Web Surfer Watcher is a software program for Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP/Vista (does not work on NT computers) that records what Web sites have been viewed on your computer. Web Surfer Watcher operates hidden in the background, recording Web site titles and URLs (addresses) of Web sites viewed using Internet Explorer or America Online. It can only record the titles of Web sites viewed with other Web browsers, such as Netscape, Opera, or Mozilla. You can configure Web Surfer Watcher to either record this limited information form these browsers, or block these browsers from running to force people to use Internet Explorer or America Online.
When you run the viewer, you will see a list of the titles of Web sites that have been visited. The list displays the Web site titles. You can click on any title on the list to see the URL of the site, and also when the site was viewed. You can then click on the View Web Site button to actually see the Web site if you like.
Installing Web Surfer Watcher
If you have multiple users on your computer, the Web Surfer Watcher install program will detect these and ask you which ones you want to monitor. Put a check mark in the box beside each user you want to monitor, then click on the Ok button. If you have only one user account on the computer, the install program will not ask this question.
The install program will put an icon for the Web Surfer Watcher control program on the desktop of the user that installs Web Surfer Watcher. This icon runs the program that views the reports on what sites were viewed. (This has nothing to do with the program that actually monitors and records the sites.) Be sure to run the install program from a user account that you want to have control of Web Surfer Watcher.
Initializing Web Surfer Watcher
When you first run Web Surfer Watcher, it will ask you to set an administrator password and then a Supervisor password. The supervisor password is required to run the program and to purge the record of viewed sites. The administrator password is required to change the configuration settings of Web Surfer Watcher. It is also required to uninstall Web Surfer Watcher. Any time the program asks for the supervisor password (such as when you run the program), the higher level Administrator password can be used in place of the supervisor password. Note: Passwords are case sensitive. This means, for example, that "Good" is not the same as "good" or "GOOD". Be sure to remember the EXACT password you set, including capitalization.
As soon as you have set the administrator password and the supervisor password, you will see the main screen for the program. One thing you might want to do is click on the Configure menu and then the Properties submenu. Although most people would want to accept the default settings, you might want to change these, especially if you are installing Web Surfer Watcher on several computers on a network.
Registering Web Surfer Watcher
From the time you first run Web Surfer Watcher, you have a 30-day trial period to evaluate it. During that time, Web Surfer Watcher will be fully functional. If you decide you like Web Surfer Watcher, you should register and pay for it. At the end of the trial period, if you do not pay for Web Surfer Watcher and input the unlock code you receive, Web Surfer Watcher will cease to function. It will stop recording Web sites visited, and most functions of Web Surfer Watcher (such as displaying a list of sites viewed) will be disabled. These will be reactivated when you input the unlock code. The price of Web Surfer Watcher is $20.
There are several ways to pay for Web Surfer Watcher. The easiest way to register a single copy is to go to the LeithauserResearch.com site. From there, you can go to the payment page (links are in the third paragraph on the home page). Scroll down the page to the place where Web Surfer Watcher is listed. Input the serial number that appears on the registration screen for Web Surfer Watcher (the screen that asks you to register and input your unlock code) and then click on the "PayPal buy now" button. You will be sent the unlock code by email. You will normally receive this code within a day, although it may take a little longer under unusual circumstances (Internet problems, etc.).
You can also pay for Web Surfer Watcher by clicking on the Print button on the Registration window to print a form. You can then mail this form to the address given on the form or fax it to the fax number given on the form. You can pay by enclosing a check or money order or by filling out the credit card information on the form. You can also pay by phone using your credit card. The number to call is 386-738-0418.
Volume discounts are available. Call 386-738-0418 or send an email to Leithauser@aol.com with information on how many copies you want to license for a price quote.
In order to get to the main screen when you first run Web Surfer Watcher, you need to input a password. This can be either the Administrator or Supervisor password. Note: Passwords are case sensitive. This means, for example, that "Good" is not the same as "good" or "GOOD". Be sure to input the EXACT password, including capitalization.
The main screen of Web Surfer Watcher shows a list of the titles of sites that were visited. This list normally shows all the Web site titles. However, you have the option to search the site titles for a particular word, such as "sex" or "casino" to limit the list if there are too many sites to comfortably check. To conduct a search, click on the "Selected" button. A text box and a "Search" button will appear. Input the word or phrase you wish to search for. The list of site titles displayed will then be limited to the sites that have that word in either the tile or the URL. For example, if you input "casino" as the search word, the sites with the title "Fun Casinos" or the URL www.hotcasinoaction.com will be displayed on the list. This search is case-insensitive. This means that capitalization does not matter, and a search for, for example, "SEX" or "sex" or "Sex" would all find sites titles "Hot Sex" or "SEXY babes" or with the URL www.getsex.com.
