Automation

Disable WPAD in Windows to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks

Web Proxy Auto-Discovery (WPAD) gives organizations a way to automatically configure a proxy server on your system. Windows enables this setting by default. Here’s why that’s a problem.

WPAD is really useful when an organization like your company or school needs to configure a proxy server for your connection to their network. It saves you from having to set things up yourself. However, WPAD can cause problems should you connect to a malicious public Wi-FI network. With WPAD enabled, that Wi-Fi network can automatically configure a proxy server in Windows. All your web browsing traffic would be routed through the proxy server while you’re connected to the Wi-Fi network—potentially exposing sensitive data. Most operating systems support WPAD. The problem is that in Windows, WPAD is enabled by default. It’s a potentially dangerous setting, and it should not be enabled unless you really need it.

WPAD, Explained

Proxy servers—not to be confused with virtual private networks (VPNs)—are sometimes required to browse the web on some business or school networks. When you configure a proxy server on your system, your system will send your browsing traffic through the proxy server rather than directly to the websites you visit. This allows organizations to perform web filtering and caching, and may be necessary to bypass the firewalls on some networks.

The WPAD protocol is designed to allow organizations to easily provide proxy settings to all devices that connect to the network. The organization can place a WPAD configuration file in a standard place, and when WPAD is enabled, your computer or other device checks to see if there’s WPAD proxy information provided by the network. Your device then automatically uses whatever settings the proxy auto-configuration (PAC) file provides, sending all traffic on the current network through the proxy server.

Windows vs. Other Operating Systems

While WPAD might be a useful feature on some business and school networks, it can cause big problems on public Wi-Fi networks. You don’t want your computer to automatically configure a proxy…

How to Set Your Kodi Library to Automatically Update

Kodi can make your massive media collection easy to browse and play, but adding new media is a bit of a chore. By default, you need to manually tell the program to re-scan your folders every time you add something, which is annoying if you add new media regularly. Isn’t there a way to automate this?

Yes: there are three options. Here they are, listed in terms of how easy they are to set up:

  1. Tell Kodi to update the library every time it starts up. This doesn’t require any add-ons, but only works if you close and open Kodi regularly.
  2. Use Library Auto-Update, a lightweight add-on that re-scans folders on a timer you set. This is ideal if you don’t restart Kodi regularly, but still want routine updates.
  3. Use Watchdog, a slightly heavier add-on that monitors folders and adds new files in real time. This is ideal if you are constantly adding new media, but takes up a lot of system resources and might prove unstable.

None of these methods are particularly complicated, but the two add-ons are going to require a bit more effort, with Watchdog being the most work. In exchange for more complication, each option gives more flexibility than the last, so it’s worth going over all three.

Our recommendation: choose the least complicated option that does what you want.

Option One: Update Kodi’s Library When the Program Launches

Kodi can, without any add-ons, re-scan your library every time it starts up. To get started, click the Settings gear from the home screen.

Next, head to Media Settings.

From here you’ll find the option to scan the library on startup. Note that there is a different option for Videos and Music.

Toggle those two options and your done: Kodi will now update the library every time you start it up. If that’s all you want, you don’t need to do anything else.

Option Two: Update on a Timer with Library Auto-Update

Some people rarely, if ever, restart Kodi, putting the computer to sleep instead of shutting it down. If that’s you, re-scanning the library probably isn’t good enough. Library Auto-Update is a Kodi add-on that lets you set a schedule for re-scanning your library. The add-on is lightweight, too—all it does…