XP automatic updates

There are several programs on my PC that use automatic update logic. They run periodically to fetch updates they might need from their server. Is there any way I can tell which programs on my PC do this?

Also, isn’t this feature VERY dangerous for the PC user? Couldn’t one of these automatic update programs be sending my private information to their server? Also, couldn’t their server easily be hacked to download ugly programs to my PC?

Norton Internet Security gives me a little pop up anytime something on my computer tries to access the internet. But I suppose there is freeware out there for this purpose.

ZoneAlarm from Zone Labs will also serve as an “outbound” firewall, and not allow programs to update without your permission. Unfortunately, every version of ZoneAlarm I’ve used also has a flaw that causes it to occasionally devour processor cycles (usually when I’m doing something else important). If you can live with the occasional hassle of having to kill the ZA process and restart your machine, then it’s a good solution.

Many programs, like WinXP itself, will check for updates but not download them without your permission.

And of course, I’ve allowed updates for all sorts of software and never had a problem. I will say that if I have to download RealPlayer for something, I bring all of my defenses up first, trundle the damned thing inside my walls, use it for what I need it for, uninstall it, and then use WinXP to restore back to the previous day’s configuration.

I would be extremely PO’ed if I found a program that did automatic updates without having an option to turn it off. Check your programs to see if they have options for automatic updates.

As someone else has said, ZoneAlarm (or others of the same ilk) should tell you if a program is going out to the Internet when you don’t expect it to.

I keep automatic updates turned off, because I like being in control of my computer :slight_smile: , but if you take that route, make sure you regularly check for updates for any security-related software (firewall, antivirus, Windows itself, etc.)

In my “Scheduled Tasks” I see only Norton, or more precisely “Semantec NetDetect” with multiple schedule times, so that’s somewhat reassuring. I also don’t see anything too suspicious looking in my Task Manager.

I guess what kind of got me freaked was when I signed up for a “networked” poker game. It seems to me they have a daemon (sorry, unix nomenclature), that runs on XP to communicate your “plays” with everyone else playing on the table. I’m not sure I should trust any old daemon I download.