If you click on any site title in the list, the time that this site was viewed will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. If the site was viewed with Internet Explorer or AOL, the URL of the site will also be displayed. If the site was viewed using most other browsers, such as Netscape, Web Surfer Watcher is not able to determine the URL of the site. In this case, the name of the browser will be displayed instead of the URL of the site.
If the URL of the site is displayed, a button labeled "View Site" will be visible. Clicking on this button will display a window that shows the site. You must have an Internet connection to do this, because Web Surfer Watcher is actually getting on the Internet and finding the site. Because this display window is designed to allow you to view sites that were previously viewed, it is not designed to be a fully functional browser. For example, it does not have navigational buttons (forward, back, etc.). You will, however, be able to click on links within the page to go to other pages. The URL of the site being viewed is displayed at the top of the screen, and a Close button at the bottom of the screen will take you back to the main Web Surfer Watcher window.
There are menus at the top of the main screen. These are explained below:
The Configure menu has three submenus. These are:
Properties - There are two properties for Web Surfer Watcher that you can set. The properties are:
1) Save Report File As - This property sets the location and name of the Report file containing the sites that were viewed. Normally, you should simply accept the default, which would store the file on the computer that Web Surfer Watcher is installed on. The only reason you would want to change this would be if you installed Web Surfer Watcher on several computers that were connected on a network. If this is the case, you could set the report file to be stored on another computer. You would have Web Surfer Watcher store all the report files in one folder, probably on the network server. You would also give each report file a different name. For example, when you installed Web Surfer Watcher on a computer used by John Smith, you could have it save the Report file as "G:\Security\JohnSmith", where G is the server drive as seen from John Smith's computer. On another computer, you could install Web Surfer Watcher and have it save the Report file as "G:\Security\FredJones", and so on. This will be explained at greater length later in this document. Note: Another reason to change the report file location is that Web Surfer watcher cannot save reports in the default file on some computers if the user being monitored has restricted access (they cannot save files in certain folders). If you wish to monitor a user who has such restrictions, you must set the report file to be saved in a folder that the user has access to.
2) Handle third party browsers by - Web Surfer Watcher can only determine the URL of Web sites viewed using Internet Express or AOL. On other browsers, Web Surfer Watcher can only determine the Web site title. If you want to allow users to view Web sites using other browsers and settle for this limited information, use the default setting, "Report". This will report the titles of Web sites visited using Netscape, etc. If it is important to you to be able to see the URL of all sites that were viewed (which would allow you to actually view the sites if you want), you can set Web Surfer Watcher to prevent people form using Netscape and other browsers on the computer. This would force them to use Internet Explorer or AOL, allowing you to track their Web browsing completely.
To make the changes, click on the desired radio buttons and then on the Ok button. To exit without making any changes, click on the Cancel button.
Other options under the Configure menu are to set the Administrator and Supervisor passwords. In order to change the Administrator password, you must first input the current Administrator password. In order to change the Supervisor password, you must first input either the Supervisor or Administrator password. Note: Passwords are case sensitive. This means, for example, that "Good" is not the same as "good" or "GOOD". Be sure to remember the EXACT password you set, including capitalization.
There are several options under the Files menu. These are:
Select Report File to View - This menu option under Files is only visible if you have one copy of Web Surfer Watcher monitoring several computers on a network. This is explained in the section below on how to use Web Surfer Watcher on a network. See "Using Web Surfer Watcher on a network" below for more information.
Purge Recorded Site - This option erases the list of sites that have been visited. You would do this if the list has gotten very long and you want to start fresh. You would probably do this after looking over sites that had been viewed and finding nothing objectionable. To use this option, you must input the Supervisor or Administrator password. Note: Passwords are case sensitive. This means, for example, that "Good" is not the same as "good" or "GOOD". Be sure to input the EXACT password, including capitalization.
Refresh List - When you run Web Surfer Watcher or change the Report File (see below), Web Surfer Watcher loads the list of Web sites that have been viewed. This list is not automatically updated as sites are viewed. Normally, this would not be a problem, since you would not usually be viewing sites on the same computer as you are viewing the site list. However, if you are using Web Surfer Watcher on a network to monitor what sites are being viewed on other computers, you can use this option to refresh the list of sites being viewed on the other computers. See "Using Web Surfer Watcher on a network" below for more information.
