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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…” [1] article you recommend WinPatrol [2] for use as a System Monitor, and mention AnVir Task Manager [3] 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 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 [4]

The dotTech exclusive freebie [5] which any dotTechie can get for free is AnVir Task Manager [6] – the $39.95 shareware edition.

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

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 [7]

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:

***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:

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

AnVir Task Manager [6]

WinPatrol [8]