WinPatrol is a multifunction utility which has been designed to help monitor and protect your system, helping to maintain the security and performance of your computer. It allows you to find out and better understand what programs are attempting to change your settings or what programs are trying to add themselves to the system. WinPatrol monitors and helps you maintain control over several important areas of the operation system that are often targeted by malware and spyware.
One of the areas WinPatrol can monitor and control is a number of start-up locations including the registry Run and Runonce entries, the start-up folder and also hidden start locations. There is also the option to move start-up items to the Delayed Start tab to delay programs not needed immediately, helping boot speed. You can also terminate active tasks and scheduled tasks. The cookie control feature allows you to automatically delete cookies from Chrome or Internet Explorer when a predefined word or phrase is contained within them. Additional features include a WHOIS lookup tool, view the HOSTS file, registry monitoring and the viewing of ActiveX controls, hidden files, file types, services and IE Helper objects. WinPatrol aims to be easy to use, but still offer enough powerful features to make it an essential tool to have. There is a free version and a paid version available which obviously unlocks some of the features.
WinPatrol also has a stand-alone portable version called WinPatrolToGo which can be run from a USB flash drive or other portable device. A useful option if you don’t plan on keeping WinPatrol installed and only want to use it for a couple of quick checks or changes. Even if you don’t use WinPatrol that often yourself, it definitely comes in handy for troubleshooting on other systems and is a utility you’ll still want in your toolkit.
The PLUS version of WinPatrol costs $29.95 and gives your computer real-time infiltration detection and also access to the WinPatrol PLUS knowledgebase which is available online 24/7. Right click on just about any entry in the program and select “Plus Info…” to open a webpage. The knowledgebase is very useful because it gives very detailed information about the process or service for mere humans to read, not just computer geeks. Some of the process information even contains links and program tips that might be useful.
If you cannot afford the PLUS version of WinPatrol, here is a trick on how to view the PLUS info for a process. The below example is to view the PLUS info for iexplorer.exe (Internet Explorer). If you want to check for another process, simply replace iexplore and iexplore.exe (in bold) with the process that you want to check.
As for WinPatrol’s Real-time Infiltration Detection (R.I.D.) technology, the only way to get it working is to activate the PLUS version. Honestly speaking, I would rather use the free version of WinPatrol and spend $29.95 on a decent quality Antivirus package than spend $29.95 on WinPatrol PLUS alone. The big difference is antivirus programs are subscription based and you’ll need to renew every year but as for WinPatrol, you only need to pay once because it’s a single user license that can be used on multiple systems. The good thing is now and again, Billp Studios have a promotional offer and the last time around I got a lifetime license for $0.99! If you can catch the promo at the right time, definitely worth it for a dollar.
The knowledgebase is good but not the best solution because it only checks the process name and not MD5 hash like what RunScanner does. A good trojan developer can easily code an undetectable version of trojan and injects itself into a legitimate process name. I tried infecting my test computer with an old trojan (bifrost) that is no longer in development and WinPatrol PLUS immediately detects a new auto startup program. I removed the auto start up entry and also killed the process (iexplore.exe) that has been injected by the trojan. Rebooted the computer and the trojan infects the computer all over again. I was unable to remove the trojan with WinPatrol…
On the plus side, WinPatrol is a small and lightweight tool that is easy to understand and has more useful features than something like HijackThis. And the knowledge base is useful at helping to find the processes you’re not sure about. On the not so great side, even though it’s a lifetime license, the PLUS version does seem a bit over priced considering the only things you really get are access to the PLUS knowledge base, real-time infiltration detection and can monitor parts of the registry. This might be a small added layer of protection on top of other security software, but make sure you have secured yourself with the appropriate Antivirus, Firewall and Antitmalware type software before you consider buying WinPatrol PLUS.