Copy Report to Clipboard - This option saves the current information (time/date, Web site title, and Web site URL) to a file named Report.txt in the C:\WebSurferWatcher folder. Then you can open this file with any word processor (even WordPad if you have no other). You can even load the data as a text file into a spreadsheet program.
Uninstall Web Surfer Watcher - This completely removes Web Surfer Watcher from your computer, including the recording component. It requires the Administrator password. It will also ask you a few times if you are sure you really want to do this.
Using Web Surfer Watcher on a network
In a business environment, you might want to install Web Surfer Watcher on many computers in a network and monitor Web activity from one computer. You can install Web Surfer Watcher on many computers in a network and then check the records from one station.
To do this, select a folder on one computer in your network (usually the server) that is accessible to all the others. You will use that folder to store the report files in. You might want to great a special folder just for this purpose, or use an existing one.
Install Web Surfer Watcher on each computer you want to monitor separately. Under the Configure/Properties option, set the "Save Report File As" option to "User Defined." Input the file path and file name for the Report File to the desired folder and file name. For example, if the desired folder appears as "G:\Info" on Fred Jones's computer, you might set the Report file to "G:\Info\FredJones". Select a name for the file that will indicate which computer the file refers to. Do not include an extension, because Web Surfer Watcher will provide its own. Note: You might want to conceal the fact that Web Surfer Watcher is installed on the individual computer. See the "Hiding Web Surfer Watcher" section below for tips on this.
Once you have installed Web Surfer Watcher on each computer you want to monitor, you need to install it on the computer you want to monitor the other computers from. Set the Report File Folder to the same folder you set the others to, even if you are not interested in recording Web activity on that computer. You need to do this to view the Report Files from that computer.
Once you have set up the computers this way, when you run the Web Surfer Watcher viewer program, the Files menu will include an option to Select Report File to View. The default when Web Surfer Watcher first runs is always the Report File for the computer you are on. However, selecting this option under the Files menu will bring up a list of Report Files. Select the one you want to view from the list and click on the Ok button. If you are viewing a user defined report file, the name of the file will show on the main screen above the list of viewed sites to help you keep track of which file you are viewing.
Resizing Web Padlock
You can minimize or maximize the Web Padlock screen using the minimize and maximize buttons in the upper right corner of the screen. When the screen is in normal mode (neither minimized nor maximized), you can change the size of the screen by dragging the lower right corner of the screen with the mouse. To do this, position the mouse cursor at the lower right corner of the screen until the cursor turns into an arrow with two heads, pointing in a diagonal direction. Then hold down the left mouse button and move the mouse cursor to resize the Web Padlock screen.
Hiding Web Surfer Watcher
You might want to conceal the fact that Web Surfer Watcher is monitoring Web activity if you are hoping to catch someone in the act. The most obvious indication that Web Surfer Watcher is installed on a computer is the Web Surfer Watcher icon on the desktop. If your computer has multiple users, this icon will only appear on the desktop of the user who was logged on when you installed Web Surfer Watcher. For example, if a parent logs on and installs Web Surfer Watcher using their account, the icon will not appear on the children's desktop when they run their account. However, if you have only one account or the monitored person might see the desktop of the other user, you can remove this by simply dragging it to the recycle bin, then running the Recycle bin program and emptying the bin. If you want to run the Web Surfer Watcher viewer on that computer after you have done this, you will need to run Windows Explorer or My Computer. Open the C:\Program Files\SWIS folder and double-click on the WSW.EXE or right click in the icon and then left click on Open in the menu that drops down.
If you no longer want to run the viewer at all from a computer, you can remove the entire C:\Program Files\SWIS folder. This will not disable the recording of Web sites, only the viewing of the viewed sites list. You would only do this on a networked computer, where you are storing the list from another computer. Caution: You must register Web Surfer Watcher on each computer before you do this, since you need the Web Surfer Watcher viewer to register Web Surfer Watcher on that computer. Also, if you ever want to uninstall Web Surfer Watcher from that computer, you would need to go through the install process again to get back the Web Surfer Watcher viewer so you can use "Uninstall WSW" from the Files menu.
Bug reports, help requests, suggestions
If you need help with this program, have found a bug, or have a request for additional feature, please contact Leithauser Research. The best way is to send an email to Leithauser@aol.com. You can also call Leithauser Research at 386-738-0418 .
If you are suggesting an additional feature or other improvement, we will make these changes and release a new version soon if we believe these improvements would have broad appeal. You will be notified when the new version is released. If we feel that the changes you suggest are not commercially viable, we can still create a custom version of Program Sentry for you for a fee. Contact Leithauser Research if you are interested in this.
Return to Web Surfer Watcher
Go to Leithauser Research home page
Go to Computer Security page