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Locate & Protect Sensitive Data on Your Computer with Identity Finder (Windows)

Individual Installation

Identity Finder is a program that locates sensitive data (e.g., Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers) on desktops, laptops, servers, and other media, helping you secure or remove this data.

Use these instructions to install UMass Amherst IT’s version of Identity Finder, customized especially for UMass Amherst. For more information on Identity Finder, check the program’s Help documentation or visit the Identity Finder Knowledge, Support, Documentation pages.

Obtain Identity Finder for University-Owned Computers

UMass Amherst IT's version of Identity Finder is available to faculty and staff at no cost from UMass Amherst IT (on-campus downloads only).

  1. Check with your department head or IT Administrator. The software may already be installed on your computer or your department may have plans to roll out Identity Finder to all departmental computers in the near future.
  2. If the software is not already installed on your machine and your department does not have plans to implement Identity Finder in the near future, download the installation files from our Identity Finder page (on-campus downloads only).

Download & Install Identity Finder

If applicable, check with your department's IT Administrator before installing software on your University-owned computer.

  1. Ensure that you have the latest version of anti-virus software installed, and your computer's operating system and software are up-to-date.
  2. Identity Finder is free to members of the UMass Community. On our Identity Finder page, under Downloads (upper right), click Identity Finder (Windows).
    Note: You will be prompted for your UMass Amherst IT Account NetID and password before downloading software.
  3. Download and run UMass Amherst IT’s Identity Finder installer. Once the download is complete, locate the installation file on your computer and double-click the Identity Finder installation file (ending in ".exe"). An installation window will open.
  4. Double-click the UMass Identity Finder Installation icon. Depending on your computer’s user account settings, you may be prompted for the Administrator's user name and password. Once the installation begins, follow the steps in the installation wizard.
    Note: If you do not have administrative access to your computer, contact your department's IT Administrator.

You are now ready to scan your computer for sensitive. See Run a Routine Identity Finder Scan, below, to learn how.

Run a Routine Identity Finder Scan

If your anti-virus software detects a virus while Identity Finder is scanning your University-owned computer, STOP. Do not attempt to remove the virus or shut down your computer. Because this may constitute a data security incident, contact your IT Administrator or the IT Help Center immediately.

  • UMass Amherst IT recommends that you scan your computer quarterly, but more frequent scans may be required by your department.
  • The scanning process may take several hours, depending on the amount of data stored on your computer. Your computer may be slow or unresponsive during this time. Please plan accordingly.
  • You may be required to notify your supervisor or IT Administrator once you've scanned your computer.
  • If computers in your department are centrally managed, your IT Administrator may schedule periodic scans for your computer(s).
  1. Disconnect your computer from any shared network drives (e.g., departmental file server).
  2. On your computer, go to Start > All Programs > Identity Finder (Windows).  Identity Finder will open.
  3. A New Identity Finder Profile window will open, asking you to enter and confirm a profile password. You cannot use Identity Finder without setting up a profile. Enter your desired password and click OK. See our Rules for Passwords document for help creating a strong password.
  4. In the Identity Finder window, click Start (at top, left) to begin scanning your computer. A status window will open, with a scan progress bar.
  5. Once your scan is complete, Identity Finder will display a list of files that may contain sensitive data. Click an item on the list to review the information flagged by Identity Finder (at right).
    Note: For more information on how to interpret Identity Finder results, see Interpret Identity Finder Results & Manage Sensitive Data.
  6. You can remove sensitive data using Identity Finder or let Identity Finder know when an item should not be categorized as sensitive. To perform one of these actions, select one or more entries from the list and click the appropriate button on the Identity Finder toolbar:
    • Shred: deletes files from your computer permanently and securely.
    • Ignore: flags files so they are not included in future scans.
    We do not recommend using:
    • The Shred option for email messages as this may affect the setup of your email account.
    • The Secure option for any files. Passwords created in Identity Finder cannot be recovered; you will lose access to any files secured in Identity Finder if you forget the password.
  7. Schedule a future scan. Use your preferred method for scheduling events (e.g., electronic calendar) to keep track of when to run your next Identity Finder scan.