In the world of utilities, WinPatrol is something of an anomaly. It's been around forever, as evidenced by its goofy, Windows 95-era interface and hideous, Internet 1.0-era Web site. Yet it's amassed a huge fanbase, with more than 1.6 million downloads from CNET alone.
What makes the program so popular? For starters, it gives Windows tinkerers a robust set of tinker-tools, yet has a footprint of less than 1MB. Also, creator Bill Pytlovany comes across as just a regular guy who wrote a program, not some faceless developer.
Although the free version of WinPatrol offers plenty to recommend it, it's the Plus version that really rocks the house. A lifetime license normally sells for $29.95, but from now until 9 a.m. PT tomorrow, you can get WinPatrol Plus for just 99 cents.
That buck buys you a lifetime license for a single PC. There's no subscription nonsense at work here; once you own WinPatrol Plus, you own it forever -- updates included. It's compatible with Windows XP and later.
So, what does this sucker do? Lots of cool stuff. It can show you a list of all startup programs and give you information about the ones you can't identify. Even better, it lets you delay selected startup programs so your computer boots faster.
WinPatrol will notify you of any changes to Windows' auto-update settings, which might be caused by malware. It can prevent changes to file-type associations, clean up recent malware infections, disable ActiveX controls, and so on.
If you're novice user, some of this stuff will undoubtedly seem confusing. In that case, I recommend something like freeware favorite CCleaner instead; it's a little more user-friendly. But if you like to get under Windows' hood, WinPatrol Plus gives you some very handy tools. And for just a buck, how can you go wrong?
Thanks to reader Ken for bringing this to my attention!
Bonus deal: Today only, in honor of Tax Day, Google is offering 33 MP3 albums for $2.99 apiece. Artists include Beck, Coldplay, Maroon 5, and the Rolling Stones. Good stuff!