Why I prefer using WinPatrol – Review & Free Download

Windows User Account Control (UAC) allows you to set up Windows 8 for alerting you when you or any program makes certain changes to the computer. It is a very useful security feature; but more than often, it is irritating when you are working towards something and the screen freezes with a warning from User Account Control (UAC). You need to stop working and go to the UAC message to allow the changes. WinPatrol, in my opinion, is a freeware that allows you to better manage the computer, when compared to Windows UAC.

WinPatrol Review

winpatrol-review-free-download

By default, Windows 10/8/7 alerts you when some program makes changes to the Windows registry or start-up program list. You won’t be notified when you make changes to the computer settings. Under certain cases, you may unknowingly change something and miss out the alert. For example, you may have been working on Internet Explorer settings and clicked “Default” under IE Home Page Settings by mistake. What are your chances of being notified by Windows, which, obviously presumes you changed it knowingly? None!

Case For Using WinPatrol

I am using this freeware program – WinPatrol – for the past many years – as much as seven years or even longer. My settings for Windows UAC is “Never Notify”. Reason for this setting is obvious. Although I am aware of Secure Desktop, I don’t like Windows dimming and freezing the screen for each notification from the User Account Control. Also, I want to know if I change any setting on the computer unknowingly; even the setting where I dissociate some file type from some program and associate it with another program while installing.

Some of the programs we install, simply go ahead to change the file type associations. Not only that, they go ahead and add their own toolbars and IE Helpers to the browsers. How many of you have installed programs like Zone Alarm or Nero to find unnecessary startup programs, changed home pages and unwanted Internet Explorer accelerators?

Such changes are never notified by Windows UAC even if you set up Windows 7 to Always Alert. While Windows does not miss out on the changes, but it fails to alert you on the cases mentioned above. This is where WinPatrol comes handy.

Set Up WinPatrol

When you install WinPatrol, it takes stock of current settings and alerts you when changes according to the following:

  1. Change of Internet Explorer Home Page
  2. Startup Programs
  3. Internet Explorer Helpers (Accelerators, Toolbars and other add-ons)
  4. Windows Services
  5. Windows Registry Strings (Startup, RunOnce and File Associations)

WinPatrol also offers you with the facility to look up startup programs and services that you do not understand. For example, you want to reduce the startup time. You can look up the services on the Internet and decide the ones to keep and the ones to discard. In addition, you can delay Startup Programs for quicker access to the Windows desktop. You can also disable startup programs when Windows boots, using WinPatrol.

WinPatrol free download

You get all these features in the free version of WinPatrol, which you can download here. A portable version named WinPatrolToGo is also available, which does not need to be installed. This portable version is a single executable file which you can carry on your SD card or portable USB device without leaving any left over files or registry entries on the computer being managed.

Notes:

  1. You may want to turn off UAC after installing WinPatrol else you will receive two alerts in some cases: one from Windows UAC and the other from WinPatrol.
  2. As a general rule, it is not advisable to turn off the UAC. But the above post is based on my own personal preferences and experience with the product. Your opinions may differ as the needs differ from user to user.

Would love to hear what you think!

These links may also interest you:

  1. Monitor critical Windows Registry settings using WinPatrol PLUS
  2. Registry script for WinPatrol to warn if Windows Firewall is turned off.
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Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN