'P2P', as it is sometimes known, is a file sharing protocol allowing Internet users to download files from another computer using programs such as Kazaa, Limewire, Bearshare, and WinMX. Even Chat programs such as mIRC, MSN/Yahoo Messenger, and ICQ are capable of file-transfering.
Symptoms of Problems
- slow Internet performance
- error messages that suggest your computer has “low memory”
- increased virus attacks
- The best solution is to refrain from using file-sharing programs. If that’s not an option for you, use these programs as sparingly as possible, and be sure to close them as soon as you’re finished. You can also disable file-sharing so people won't be able to download files from your computer.
- Always scan files for viruses.
- If you see small icons or anything running by your system “Date and Time” bar (usually located in the bottom right-hand corner of operating systems) that is related to these P2P programs, simply right click the icon and choose “EXIT/SHUTDOWN/TURN OFF” to remove it from running in the background and eating up system resources. If they return after you’ve rebooted your computer, it means that they are loading at system star-up and should be removed from your Startup folder (click on the Start button in the left-hand corner, then select “(All)Programs” and remove the program from your Startup folder).
- Buy your music and movies from legitimate sources, don’t download them using P2P or file sharing services (the artists and your computer will thank you).
- Don't install programs unless you know how they work.
- Keep a constant eye on your “Date/Time” bar, as sneaky P2P programs inhabit this spot and really should never be seen unless you are indeed using them at the time.