WinPatrol: Active Tasks

The Active Tasks list will display all the programs that are currently running on your computer system. This list allows you to check if any programs you might not be aware of are currently running without your permission.

Keep in mind that the first time you view the list of Active Tasks you may encounter programs that are completely legitimate but are not normally visible to you the user.

Managing Active Tasks

WinPatrol provides additional information on Active Tasks, including the company that created the program as well as the program version. Most legitimate program files will usually include copyright and company information that can be displayed by WinPatrol, but not always. When it does exist, this information will help you decide if the program is a valid program or not and whether you want to Remove or Disable it (see below).

As it is often difficult to tell just from a file name or company name whether a program is legitimate, you can click the Free Info... button to review a list of common, well-known malicious programs on the WinPatrol web site. PLUS members can click the PLUS Info... button to search the online WinPatrol database for more information on the specific program itself.

Programs may start or stop after WinPatrol displays the list of Active Tasks. In case the list of active programs changes while you're reviewing the list, use the Refresh button to replenish the list with what is known to be currently active.

"Kill Task"
If you see a suspicious program use this button to stop this program and remove it from memory. Note that the Kill Task function does not delete the program file from your hard drive; it merely halts the program in memory.

To close or Exit the WinPatrol tab interface click the X in the upper right hand corner or the Close button. WinPatrol will continue monitor changes but the main interface will be removed from memory.

Dealing with Stubborn Tasks

Sometimes malicious programs come in pairs or groups that protect each other to prevent you from removing them. In such cases, you will want to find all the suspicious tasks on the Active Tasks list and use the Kill Task feature to shut down each one before removing the suspicious entry from the Startup Programs list.

  • First, close down all the applications that you know about.
  • Click the Active Tasks tab to check what programs are still listed.
  • You may see multiple suspicious programs. Some may have what look to be randomly created filenames.
  • Hold down the CTRL key to select several tasks at once and click on each suspicious task.
  • Click on the Kill Task button.

Once the programs are no longer active you should be able to remove them from the Startup Programs list to prevent them from re-starting later.

"Delete File on Reboot"
If after trying to remove a suspicious or dangerous program you find it still will not go away, right-click on the name of the program Module and select "Delete File on Reboot." This action will not take place until the next time you boot, but the file will be deleted before Windows starts and any other programs that may attempt to prevent its deletion.

There is no way to recover the file once it is deleted, so use this feature only when you are absolutely sure you want to remove the file.

More WinPatrol Features