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How to use Application Control software for Windows to protect your PC

Anyone who uses Windows PCs has opened up the Windows Task Manager and found all kinds of strange applications that seem to be doing all kinds of strange things.

Is it normal for svchost.exe to have 12 instances that use up all your memory? What exactly is MsMpEng.exe and why did Microsoft decide to capitalize some of its letters, but not others? Why does Slack launch squirrel.exe on every software update?

Application Control Software

Detecting unusual application behavior

Application Control Notification Malicious thinking emoji SPYSHELTER WINDOWS APPLICATION CONTROL ALERT

Mysterious Windows processes behaving mysteriously is one reason we created SpyShelter. So people like you can see what applications are doing on their PCs, then prevent them from doing things they shouldn’t.

Over the years, we’ve caught executables silently installing other adware executables, adding themselves to the Windows startup area, using up all our resources, and even causing our PCs to completely blue screen!

Stopping bad apps with Application Control


So, what can you do to control the behavior of Windows applications on your PC so they work for you, not against you? It’s your PC, shouldn’t it be your rules? That’s where SpyShelter’s powerful PC Application Controls come into play… With SpyShelter’s Application Control features you can control what PC apps start and when, and you can even make rules about what they can and can’t do.

Let me give you an example…

Let’s imagine you just installed a popular Windows app or game, and everything looks great so far! You think you’re enjoying your new game or app with no problems…

But then you launch your web browser and find it has been taken over by some kind of hideous search bar… That’s wonderful, isn’t it? Unfortunately, many popular apps now have hidden “bundles” or silent toolbars that install without your knowledge.

But with SpyShelter’s application controls this could have been completely avoided. As soon as the secondary ad executable launched SpyShelter’s Application Control Alert could have denied the adware/toolbar from ever even starting!

Stopping registry changes with app behavior controls


Or, here’s another example of a scary situation… Not only can SpyShelter control Windows applications from starting, but it can control what they are allowed to do. One part of the Windows system that can cause problems for your PC is the Windows Registry. Did you know most apps have complete access to the Windows Registry and can do whatever they want to it? This can result in all kinds of nefarious activities.

A few examples of things malware can do with your registry to cause you harm are:

  • 1. Change what apps are and aren’t allowed to start up with Windows.
  • 2. Change your Windows file associations so certain types of files can be used to launch malware.
  • 3. Completely disable your antivirus.

You can avoid this situation by going to the SpyShelter “Protection” screen, then turning on our “Registry Integrity Control” feature.

Other Windows app behaviors you can control


What other application behaviors can you control, besides just allowing and denying executables to run?

SpyShelter can allow or deny the following application behaviors with Windows:

  • • Windows Registry Access (as mentioned previously)
  • • New Windows Services
  • • New Windows Drivers
  • • Injections into other executables
  • • Access to certain files and folders

Whenever you allow or deny an application behavior, it makes a rule with SpyShelter. Go to the bottom SpyShelter “Rule” tab to see all your current rules, and modify them if necessary.

Application Control Rules Interface Example

The SpyShelter rules are a great place to quickly see and audit what all the processes (executables) have been doing on your PC. Look on the right side of the screen to see icons for what all the apps have been up to. Mouse over the right site behavioral icons to see what they represent.

Application Behavior Control Calculator Example

In the case above you can see that the executable accessed the registry, and that this has been allowed by SpyShelter. In the case below you can see that the application has been blocked from launching at all.

Application Behavior Control Calculator Blocked Example

Using Windows Application Control for free

Our basic Application Control feature will always be free for non-commercial use, and it always works even after our free trial period ends. You can continue to make rules about what apps are allowed to run on your PC indefinitely with SpyShelter’s free Application Control and Application Behavior Control features.

We also give away our antikeylogger feature for free for non-commercial use also, just go under “Protect” again to switch it on and off.

If you’re ready to try Application Control’s for Windows PCs, download our SpyShelter software for free to get started.

Why should you trust us?

Our team at SpyShelter has been studying Windows PC executables for over 15 years, to help fight against spyware, malware, and other threats. SpyShelter has been featured in publications like The Register, PC Magazine, and many others. Now we’re working to share free, actionable, and easy to understand information about Windows executables (processes) with the world, to help as many people as possible keep their devices safe. Learn more about us on our "About SpyShelter” page.

Have any questions? Please join our free public SpyShelter PC Security Forum and talk cybersecurity with our USA-based team. We love talking about PC Security and we’d like to get to know you.

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