WinPatrol vs AnVir Task Manager: clarification on the different editions, and differences and unique advantages of both

Today a dotTechie posted an interesting comment:

Ashraf, as I read your review, something tickled a few neurons regarding your usage of WinPatrol as an alternative. I did a little research, and low and behold, in your “Prevention, detection, and cure: 9 programs…” article you recommend WinPatrol for use as a System Monitor, and mention AnVir Task Manager as an alternative. Are you now reversing that prior decision by choosing AvVir over WinPatrol?

This comment got me thinking Aesar, the author of the comment, is right: I seem to have double standards when it comes to recommending WinPatrol or AnVir Task Manager. Therefore I decided I should create this post to clear my name and clarify the differences between WinPatrol and AnVir Task Manager and why I seem to be recommending WinPatrol in one post and AnVir Task Manager in another.

Before I begin, though, let me clear up the confusion on the different editions of AnVir Task Manager. You see there are four editions a user can attain of AnVir Task Manager:

  • AnVir Task Manager Free
  • AnVir Task Manager
  • AnVir Task Manager Pro
  • [AnVir] Security Suite

AnVir Task Manager Free is the freeware version which is available to anyone that visit’s AnVir.com. AnVir Task Manager, AnVir Task Manager Pro, and [AnVir] Security Suites are shareware editions you have to pay for. The differences between all four editions are shown by this chart:

2009-10-13_111100

The dotTech exclusive freebie which any dotTechie can get for free is AnVir Task Manager – the $39.95 shareware edition.

That being said, WinPatrol also has a couple of different editions:

  • WinPatrol Free
  • WinPatrol ToGo
  • WinPatrol Plus

WinPatrol Free and WinPatrol ToGo are both freeware versions; WinPatrol Free is the one you install on your computer while WinPatrol ToGo is a portable version with limited functionality. WinPatrol Plus is the paid version which comes with two extra features. This chart illustrates the differences between all three WinPatrol editions:

2009-10-13_112355

For the purposes of this post, I will be discussing WinPatrol Free vs AnVir Task Manager since they are the “highest” editions of both software a user can get for free.

As I informed Aesar, WinPatrol and AnVir Task Manager as two beasts of different nature yet have some similar characteristics. For example, both WinPatrol and AnVir Task Manager:

  • Monitor startup/autorun programs and notify the user if a new startup program has been added.
  • Monitor Windows services and notify the user if a non-Microsoft service has been added.
  • Monitor Internet Explorer’s homepage and inform the user if a program tries to change IE’s homepage.
  • Monitor Internet Explorer addons, BHQs, toolbars, etc. and inform the user if a new one has been added.
  • Monitor current running processes and allow the user to kill each one if desired (AnVir Task Manager’s list is more detailed though).
  • Control startup programs.
  • Delay startup programs.
  • “Auto-block” startup programs that continually add themselves to the startup list even though you blocked them the first time.
  • Allow you to generate a “HiJack This” log (WinPatrol’s log, however, contains details on more topics).

***Note: AnVir Task Manager instantly alerts you of changes while WinPatrol “sniffs” the computer every X minutes for changes (you need WinPatrol Pro for real-time sniffing).***

However, after that the similarities are limited and each program starts filling a niche different than the other.

WinPatrol, for example, going the path of being more of a “security” or “system monitor” software because it monitors system file types, scheduled tasks list, and ActiveX list. WinPatrol also allows you to selectively block IE or Firefox cookies, alerts you to changes of Windows HOST File, look at the recently launched or used programs, and delete files after reboot.

On the other hand, while AnVir Task Manager does have a security audit-and-report feature and a button to scan any file via VirusTotal.com, AnVir Task Manager focuses more on becoming a multifunction Windows Task Manager replacement. AnVir Task Manager reports computer resource usage (CPU and RAM), disk load, and network bandwidth usage. With AnVir Task Manager you have the ability to get detailed information regarding a program/process in terms of what DLLs and files it uses, all the drives you have installed on your computer, control CPU usage (automatically or manually), and automatically or manually clean/free memory.

So, in conclusion, what am I trying to say? WinPatrol and AnVir Task Manager are both excellent programs. No one is better than they other. As I already said, WinPatrol is more of a security/system monitoring focused program, while AnVir Task Manager is more of a multifunction Windows Task Manager on steroid type program. While they have similar features (for example, AnVir Task Manager can work very well as a system monitor or security focused program also) both should be used depending on your desires and needs.

