Post your PC's specs online with CheckMySpecs

Avoid this freeware PC spec-checker's "easy" online sharing.

CheckMySpecs is a free utility that scans your PC, posts its specifications online, and ranks it, letting you compare your machine to other users' PCs. The software claims it doesn't collect or post any personal data, but it does display your PC's name and all your running programs as well as a lot of information about your installed apps, Internet connection, and whether you're using a firewall. If that's not alarming enough, you're basically given no chance to review the data or decide if you want to post it online; as soon as you click Share My Specs, they're posted on the company's Web site. Topping it off, there's no way to remove your data; according to the Terms of Use, it belongs to the site's owners to use and publish as they see fit. Get the picture?

CheckMySpecs is indeed very easy use: Clicking one button labeled Collect the Data populated a compact interface tabbed with fields for Basic Data, CPU Information, Graphics, Currently Running, Installed Applications, and Misc Data. Once the fields are filled, you can click a button to share the data. With great trepidation, we pressed this button, expecting to see a page that let us review the data and decide Yea or Nay to post it, like nearly every other Web site that involves posting data collected on you or your PC. And our concerns were justified because the next thing we saw was our data posted on the Internet, with a unique ID that we could use to retrieve the stats or share them with others. CheckMySpecs' opaque app also caused an unhandled exception when we ran it again: Not an encouraging sign.

Many PC enthusiasts like to post and share the performance and hardware on the many public forums dedicated to the topic. It's not difficult to do, especially if you have a geekish or tweakish background. CheckMySpecs makes it entirely too easy. Some opt-in and opt-out choices, firmer security assurances, and the ability to exclude some data might help. Until then, check your specs at the door, and use CheckMySpecs at your own risk.

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