Part 1


I have been using WinPatrol for a few years at least now, I find it a very valuable tool to my online and offline security. I highly recommend using the program and for those who can afford $19.95 I highly recommend supporting BillP Studios by purchasing the product. It is a one time cost and covers any future upgrades to the program, well worth the cost!


Now what exactly can WinPatrol do for you? Read on and see exactly why I find it so valuable.


The Common Features (the features found on most of the tabs)


If you are not sure of the program or file mentioned you can click on the Info button and it will bring up a new window (shown on the right) that will give you a bit more information about the program. For PLUS users you can click on the PLUS Info button and it will take you to the WinPatrol website which will provide more information on the file and whether it is safe or not. Click this button to see a sample of the information that Scotty can provide for you when you are a PLUS user. If the file does not happen to be in the database you can provide BillP with the information needed to add it to the database.  I do know that he works hard at keeping it up to date because the WMP10 files are already in the database. By providing him with any you find not listed will help him to keep the database as up to date as possible. If you are using the free version of WinPatrol and you click on the button and you are taken to a page that lists WinPatrol's most UnWanted list and a list of the most popular files that are being requested by PLUS users. You can check any exe files at Answers that Work under their tasks section. But Scotty is not limited to exe files, he can even provide you with information on dll files. Finally when in the info window you have the and the buttons where you can just go through the entire list of files gathering the information about each file on your computer and will take you back to the tab you were working on in WinPatrol.


The remove button is what you would use to remove a file from the list you are working on but it will not remove the file from your computer, it simply stops the file from being run on your computer. If the file is one that you know is safe to remove you can right click on the file and choose Delete File on Reboot. Sometimes it is not wise to remove a file, but instead to disable it.


On many of the tabs you will also see the Full Report button. When you click on this Scotty will provide you with a page listing every file in that category and the basic information that WinPatrol has on it. Again if you are a PLUS user then you can click on the link provided under each file and get more information about the file and if it is a needed file or not. At first this can be used as a learning tool on what is running on your computer and it's purpose, and if you can safely shut it down. By keeping these lists and learning to recognize your valid active tasks, startup files, etc. you will eventually be able to quickly recognize something that should not be running on your computer and do what is needed to get rid of it.


Also any that carry the red check in the top right corner (as shown on the left here) can be monitored which means that WinPatrol will notify you of any changes being made to these groups. To turn monitoring on or off click on the monitor box a window as shown on the right will pop up.  Setting it to 0 will turn monitoring off, any other number will determine how often Scotty will sniff for changes in that area.


You want to make sure that you do have Scotty monitoring these groups for good reason. The top one I can think of is, what if some worm got past your firewall and anti-virus programs? You don't have a clue they are sitting there doing whatever they were sent there to do. But if Scotty is watching over your computer once that worm tries to add itself to your active tasks or to your startup Scotty is going to ask you if you authorized this change. Right there and then thanks to that barking dog, you have just been alerted that some nasty worm has bypassed your firewall and anti-virus and installed itself on your computer. You tell Scotty no, I don't want that in my startup and I don't want it running now either. Scotty disables it and you can now follow the steps to get rid of this nasty worm who thought he could invade your territory, Scotty's territory. Scotty doesn't delete the files but you can be guaranteed they won't get anywhere on your computer as long as Scotty is in charge.


 By clicking on the Help button in each section of WinPatrol will take you to the help page for that section. There is a separate help page for each of the WinPatrol tabs with the exception of the PLUS tab.


By clicking the close button on any of the tabs will return Scotty to your taskbar, it will not shut the program off, Scotty will continue to protect you from the taskbar.


Along with WinPatrol, I run Norton System Works 2004, Norton Personal Firewall 2003, Windows XP Firewall (SP2), Windows popup blocker, SpywareBlaster, IE-Spyad, Spy Sweeper and Ad Muncher on my computer. None of these conflict each other. Spy Sweeper and WinPatrol enjoy seeing who will alert me first to anything being installed on this computer, but that is about the only conflict I see. I run a slower computer for today's world, PIII 800Mhz and in all the time that I've used WinPatrol I have not experienced it being a resource hog whatsoever, you only know it's on your computer when Scotty detects changes.


The PLUS tab, it will show you what version you are running, a link to the WinPatrol site and email address with copyright information. It is in this window that you will enter your name and registration code if you decide to support the product. Also provided is a button to check for any upgrades to the program. There is nothing in place to notify you of any updates so checking for updates is recommended. If you are a member of Ask Maggy Mae, you will most likely find out there is an update to the program from one of the members or admin posting that there is one. By clicking the Reset link you will be resetting your name and registration code, you need them if you want to continue using the PLUS features.


Next you will want to use the Options tab to set up your preferences for the program. I highly recommend checking both settings on the top portion of the options tab. The default patrol time is 2 minutes with both of these options and I recommend staying at this time frame to best protect your computer.