Now I know someone is going to ask, so I will address these two questions now:

  • If I have the money and I want to go purchase one of the paid versions of WinPatrol or AnVir Task Manager, which one should I get?
    • It is hard for me to give you a blanket answer as to which one to use. In terms of bang for the buck, AnVir Task Manger will give you more than WinPatrol on a purely quantitative basis; however WinPatrol costs less and is more light on your computer resources. However, on a qualitative basis, which one you want to purchase will depend on your needs; are you looking for more of a system monitor software or do you prefer a Windows Task Manager replacement on steroids? You decide what you want to get.  If you do decide to go with AnVir Task Manager, my suggestion would be AnVir Task Manager Pro because that is the best deal out of all three paid editions in my opinion.
  • Should I (or can I) run both WinPatrol and AnVir Task Manager on my computer?
    • You can run them both (just be sure to disable the overlapping features such as startup monitoring so you don’t get double prompts) if you feel the need to do so. However, you really don’t need to have both of them. Just pick one or the other in my humble opinion; don’t clutter up your computer by “over protecting”.

To learn more about and grab WinPatrol or AnVir Task Manager, click on the following links:

AnVir Task Manager

WinPatrol

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10 comments

  1. MythicalMe

    @kcs3295:

    The windows registry is not designed specifically for Microsoft to “spy” on anyone. It is a repository of information about the hardware and software installed on a system. As a programmer, I use the registry to locate some system variables and store some of my own. By your logic I am in league with Microsoft.

    As for why stuff is left in the registry, mostly that has to do with the software installation and installer. As I said I use the registry to store some information. The installer program that I use has no idea of what the program stores in the registry so when it is called to uninstall the program, the information still resides in the registry.

  2. kcs3295

    @tejas:

    Open your registry and you will see how many applications M$ records that you have installed or tried even if deleted, or never used – it’s there and documented.

    Wonder who pays M$ to get on the list of their o/s. And just try to delete that entry to protect your activity.

    Everytime you connect to a website, especially M$, you open a door – to their server and to your pc, you go in & they go into your pc, nothing is safe.

    Ken

  3. bill uk

    Outpost firewall pro will show all apps connected to the web, and all ports in use (if thats what one of the previous posters was asking about) Ive been using winpatrol for a couple of years, and it is a must have for any computer user that likes to keep things light.

  4. Al Hall

    @kcs3295:
    kcs3295 said:

    Wonder why GAotD software is bloated to 3.95 megs? None of AnVir products are that large – makes me not want GAotD downloads in my pc.

    Checkout AnVir’s site to see for yourself. dotTech’s download is the normal 3.2x megs.

    It’s probably that new program that GOTD wants to include with every download: “Software Informer”.

  5. kcs3295

    Wonder why GAotD software is bloated to 3.95 megs? None of AnVir products are that large – makes me not want GAotD downloads in my pc.

    Checkout AnVir’s site to see for yourself. dotTech’s download is the normal 3.2x megs.

    We need very badly, a program to scan the pc to see all internet enabled applications. Meaning can the software connect to the internet without your knowledge? – a feature that was in prior versions of Norton System Works Pro in 2002. You could scan your pc and block access for any application to do so.

    Keep a task manager running while on the internet – M$’s task manager automatically stops a whatever task as soon as you open theirs. However those in the know do know that a M$ o/s is spyware.

    Again, thanks for your website, hard work, and reviews.

    Ken

  6. Sputnik

    Hi !

    I agree completely with you, Ashraf, as I habitually do with almost all your comments and reviews…

    I am a french speaking guy and from time to time I like to speak of your website on the french section of GOTD.

    I would like to say I have bought both WinPatrol and Anvir Task Manager Pro : they really are a “must”…

    But because many softs are expensive, I am always looking each day on a website like Iconico http://daily-deals.iconico.com/previews/ to see the new deals : I bought each of the two mentioned softwares on that site at 50% of the regular price.

    It may take some time to see these deals again, but I am sure they will come back again (Anvir, most surely).

    Thank you for all your good work, Ashraf !

  7. J.L.

    I had trouble choosing between the 2 of them before as well, but now decided to keep both.

    I use WinPatrol for security monitoring and as a backup for my HIPS.

    As for AnVir, I use that for resource monitoring, its combined tray icon is especially useful (thanks again for the dotTech freebie!). Also use its balance cpu utilization feature.
    Too bad the windows usability only works on 32-bit programs in my 64-bit system.