Detect Changes to Windows Automatic Updates
There has been a lot of controversy lately over the Windows Automatic Update feature. First Microsoft made change some files used in the Auto Update mechanism on a users machine without ever making it an option. Now, Microsoft has been accused of making changes to the Windows AutoUpdate settings. Some claim during the last Windows update their configuration was changed to “Update Automatically”. Microsoft denies the accusations. Others report that Microsoft One Care or other application make changes for you.
WinPatrol has a long history of monitoring unique settings that most other programs don’t worry about. Many new WinPatrol features are requested by users but a lot of changes are based on things I want for myself. I thought “Hey, I’d like to know if something changes my Automatic Update settings”.
Available today, WinPatrol 12.2.2007 will now alert you if changes are made to your Automatic Update settings. Like most features, the intention is to protect users from changes made by malicious programs. As a side however, it will also detect if Microsoft or one of their applications decide to change these settings without your knowledge.
Also included in this new version will be detection of a few other unique settings like the prefix inserted by your browser (http://). If you don’t include http:// when you type in an address, Windows automatically adds it. If I changed this setting to http://www.billp.com/ no matter what you typed into your browser you’d always come to me. Depending on what comes after it, I could display a fake look-alike phishing page and grab your eBay, or Paypal account number.
I didn’t have a lot bugs to fix so I also included a few other safe changes. WinPatrol will now correctly read registry startup entries that use invalid formats. I’ve also included an online component to the PLUS activation process. This will finally allow the creation of an affiliate partner program and can accurately thank the folks who help promote WinPatrol.
As always, this version is a free upgrade to all WinPatrol users and is available at http://www.winpatrol.com/download.html.
My personal recommendation for Windows Automatic Update has always been “Notify me but don’t automatically download or install them”. I like to wait at least a week to see what problems are reported.