Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Auto Update Programs Running All the Time

One of the bonus features for WinPatrol PLUS users is they can quickly look up information on new programs that appear on their computers. Our PLUS knowledge base contains information on both malware and legitimate programs and is written so hopefully mere mortals can understand what a program is doing. Essentially, the “PLUS Info…” feature is a “What the heck is this program?” feature.

At least once a month I compile a list of the most commonly requested programs along with some free info on many of the more dangerous programs. I couldn’t help but notice that last month 4 of the top 15 are designed to just sit there and check for new versions.

The following popular programs were among the most often requested information by WinPatrol users. I’ve included some snippets of information along with links to PLUS Info examples.

“Googletoolbarnotifier.exe and swg.dll install with recent versions of the Google Toolbar. According to Google, these files run in the background and prevent other search engines from setting themselves as the default search engine.”… More PLUS Info…

“Getflash.exe is the update utility that installs with Adobe's popular Flash player. Adobe now owns Flash as they've purchased the entire Macromedia Product line.” More PLUS Info…

Spupdsvc.exe will appear in your Windows\System or System32 folder. It's the Windows Service Pack Installer update service also described as the Update RunOnce Service. As the name implies, this file should not need to be running all the time.". More PLUS Info…

“InstallShield is a very popular program installer. Chances are good that you have lots of programs on your system that used that as the program installer. Isuspm.exe can be used to check for updates or additional product information.” More PLUS Info…

sample of a winpatrol alert when google toolbar notifier is detected
Most Common Alert April 2007

Obviously, this indicates to me that most people have no idea these resident programs are being added to automatically run. If you don’t use WinPatrol, you might want to run MSConfig which comes with Windows and take a peek at your list of Startup Programs.

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