How to disable SurfWatch

These instructions will not work with SurfWatch for the Macintosh, or with the proxy server version of SurfWatch. To make sure your computer has SurfWatch installed on it, see our page about how to determine which blocking software is installed on your computer.

Recommended method (see also a list of alternate methods):
Download SurfKey and run it on any Windows machine where SurfWatch is installed. SurfKey can permanently uninstall SurfWatch without knowing the SurfWatch password.

Alternate method Follow these instructions to permanently un-install SurfWatch from your machine:

  1. Remove the shortcuts to "SurfWatch" (and possibly "SurfWatch Updater") from the StartUp folder.
  2. Open the win.ini file and replace the line
          load= C:\CO_RO_NT\surfctl.exe
    with just
  3. Run regedit.exe to edit the Windows 95 Registry and delete the key "GraphicsFilter", which is a subkey of
    The value of this key will be "C:\CO_RO_NT\surfctl.exe". Delete it before continuing.
  4. Restart the computer in DOS mode. Move to the c:\windows\system\ directory and type:
          attrib -h -r -s system.drv
          attrib -h -r -s net.drv
          move system.drv system.bak
          move net.drv system.drv
  5. Type "win" to start Windows again. If it tells you "Windows is still running one or more MS-DOS based programs..." try typing "exit".
SurfWatch will now be disabled on your computer. Reverse all of the steps above to re-enable it.