re trying to squeeze the last out of a trustly old war horse, there is something here at PC Pitstop to suit your needs.

Anti Spyware Blues

If you’ve seen our previous coverage of spyware, you already know how untrustworthy the purveyors of this nefarious software can be — and how much of a danger malicious programs can pose to your PC. But waking up to the threats and resolving to protect yourself against them isn’t enough. You still have to keep your guard up, because even when it comes to anti-spyware software, there are companies that will try to take advantage of you. All over the Web you can find phony and ineffective anti-spyware products, suspect anti-spyware review sites, and misleading advertisements — including ads for suspect products that show up on sites you might otherwise trust.

July 2003 Newsletter

Security Alert: What’s Running When You Power Up?
Updated Disk Health Now Provides Detailed Analysis
Anti-Spam Tip: Eliminate Annoying Messenger Popups
Spyware and Adware Gets Court’s Blessing
Expert Tip: Make Windows Tell You Everything
PC Pitstop Cures Cancer and Finds Alien Life
Performance Tip: Max Out Your Disk Speed

May 2003 Newsletter

Is spyware crippling your system?
Performance Tweak: Eliminate XP eye candy
Performance Tweak: defrag early, defrag often
Troubleshooting: Fix PC problems remotely
Product recall: Flaming IBM monitors