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. 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.

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

Monitoring Key System Settings

"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?
Other files currently monitored include autoexec.bat, config.sys and Boot.ini.

"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.

"Full Report"
This button will create a file called WinPatrol.html which provides a complete dump of programs monitored by WinPatrol. If you are experiencing problems using WinPatrol it may be useful to forward this file to our support Email.  If you have a friend helping you evaluate your system this report would be useful in helping them diagnosis any problems.

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.

"Confirm Exit when closing WinPatrol Monitor"
The WinPatrol monitor (WinPatrol.exe) is designed to run at all times. There are malious programs which may try and shut the WinPatrol monitor down so they won't be detected. With this checkbox Scotty's will display an alert to confirm you want to WinPatrol to Exit. This is a first step of defense towards simple adware programs and some programs may still be able to shut WinPatrol down without displaying any message.

"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.

"Export Settings"
This is a great way to create a back up of your current WinPatrol settings.  Clicking this button will create a copy of all the registry settings used by WinPatrol.  The file type will be a .reg file which allows it to imported easily back into the registry if necessary.

"Close"
To close or Exit the WinPatrol tab interface click the X in the upper right hand corner.

WinPatrol Features