Yes, you're correct. I don't trust him.
October 21, 2006 9:13 AM   Subscribe

I want to monitor activity on my computer, but I'm totally at a loss. Can you recommend any software?

My brother's friends are occupying my laptop when I'm not around and I don't trust them. However, instead of just password protecting my laptop, the kitten in me is very curious. I want to know what those boys are doing on my laptop when there's several computers and laptops in the house.

My firefox "history" only records web pages, my yahoo only archives conversations - just those aren't good enough. Is there some sort of (DECENT) self-installed nonspammy spy"ware" out there that will track movements on a PC? I want to be able to see a record of everything that is done on this computer when I'm not on it. When the email is checked, when files are accessed, that sort.

I don't really care about blocking access to the laptop. If it's warranted, I can password protect the computer or just keep it in my room so others can't use it. I'm just curious about what's being looked at on my computer.
posted by damnjezebel to Technology (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Spector Pro, Frys usually sells it you can download it also I think
posted by Maddcovv at 9:15 AM on October 21, 2006

If you are letting Firefox save passwords I would use the option to set a master password (Tools - Options) or they might end up with every sensitive password in your life. There's a View Passwords button that shows all of your passwords in plain text. If I wanted to snoop on someone, this is the first place I would look.
posted by bda1972 at 10:12 AM on October 21, 2006

Best answer: You know you aren't curious. You know what those boys are doing. They are doing what all boys of a certain age are using computers to do.

Curiosity didn't kill the cat but it sure as hell mortified her for life.

Still, if you insist on proceeding, I would recommend that you Google for 'key stroke recorder', install one and then imagine why most of those key strokes would be typed into input fields on a web browser.

Amatuer espionage is always more about self-revelation than it is digging up dirt on others.

Welcome to the rabbit hole. Sometimes these obsessions turn into careers.
posted by saf at 10:58 AM on October 21, 2006

Most all keyloggers these days will record what apps are open and what file is open.

Unfortunately I can't recommend a specific one now... but a a few years ago I used STARR as my personal keylogger. Haven't used one in a long time.

At the time STARR was fantastic, hidden, and very, very accurate. It also generated nice HTML output.
posted by fake at 12:09 PM on October 21, 2006

As fake said, keyloggers are the way to go. I used one on my desktop (can't remember what it was called) about 8 years ago and discoved things I wished I hadn't known.

Several free/shareware keyloggers here.
posted by special-k at 1:36 PM on October 21, 2006

I've been using this one on my kids PCs.
simple to configure, and doesn't hide itself at all. IT's in the process tab and the logs are readily accessible.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:26 PM on October 21, 2006

Are you going to tell them that you have tracking software installed? Or are you basically tricking them into thinking using your laptop is okay so you can spy on them?

How would you like to be spied on when you think you're safe?

If you do this, you have an obligation to tell them that their use of your laptop is being tracked.
posted by evariste at 12:36 AM on October 22, 2006

you have an obligation to tell them that their use of your laptop is being tracked.

Naaah, if she tells them not to use her laptop, then they shouldn't expect to be safe when doing so. You have told them not to, right?
posted by grouse at 2:33 AM on October 22, 2006

Here is a thought, maybe they've installed a keylogger on your computer to see what YOU do on it. If you want to know for sure, install one of your own.

Now that would be interesting, your keylogger catching them using a keylogger on you.
posted by ChazB at 10:57 AM on October 22, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the recommendations, ya'll. I'm going to look into them all this week and if I remember, I'll post with my choice.

evariste, they know not to get on my laptop, especially when we have so many computers in the house. Since they do know not to get on it, and since it's my laptop, I really don't see why I need to tell them that anything's on the laptop tracking them.
posted by damnjezebel at 5:53 PM on October 31, 2006

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