In my view WinPatrol does not need any introduction. This 834Kb of software is a little wonder. Following are the features as per the developer: Increase Your Speed & System Performance. Detect & Neutralize Spyware. Detect & Neutralize ADware. Detect & Neutralize Viral infections. Detect & Neutralize Unwanted IE Add-Ons. Detect & Restore File Type Changes Automatically Filter Unwanted Cookies. Avoid Start Page Hijacking. Detect HOSTS file changes. Kill Multiple Tasks that replicate each other, in a single step. Stop programs that repeatedly add themselves to your Startup List. Delete and Remove the most Stubborn Infections…
WinPatrol is not security software, not an Anti-virus or spyware/malware removal software. But it is a very unique utility which rather protects your system from worms, Trojan, cookies, adware and spyware.
WinPatrol comes in two versions: Free and Plus. The Plus version costs $29.95 and comes with lifetime update. Use the link below to see the differences between the two versions:
Occasionally Bill (the developer) runs an “experiment” wherein he sells the software for just 99cents. His latest “experiment” was on April 16th 2012.
Apart from Free and Plus versions there is a third version by the name of WinPatrolToGo. It is a single exe portable version of WinPatrol which is designed to run from a USB. Check link below to see how the ToGo version compares with Free and Plus versions:
Grab ToGo from the link below:
Now let us look into a few sections of WinPatrol and give some room to Scotty.
1. Startup Programs
Windows startup is bonded with a heap of software’s loading which not only cause slow loading of OS, but also some nasty cause software’s such as Trojans, worms, spyware or adware may put themselves on the startup list. The Plus version allows real-time monitoring of the startup list. Any changes (if made) to the existing list are caught by Scotty. It lets you decide whether to allow or not adding the entry to the startup list.
WinPatrol displays a lot more information on the startup programs, as compared to the default windows MSConfig. The checkbox “Include Secret Startup Locations” when checked shows more programs- almost all from the otherwise not shown from Microsoft.
You could disable, enable, add, and remove programs from startup. The PLUS users have an advantage of real-time monitoring of Startup programs.
Below is an example of Sandboxie’s SBIECTRL.EXE startup entry information:
2. Delayed Start
This option allows you to specify the time to wait before the startup program is loaded. Delaying some programs to start as soon as OS is loaded reduces the boot time, hence a faster OS boot.
You could either delay the programs from Startup Programs tab, or add them from the Delayed Start tab. However, WinPatrol will not allow delaying any Microsoft Startup Programs as it considers all of them as Internal Windows Startup Programs.
3. IE Helpers
This section includes any BHO and/or add-ons. For any new BHO or Toolbar Add-On installation Scotty would alert you. PLUS members can click the PLUS Info button to search the online WinPatrol cloud database for more information on the specific IE Helper selected.
You could remove entries from this section using the Remove button.
4. Scheduled Tasks Monitor
It shows the tasks as also seen from Control Panel. However, Scotty keeps an eye on the tasks and makes sure that no new programs/tasks are scheduled to run without your knowledge.
WinPatrol lists the existing ActiveX controls used by Internet Explorer browser. Checking the box “list all…” will display all the ActiveX present. You could get more information about the selected ActiveX by using the Info button. Additionally, the PLUS Info option provides more details from the cloud database.
Other options provided are to disable an ActiveX and also list non-Microsoft controls only.
6. Registry Monitoring
This is a very useful feature of WinPatrol. Windows Registry is very crucial for proper running of OS. Any malicious changes to registry could lead to Windows corruption. Using WinPatrol you could monitor the below (default added) registry locations. You could also add/remove a registry location to monitor, as well as get more information on an entry using the Suggestions button.
7. Cookies, File Types
WinPatrol allows viewing/deleting cookies from IE, Mozilla and Chrome browsers. The Monitor button allows you to configure how frequently Scotty checks your web browser(s) for newly added cookies.
WinPatrol monitors the system registered file types and alerts you if case of any changes. Some malicious software’s and scare wares may remove the association for say .exe files, thereby preventing you to run anti-virus. I have faced this trouble recently. You could get more information about the selected file type by using the Info button. Additionally, the PLUS Info option provides more details from the cloud database.
8. Active Tasks
This section lists the running tasks on your system. You could get more information about the selected task by using the Info button. Additionally, the PLUS Info option provides more details from the cloud database.
The Kill Task option could be used to stop the program in memory. In case if you want to completely delete a task you could go for “Delete File on Reboot” option. This is very useful in removing some stubborn, malicious and camouflage tasks.
This section shows you all the services set on your system. It also provides an option to List non-Microsoft Services only. Using the Info button you could get more information about the selected service, as well as start/stop and set the startup type for the service. The PLUS Info option provides more details from the cloud database.
Additionally, you could use the monitor option to have Scotty check the list of installed Services for changes and alert you.
10. Hidden Files
Hidden files are usually legitimate system files. By default, Hidden Files are not monitored in real-time by WinPatrol. Typically, hidden files are data files and will not include copyright or company information. However, the PLUS Info option provides more details from the cloud database.
The Right-Click Menu has two options to either “Delete File” or “Delete File on Reboot” as required.
1. I was unable to locate the “Full Report” option for Startup Programs, as mentioned in the link below:
2. There is no option provided to map the Startup entry in the Startup Programs tab to the running processes in the Active Tasks tab. This option if provided would be very useful in removing some Stubborn Programs that keep adding themselves to startup over and over again. A mapping between the Startup entry and corresponding task(s) will help killing the task and then removing the Startup entry once and for all.
3. I couldn’t help saving a note from IE Helpers>Info>Save Note. The note would get saved, but then the Save Note button would still be in editing mode. See below:
4. The online features list needs a good update both with respect to details and features. Link below:
5. I miss the option to minimize the WinPatrol window. This is something that could be added. As of now you could only close the window.
6. I would like to have an option in the Active Tasks section to show all / show non-Microsoft tasks. This will help cutting down time finding malicious tasks.
In short, WinPatrol / WinPatrol Plus is a very effective utility to have on your system. The Scotty dog keeps a strict eye on your system which may otherwise go un-noticed by your security program. It helps in two ways, firstly, preventing your system from being infected, and secondly, helping remove the infection (malicious programs).
A must install for all user types.
Version tested: WinPatrol 2012 Plus v24.6.2012.0:24.6.2012.0
Reviewed by Grr