How can I track a Window application's install process?
July 19, 2005 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Anybody know of a good Windows utility for monitoring the activities of program installation software? Most importantly what gets written to disk (file writes and registry entries), but a log of the installation program's net activity would be a bonus.

I'm familiar with filemon and regmon from, but I'm thinking there must be something out there written for this exact task, since it seems like lots of people would be interested in exactly what these programs are doing to their machine.
posted by iconjack to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
two tools from sysinternals will help you. this will let you look at file i/o and this will let you watch registry read/writes. word of warning, many other programs are reading/writing to the disk/registry so you will have to shut of unneeded services and apply a filter.

there used to be a microsoft tool called sysdiff that you could run to see differences before/after install. i think it's now called wininstall.
posted by toomuch at 7:10 PM on July 19, 2005

sorry i didn't see you had already seen sysinternals, my bad
posted by toomuch at 7:10 PM on July 19, 2005

i feel like such an ass for posting without reading the full question. here is the answer you seek.
posted by toomuch at 7:17 PM on July 19, 2005

What I really like about AskMe is all the answers to questions I hadn't thought to ask. If these things work, I owe toomuch a beer for answering, and iconjack another one for asking.
posted by flabdablet at 9:02 PM on July 19, 2005

regmon and filemon are nice, don't get me wrong, but they're low-level utilities designed to do, basically, one thing pretty well. There's also the Windows Resource Kit tool sysdiff. But.

There are hundreds, literally, of freeware, shareware, and professional utilities that will take system snapshots, monitor registry changes, and even permit selective rollbacks.

Back in the day (when I was a highly paid IT consultant, instead of broke and exiled like I am now) we used this to QA the setup routines created by our client's developers, by running the setup.exe inside a snapshot-taker on different network configurations it might encounter. We'd get a list of registry changes, errors encountered, DLLs (literally every file) added, and so on. Made troubleshooting a breeze (the hard part was getting the developers to admit to a fault :D).
posted by dhartung at 9:27 PM on July 19, 2005

I bought QuarterDeck CleanSweep many years ago for my Windows 95 desktop and am still using it. I don't know if it still exists as a product.
posted by intermod at 9:39 PM on July 19, 2005

InCtrl. It is/was a freebie from Ziff-Davis, not sure which magazine. Excellent little tool.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:54 PM on July 19, 2005

Yes, seconding In Control. It creates a log of the machines state before the installation (files & registry) then creates a log after installation, then compares the two and spits out the difference.
posted by Four Flavors at 10:00 AM on July 20, 2005

« Older, shit   |   Das Liebe Boot Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.