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Tools: Monitoring

Install Monitor

Install Monitor is free for personal and home use

Install Monitor works by monitoring what resources such as file and registry are created when a program is installed. This allows you to see what impact installing a program has and helps you to remove it if necessary.

WWW Web Site with additional information and download

InCtrl5

InCtrl5 is a paid download from PC Magazine

InCtrl5 is a powerful utility that has three different tracking modes to handle all types of install programs, including those that restart Windows. It supports Windows 9x, Me, NT, 2000 and XP.

The Delphi 5 source code is also available.

WWW Visit PC Magazine Online to get more information and download InCtrl5

Monitor File System Activity

Process Monitor

Process Monitor is a freeware tool written by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell

Process Monitor is the successor to SysInternals' FileMon. It monitors and displays all file system and registry activity on a system and has powerful filtering capabilities.

WWW Visit the Windows SysInternals web site to download Process Monitor

You can also launch Process Monitor without installation directly from SysInternals Live

Monitor Registry Accesses

InstallShield RegSpyUI

InstallShield includes a tool that monitors the registration process of COM servers. It is a UI front end that uses the same technology that InstallShield uses for COM extraction. It doesn't use device drivers and doesn't touch the registry. RegSpyUI.exe can be found in the <InstallShield program folder>\Support directory. It is not available as stand alone tool (but is included in the evaluation version of InstallShield). RegSpyUI is included with InstallShield versions 7.02 or higher (except InstallShield Professional 7). Note that this tool is not formally supported by InstallShield.

Process Monitor

Process Monitor is a freeware tool written by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell

Process Monitor is the successor to SysInternals' RegMon. It monitors and displays all registry and file system activity on a system and has powerful filtering capabilities.

WWW Visit the Windows SysInternals web site to download Process Monitor

You can also launch Process Monitor without installation directly from SysInternals Live

Resplendent Registrar

Resplendent Registrar is a commercial product by Resplendence Sp.

In the first place Registrar is a registry editor with with all the features you would expect and a handy user interface. What makes it different from other such tools is it ability to detect Read (and of course also Write) accesses to the registry. With the help of Registrar you can find out where in registry an application is looking for information, so your setup program can put it in the correct location.

WWW Visit the Resplendence Sp. home page to download a 21 day trial version of Resplendent Registrar

RegSnap

RegSnap is a shareware tool by Vitas Ramanchaukas

RegSnap is a registry analyzing tool that helps you analyze changes made to the Windows system Registry. You can compare saved snapshots and learn which keys were modified, deleted, or added. RegSnap is also able to analyze other sensetive system parts: list of files in Windows and Windows System directories, win.ini and system.ini files, autoexec.bat and config.sys.

WWW Visit RegSnap homepage and download RegSnap evaluation version

RegSpy

This program (formerly known as RegIt) captures COM registration entries for DLLs, OCXs and EXE COM servers. In general, it works by using the RegOverridePredefKey on Windows 2000 to redirect registry entries to another registry area.

  1. It takes the path to the Dll as a command line argument.
  2. Loads the Dll and looks for DllRegisterServer to call.
  3. Redirects HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE registry entries to
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Unisys\Registry\<dllname>\HKCR and
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Unisys\Registry\<dllname>\HKLM.

In contrast to other registry monitor solutions it doesn't need any drivers. Source code is included in the package.
RegSpy can output a .reg file for import in MSI authoring tools. Source code requires Visual Studio .NET 2003.

ZIP RegSpy2.zip   Written by Phil Wilson and Justin Buist
File size: 75.964 bytes   Last update: 2003-10-28

Original version (source code works with Visual Studio 6.0):
ZIP RegSpy.zip   Written by Phil Wilson
File size: 19.488 bytes   Last update: 2001-10-26

Self-Registration Monitor

This a command line tool that allows monitoring of self-registration activity; its output is a .REG file of the activity that took place. There is a switch (/i) that you can use to ignore any HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT activity, which is useful if your COM server registers other settings besides the COM information. The program works for both for inproc servers (.dll, .ocx) and for local servers (.exe).

The program only runs on NT/2000. It needs the Regsys.sys driver that you can download from the SysInternals web site. (The authors of the driver do not allow to include it in the package.) It supports version 4.32 of RegMon. Package includes source code.

ZIP srm13.zip   Written by Friedrich Brunzema
File size: 44.349 bytes   Last update: 2001-02-28

Monitor an Install Program Without Using Any (Expensive) Tools

Finding out what files have been copied/updated by another install program is very easy when you know how.

  1. First of all, take a 'clean' machine, i.e. one that has only got an operating system on it.
  2. Make a dump of the file list.  This can be done by typing
    DIR c:\*.* /s/one >c:\before.txt
  3. Open REGEDIT.EXE and go to Registry->Export Registry File and save the registry as
    c:\before.reg
  4. Install the product that you want to monitor
  5. Make another dump of the file list by typing
    DIR c:\*.* /s/one >c:\after.txt
  6. Open REGEDIT.EXE and go to Registry->Export Registry File, as before, and save the registry as c:\after.reg

You now have all the information required to find out everything about the program that you installed

Open up a decent text editor (like multi-edit) and find the feature that lets you compare files, or perform a difference report.  The two .txt files are sorted into alphabetical order, so any additions appear as extra in the second file. Any files missing will show up too. The files are listed with their date and time, so any version upgrades are conspicuous too.

Comparing the two registry files will produce similar results, but bear in mind that self-registering files tend to make lots of entries.

You can also use WinDiff to compare these files. WinDiff is part of the Windows 98 Resource Kit or can be downloaded as part of the Microsoft Platform SDK.

Written by Carl Bennett

 

 

 

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