WinPatrol: Options

Performance is an important concern, and we have designed WinPatrol so that you won't ever find WinPatrol slowing down your computer. Under most conditions Scotty is asleep while you're doing your daily work. In our free version he wakes up every so often based on the settings you choose. You can decide yourself how often Scotty should wake up and check your system by setting individual "patrol times" for each of the resources that Scotty monitors.

This scheduled patrol time is not required by WinPatrol PLUS. Instead, we use an internal Windows function that triggers Scotty to wake up when there a specific behavior occurs.  This real--time monitoring is more efficient and will not interfere with your work. You can still turn off monitoring of each tab type by setting the time to zero or unchecking the real-time monitoring checkbox.

WinPatrol lets you configure several other aspects of Scotty's behavior, however.

Monitoring Key System Settings

"Hide Alert Messages"

This feature is for WinPatrol PLUS only. It allows administrators to set default actions for different type of alerts without having any messages appear.

"Lock File Types"
This feature uses the list of File Types and will prevent any changes without bothering to alert users of an attempted change.

"Detect Changes to Internet Explorer Home and Search Pages"
Clicking here will allow you to set the frequency for Scotty to check if your default browser home page and search pages have been hijacked. Hijacked browser pages are usually another indication that some malicious program has infiltrated your system. If you receive an alert regarding changes to your Home Page or Search Pages, you'll want to review the Active Tasks that are running on your system for a potentially malicious program that might be the culprit.

"Warn if changes are made to my Internet HOSTS file"
The HOSTS file is like a local road map to the internet. When you enter in a web address like www.winpatrol.com, the request is first sent out to a special internet server (known as a DNS server) that converts the web address into the numerical IP address like 217.146.53.2, which is the actual address for the web site you're visiting. You are then connected via that IP address to the web site. A HOSTS file simply speeds up the process by storing matched pairs of web addresses and their IP address equivalents so that your web browser can skip requesting the actual IP address from a DNS server.

Malicious programs have been known to use bogus entries in the HOSTS file to misdirect web surfers to sites to potentially dangerous, unwanted web sites. These malicious programs might add a known web address like www.google.com but assign it the numerical IP address of an advertiser or even a more dangerous site. When you type in www.google.com to your browser, you end up going to an unwanted, unexpected web site instead of where you wanted to go.

WinPatrol can monitor your HOSTS file and warn you when changes are made. You can also check your HOSTS file by clicking the View HOSTS file... button. By default the only entry you should see in your hosts file is:

127.0.0.1     Localhost

Some good folks have also found ways to populate the hosts file with known advertisers to cut down on obtrusive ads. If you'd like to learn more, click on the following link: What is a hosts file?

"Detect changes to Restart File" (Windows 98/ME only)
This option allows you to monitor for changes in the WININIT.INI file, a special configuration file that can be used to delete and renamed files when the system is rebooted. This file is frequently used by Setup and Uninstall programs to delete or replace files that are currently in use. When Windows boots it automatically executes commands and then it deletes the file. Some malicious programs have been known to use the WININIT.INI file to install unwanted software on PCs or to damage systems by deleting legitimate files.

Managing WinPatrol

"Track Changes in restoration file"
The file HISTORY.TXT keeps track of WinPatrol events and allows you to recover from accidental removals of Startup Programs. You can click on View History... to see the recent events. If you remove a program that you didn't want to, use the View History... button to Restore your Startup settings.

"Play Sounds"
With this checkbox you can disable Scotty's bark when opening WinPatrol Explorer or when a new program alert occurs. 

You can also choose different alert sounds through the standard Windows Sounds Control Panel applet. Go to Start >> Settings >> Control Panel and click on the applet usually titled "Sounds and Audio Devices." Click on the "Sounds" tab to view a list of Windows sound events. If you scroll to the bottom of the list, you'll see an entry for WinPatrol that allows you to define individual event sounds for WinPatrol.

"Automatically run WinPatrol when computer starts"
Recommended for regular monitoring without losing any system performance. The WinPatrol system monitor will be included as one of your Startup Programs, allowing Scotty to keep an eye out for changes that may occur. If you feel safe and don't need regularly monitoring just remove the check. If you disable WinPatrol from your Startup Programs, you can still run WinPatrol Explorer as part of your regular computer maintenance schedule. When you select this option you'll be asked if you want WinPatrol to run for just the current user or for all users.

"Windows Explorer Integration"
When this option is checked a menu selection that says "WinPatrol PLUS Info..." is added when right-clicking on a file in Windows Explorer. The new menu item will only appear for .exe and .dll file types but will allow you to check out the information available without opening WinPatrol's main tabbed interface. This feature is available to WinPatrol PLUS members but free users will still receive the Community feedback data when available.

"Display Original Scotty Taskbar icon"
Starting with version 12 the main icon for WinPatrol was updated to include a more Vista friendly look. After being around for almost 10 years some of you have grown to know and love our original Scotty taskbar icon. Checking this option will return the taskbar icon to its traditional form. 

"Allow PLUS data collection"
When requesting PLUS Information from our servers limited information about the file is sent. By allowing additional information to be sent we are able to improve our database. No user information about you with the exception of your PLUS code and county if available. Information about the file includes path, company name, version, file date, file size and date detected.
By default this option is off. This option is voluntary and may not work with all systems. With this checkbox you can disable Scotty's bark when opening WinPatrol Explorer or when a new program alert occurs.
See http://billpstudios.blogspot.com/2007/09/registry-tweaks-cause-unexpected.html for more info if an error occurs. 

"Share Choices with other WinPatrol users"
WinPatrol keeps a count of how many times a WinPatrol user requests information and when a file is accepted or rejected. This information is then available to all WinPatrol user when requesting information. This information is just a simple count but is very useful in knowing what other members think and what choice they made when the file appeared on their computer. This information is collected and stored based on the filename and not any individual identification. We still give everyone the option to not participate. If you uncheck the box in front of this option your actions will not be included. You will still however have access to the data based on others who participate.


WinPatrol Features