How to Detect Monitoring on Your Computer

By Margaret Worthington

At some point, you may suspect your computer is being monitored, either by someone you know or by someone outside who may have gained access without permission. When you are being monitored, the person doing the monitoring or the programs they are using will leave traces. If you want to find out if someone is monitoring you on your computer, there are a few things you can do to detect monitoring software.

Reboot your computer and press the "F8" key button while it starts up to boot the computer into Safe Mode.

Click "Start," type "msconfig” (without quotes) into the Search field and press "Enter." Select the "Startup" tab and look for any entries you do not recognize from your list of known programs. Do not disable entries enabled by the Windows operating system.

Restart your computer normally. Click "Start," type “cmd” into the Search field and press "Enter." Inside the command prompt window, type “netstat” to view all current incoming and outgoing connections on your computer. Look for connections to strange websites or IP addresses you do not recognize.

Install a firewall and block any outgoing ports listed in the netstat report. Configure your firewall to alert you if any unknown outgoing connections are made.

Look in your system tray on the taskbar for any unknown icons or symbols. This can indicate that monitoring software has been installed.

Click the Windows "Start" button, select "Control Panel," choose "System and Security" and click Windows Firewall." Browse through the settings and find the list of all opened ports; check this list of ports and programs against your known program list.


When performing a netstat report, you can look up IP addresses using a reverse IP lookup utility, such as the one found at

If you believe that you have monitoring software installed, but are unable to detect it, you may need to reinstall your operating system to ensure you are not being monitored.

If you accidentally disable Windows default startup programs in the msconfig window, you can restart in Safe Mode and re-enable them.