Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Friday, October 26, 2007

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”.

Windows 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 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

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.


WinPatrol 12.2.2007 Press Release

Newest Windows Update Snafu Puzzles Microsoft

Microsoft: We Didn't Change Automatic Updates

Microsoft OneCare Silently Changes Automatic Updates

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Blogger TeMerc said...

As usual Bill, another smokin' update, one which will absolutely strike the users as being extremly helpful.


3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bill.

For a stand-along-product, I believe WP is the "best of the best".


4:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go Bill. Thanks

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill for some valuable additions to a must have program.

4:01 AM  
Blogger Corrine said...

My all-time favorite software just got even better! Thank you, Bill!

12:20 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've been a Win Patrol user for several years. I would not like to use my computer without it. What a great program! You rock!

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

had winpatrol for ages now, wouldn't use pc without it! recomended to everyone!!
always on the ball
nice 1 Bill

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

win-patrol is great with all the security people have and these big companys still get around it to change your setting with out your consent

Thanks Bill

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely cracking product and support. WP is essential. And the best bit is Bill is contactable and will even respond to questions personally.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm interesting posts concerning Microsoft auto update... here is news of something similar which involves Microsoft... I downloaded the new IE7 add on called 'IE7 Pro' about 4 days ago, installed it and thought no more about it... today,17 Jan,08. I decided I would like to try Firefox, so I searched, found the mozila site and tried to download Firefox using IE7... all the download links were inoperative, I tried several locations using IE7 and all failed.. I thought about this for a moment or two and came to the conclusion that it might have something to do with 'IE7 Pro', so I un-installed it and sure enough I went back to Mozila and downloaded.. that experience has put me right off Microsoft and I have been a happy Micro user for some 9 years now... no more.. don't like that kind of underhand working, I have also turned Microsoft auto updates off... not going there again...

2:27 PM  
Blogger Scuttlebutt said...

I used to have "automatic" updates until I learned the hard way with MS SP3 for XP. Evidently, the AMD computer was imaged using an Intel master which caused SP3 to crash big time. I removed SP3, killed automatic and eventually was able to load SP3 with a couple of changes. At any rate, automatic updates are a disaster in the making.

12:40 PM  

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