Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Task Manager + WinPatrol Disables Unwanted Programs

Our current plan at BillP Studios is to respond quickly to any problem reports by having monthly updates that provide bug fixes and minor features while continuing to research and prepare major new features. This week thanks to ongoing reports and suggestions(thanks Patrick) we have released version 28.8.

Update:  Due to a bug that was caused by our new feature the newest version is now 28.9

One reason for this new policy is to make sure we continue to support multiple versions of Windows which now have many different internal operations. For instance, Windows 8 has a great new Task Manager which includes a list of startup programs that used to be found in the Windows program “MSConfig.exe”. The new Startup list includes many new features. One of new features is a better way to “Disable” a unwanted startup program.


The great advantage of “Disabled” in Windows 8 is that it’s built into the operating system. When Windows starts, it looks for programs set to run but before it launches the program it also checks a second location called “StartupApproved”. If a program is marked as Disabled in this new location, Windows won’t launch it. For a while this will help keep some misbehaving, unwanted programs away. Many programs will notice if they have been removed from their startup location and will restore their startup status. If they don’t know about “StartupApproved” they’ll think they’re ok but still won’t run when you start your computer. Eventually, they’ll figure it out but for a while users will enjoy better performance and less crapware running in the background.

I hate these programs because they ignore what users want and often prevent even uninstall requests. WinPatrol now provides the best of both worlds. The new WinPatrol version 28.8 will work together with the new Task Manager so if you mark a program as Disabled in Task Manager it will be set to Disabled in WinPatrol as well.  When programmers at the companies who think they should always start finally notice StartupApproved I’m sure they will change this setting to “Approved”.  Luckily they’ll still need to deal with WinPatrol. As in the past if a program has been Disabled in WinPatrol it will be removed automatically. On Windows 8 machines if the StartupApproved is changed from Disabled without your permission we’ll also restore the original setting.

As we learn more about this setting and what tricks are used, WinPatrol will adapt so only those programs needed at Startup will be launched. Our friends at Microsoft have been extremely helpful so I expect by version 29 we’ll be fully integrated with Task Manager and Windows 8 users will have complete control with little effort.

In a continued trend to provide regular updates of WinPatrol software the newest version 28.8 is now available for download. Complete details on what else has changed on this version and previous builds go to

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