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Hide Installed Software?


TuX^
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Hi guys,

One of my users at work has Spotify installed on their computer (Which they shouldn't)

However, when I go to pull up a list of installed software from either LanSweeper or WMIC, it isn't listed!

Does anyone know of a way to hide the software from Add/Remove Programs etc?

I know it's there because I take random screenshots and it is showing in the taskbar as running..

Any help would be appreciated,

TuX^

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Caution:

Before attempting this, ensure you have a backup of the registry.

How to:

Read the steps laid out in this article, I have tried it on my PC and they work.

http://www.winhelponline.com/articles/15/1/How-to-hide-an-entry-in-the-AddRemove-Programs-applet.html

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Hi Infiltrator,

I have remotely searched through his registry but still found nothing, can't find anything to do with Spotify anywhere but somehow it's still there!

Thanks anyway,

TuX^

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Have you tried performing a manual search, like using the Windows search mechanism to locate the installation files?

Edit: Another thing you could also try, is to use Microsoft procexp.exe to locate the file location, while its still running.

Edited by Infiltrator
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Weird..

I've searched his computer using Windows Search and found a Spotify application in his AppData folder, double clicked and it ran on my computer.. However, there is also a Spotify Setup application there.

I think I'm just going to ask him why he has it installed and react accordingly, he could have a genuine business reason to install it. If not then I'll block it via Group Policy instead of relying on the users not to use it.

Cheers for the help.

TuX^

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The bigger question is 1, why are you taking screenshots of the guys desktop while he is working, 2, is there any laws where you are with respect to this sort of snooping, 3, you should have some sort of policy in place to tell employees what is and isn't acceptable, and set up a script to return a list of all installed software for each user that your company can audit. This limits having to spy on them with screenshots, which might be against the law in some places, where as a company policy for software security audits would be totally legal and within right to reprimand or even fire employees who have put the company at risk for 3rd party software. Whatever you do going forward, know what your legal ground is before telling the guy, "Hey, I was spying on your computer and taking screenshots of what you were doing". If he had a website up and was in his bank account and you were looking at this data, it might be a breach of privacy and in some places wirefraud/wiretapping.

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Digip, I see where you are coming from. However, we work in an open plan office, so anything that can be seen with a screenshot, can also be seen by simply walking past him..

We have policy in place which states that if programmers are installing software that is not linked to Development (Our company designs software) then they must ask IT, aka, me and my boss.

Also, I have also used LanSweeper to create a list of installed software and sent that to my manager to check what is and isn't allowed to be installed.

Hope this is of some help.

TuX^

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We have policy in place which states that if programmers are installing software that is not linked to Development (Our company designs software) then they must ask IT, aka, me and my boss.

I think that is the important part. The fact that you have a policy in place and employees are aware of it, that if they did not get permission to install 3rd party software, then disciplinary actions are within the companies rights. Just not sure Spotify poses a danger to the company though, or how it could interfere with productivity. In my case, I think I would get more done with music going, vs not having it, but that doesn't mean I should install it without permission from management. Although, I am my own boss, so "I'll allow it" as Mills Lane would say :)

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Programs been listed in add/remove programs is optional, and a convince but not mandatory. You should not be expecting every thing to show up there. Numerous applications are able to deal with not been 'installed' (this concept only exists because applications consist of files that must be situated just so, but that doesn't mean they actually have to tell the operating system they exist) as an administrator, in such cases the application will put it's self in the users home directory and run from there. To the user it works perfectly, but it is only available to them (arguably not installed at all, depending on the definition you wish to use).

As much as this is a side note and a personal one at that, it saddens me to see a system admin doesn't know this, particularly one who has the task of snooping on peoples computers. It just winds me up no end that this has eluded you. Apologies if this causes any offense, but truth be told, you aren't doing your job properly (in my opinion at least). What I would do if I was one of the people who worked at your company would clone my machine into a VM, then take over the real computer, not necessarily because I would then do things that I shouldn't, but be cause I can, to show that all the money and time spent on this is pointless and stupid.

What I would do is review your policies definition of 'Installed' before any thing else. Then figure out if the policy has been broken.

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That did offend me a little bit, to be honest. I'm only 18, only been in the job the matter of a month so obviously I haven't got an awful lot of experience..

Apologies for sounding stupid but christ, give me a break!

TuX^

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That did offend me a little bit, to be honest. I'm only 18, only been in the job the matter of a month so obviously I haven't got an awful lot of experience..

Apologies for sounding stupid but christ, give me a break!

TuX^

Sounds like you've been thrown in at the deep end a bit. Apologies for been so direct about it :).

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Well this is a great place to get a dose of reality! Is it possible he has it installed spotify to a USB drive? That would explain why you can't find it anywhere on the box. If I were this noob (your coworker, not you tux :) ) I would just run spotify off my phone. I get what I want (music to code to, lots of programmers like this) and you get a clean company owned computer. Perhaps suggest that to him?

One programmer friend of mine watches movies while he codes...it took a bit of time to get the management on board with this, but hes just more productive when he can glance over to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and giggle every 20 minutes or so, then get back to programming. Its weird, but programmers are weird. And they make this whole thing possible (computers, the internet, your company, your job). If hes a good programmer, I'd implore you and your boss to work with him to find a suitable compromise that leaves both of you satisfied.

telot

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The problem being that we have a 6 meg internet connection at work, and already are managing to max that out..

One user using Spotify isn't such a problem (other than the fact that he has disregarded our policy) but if he's allowed to do it, then surely the rest of them should be allowed? By which point we will kill our internet connection.

TuX^

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The problem being that we have a 6 meg internet connection at work, and already are managing to max that out..

One user using Spotify isn't such a problem (other than the fact that he has disregarded our policy) but if he's allowed to do it, then surely the rest of them should be allowed? By which point we will kill our internet connection.

TuX^

Sorry, I didn't adequately specify. What I meant was that your coworker could stream spotify to his phone (with headphones plugged in or whatever) via his phones 3g data connection. That way theres nothing on your work owned computer and no spotify eating up your company owned bandwidth.

telot

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  • 1 year later...

I have a Spiceworks Server installed on my network which will list all installed software on all machines. It has a lot of other awesome features too, ie; give me faults on any printers, backup capabilities for switches/routers, I can even push out a router config to one of my branches. It's worth taking a look at.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 9 months later...

The other thing maybe not asked, skimming over this old thread, possibly was the person using RDP into their home machine, or using a VM, or, for sake of argument, screen shotting and looking at the wrong workstation.

Note: I don't use spotify, but isn't it also web based/flash? Maybe thats another reason its not seen installed?

Edited by digip
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You could unofficially copy across the software from a computer where the software is installed on, and use that on the computer. There may be some compatibility issues and .dll files may be missing. I recommend personally using a portable application creator like Cameyo. On a computer that you have never installed Spotify on, start cameyo up before you install the application. It will create an image of your PC and you will be able to install the application with cameyo capturing all of the registry files, .dll's and more from the pc. This will then give you the option to run it without a trace or installing applications. A sneaky way to get around those log files, and a great way for exploiting systems. Let me know how you go!

Edited by MB60893
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