Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Community Data Shared with WinPatrol FREE

One of the functions WinPatrol has always had was to keep a count of any time someone requested information for a particular file. Originally, it let me know which files were the more invasive. A couple years ago I expanded the information to count every time a new program is accepted, rejected or removed from the Windows registry.  This information turned out to be more valuable because it helps WinPatrol users make decisions if a program needed to run on startup or could be removed. Instead of just being my opinion it let members know what the rest of the WinPatrol community thought.
Until now this community data was collected and was only available to WinPatrol PLUS members.  Starting today all WinPatrol users will have access to what we’ve named the “WinPatrol PLUS Community Shield”. This is a great example of how social media can provide a major benefit. By everyone sharing their choices even the most novice user can benefit from the experience of others.

Here’s a portion of the screen that will now be available to all users. This example displays the count for a common Microsoft file, Ctfmon.exe.  In this case it’s not clear if Ctfmon.exe is welcome or not. I invite you to try other files on your computer and see if you agree with our WinPatrol friends.
Click image for the full page provided to WinPatrol Free Edition
Community Reviews In addition to the automatic summary of requests, rejections and accepted files we’ve also added a way for the WinPatrol Community to give feedback based on their expertise and/or experience. Instead of a number rating system we created five typical types to chose from in common sense terminology.  Now that more WinPatrol users have access to community data this screen will continue to become more valuable. Watch for the sharing of additional community data in our future.

Even though all we do is count an action performed with WinPatrol, it has always been an option. If the option is checked we collect data from Free, PLUS and even folks using WinPatrol PLUS illegally.
Click for more details on WinPatrol Options
Privacy When “Share choices with other WinPatrol users” is checked any decision or action made when a file appears on a computer is recorded.
We obviously don’t connect the action to anyone’s identity but a users choice is now what some refer to as meta-data.  The NSA keeps using the term to describe data that they collect which does not include personal information.

WinPatrol PLUS members still receive more extensive information about a file. When a PLUS member receives a PLUS Info for Ctfmon.exe it will include a human readable description along with a link to a helpful page from Microsoft.;EN-US;q282599

Update: One of the advantages of the WinPatrol model is that users are allowed to make their own decision if a program is behaving badly.  Some popular programs have been threatened by companies with Cease and Desist orders if they remove unwanted programs. The WinPatrol Community Shield enhances the power users have based on real data and not my opinion. If over 200,000 users reject a program, this information shared by other WinPatrol users is safe to publish. It is factual and not just my opinion.

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