  • "Detect Changes to Internet Explorer Home and Search pages" check it off and you don't have to worry about them being hijacked because Scotty will protect you and will pop up and tell you that he has detected a change and ask if it is allowed, if you say no he does not allow the change to happen.

  • "Warn if changes are made to my Internet HOSTS file" check off, also found on the Options tab. You can also check off "Lock HOSTS file" for added security and nothing will be able to write to the file until you unlock it. I have never locked my Host file and it has not been compromised, the day I am (doubtful ever will be)  watch that be locked real quick! You can view your HOSTS file by clicking on the button provided on the Options tab.

The WinPatrol section:

  • Track Changes in History Log File for possible restoration - I recommend checking this, and you can view the history by clicking on the View History button.

  • Play Sounds - If you don't like Scotty barking at you when he wants to warn you of something you can disable his bark and he will NOT hold it against you and he will still remain faithful and warn you.

  • Automatically run WinPatrol when your computer starts. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

This takes care of the Options tab.

If you click on any of the buttons above it will show you the shot of that WinPatrol screen.

With the File Types tab you can monitor any changes in the file types. Sometimes you might notice that when you install a program it changes the default file association from your preferred program to the new program. WinPatrol protects your present file types and detects any changes that an installed program will attempt and ask you if this change is what you want. If you answer no it will leave your present file types as the default. You can turn off monitoring by clicking on the red check mark in the top right corner under Help. You can even add file types to WinPatrol, it does not add it to your computer but it will monitor the extension. When you click the button at the bottom of the window a new window will open like the one on the right. Add the extension you wish to monitor and click add. You can also remove extensions from being monitored by clicking the remove button described above.

The Cookies tab is one that I visit often, the reason, it's an excellent way to keep control of the cookies being left on your computer. When you first open the Cookies tab you will see a list, this list is used to get rid of cookies from your computer. To add to the list just type in the box beside the Add button (shown in graphic above) a portion of a word or even just a letter or number then click the Add button. To remove a nut from the list just highlight it or type it into the box beside the Remove button and click the Remove button. You can add key words to nuts to eliminate cookies, if you don't want any cookies saved the easiest thing to do is just add each letter of the alphabet individually and all numbers to the nuts list, that should take care of them unless they start using special characters. You can also type in word or groups of letters, if you typed in msn then any cookie that has msn in it will be automatically deleted from your cookies. This does NOT in any way affect your online experience with MSN Groups, I have that and Microsoft as nuts in my list and I can still freely access MSN groups, Microsoft, all it does is removes the cookie from you computer when the browser is closed. Just in case someone is curious it does not even effect my automatic sign in when I go to groups.

New to version 8.0 of WinPatrol is the ability to configure WinPatrol to watch for cookies on a Mozilla based browser, if you prefer to use FireFox over Internet Explorer, Scotty will sniff for cookies for your preferred browser. Just check Mozilla Based instead of Internet Explorer.

You will find this icon in the bottom left corner under your list of nuts. By clicking on it you can change your cookie path. Your cookies should actually be found in the path that is already provided, if they are not seek the path they are at. Please note the cookies are not kept in your temporary internet files folder. If you are running Windows XP that folder should be under C:\Documents and Settings\YourProfileName\Cookies (replace YourProfileName) with the name of your profile you log onto your computer, mine is Maggy so my path for cookies is C:\Documents and Settings\Maggy\Cookies. In a Windows 98 computer the cookie folder should be found under C:\Windows\Cookies

 I do not recommend checking Always View Cookies if you are going to change the path for where your cookies are found. You could actually hang the program and not be able to access it again. If you are going to change your cookie path, then leave this option unchecked until you are sure it will not hang the program. If you do change the path and you did not check Always View Cookies and the program hangs, end the program using ctrl+alt+delete then reopen the program and you should see a blank where the cookie path should be click on the icon beside and re-enter the path originally provided for cookies. If you do choose to check this option, every time you open WinPatrol to the cookie tab it will display the list of cookies first, then by closing he cookie window you will view the nuts and other options on the cookie tab.

By clicking the View Cookies button you'd be surprised with the amount of cookies that collect on your computer. You can do several things to get rid of them. If there are no cookies you want to save then just click on the button, if there are just a couple cookies you want to save, check the ones you want to save and then click on . If your list of cookies you want to save is longer than the list of cookies you want to get rid of check the ones you want to get rid of and click the button. But the best option of all is to add your unwanted cookies to Nuts. To do this is a little more difficult than with the older versions of WinPatrol, but you can write down the list of cookies then close the window and type them into the Add section of the Cookie tab window. Upon opening the View Cookies again you will notice all the ones you added to the nut list are now gone. If you highlight a cookie and click the button, you will see all the info that cookie is holding. Now remember for those cookies that you are wanting to keep, anyone who can access your computer will have access to viewing those  cookies.

Part 2 covers the rest of WinPatrol.



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    Copyright © 2001-2005 Margaret Walker