What a drag

Skip this IP privacy tool for one that actually lets you surf the Web.

We should all know the dangers of browsing the Web without any protection. That's why it's best to take the proper precautions. One way to do that is to hide your IP address from prying eyes. Surf Anonymous Free offers a way to disguise your IP address while you browse. It worked as promised, though our browsing performance suffered, often with connections that timed out.

The program's user interface is basic and to the point. Your real IP address appears in the small window, and from there, you have two options: Hide IP and Select Fake Location. To test the program, we first went to a Web site that displays visitors' IP addresses. Sure enough, the site detected and displayed our true IP address. We then selected the Hide IP option, which replaced our real IP address with a fake one. We went back to the same Web site to see if it would display the fake IP address. Sure enough, it did. Unfortunately, we were unable to browse as usual with the fake IP. More often than not, our connections timed out. During our second round, we went to select the fake location option, only to find out it's not available in the free version. You won't find any kind of help feature with this program, but it's really not necessary.

Surf Anonymous Free installs an Ask.com toolbar in IE without your permission, and we had a heck of a time trying to uninstall it because it said we had to close our Firefox window, which wasn't open in the first place. Overall, while we were pleased with its IP-disguising abilities, its drag on our browsing performance and unauthorized installations keep us from recommending it as a viable surfing companion.

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