If you need an advanced tool to track changes in a folder or directory, look no further than DirectoryMonitor The program comes in many forms, one of which is completely free. The free version can handle the monitoring tasks for most people, but if you need more features, you can either purchase them from the menu, or you can buy the Pro version for $ 99, which includes everything.
Again, the free version of the program does a great job of monitoring and was more than adequate for my needs. In this article, I will show you how to set it up and show you what it can do. For your information, this program does not record the actual change in the contents of the files, but only the fact that the files / folders have been changed, added, removed or renamed.
Download the program and install it. During installation, you will see a window where you can select specific components.
You can leave them all checked, but if you are not planning to buy the program, you can uncheck certain options such as the Grid Log, Sounds, Emailer and Database plugins. These four plugins can be purchased separately within the program at prices ranging from $ 5 to $ 20 each.
After installation, click the “Add” button in the upper right corner, or click “Directories” and then click “Add”. You should now see the main Add Folder dialog box.
Here you can select all the options, of which there are quite a few. First, select the directory you want to monitor. The best thing about this program is that you can monitor local or network directories in the free version. For network directories, you can add a username and password if necessary.
In the “Events” section, you can choose to track the appearance of new files, changes, deletions, renaming and file access. In the Options section, you can choose to monitor only the top-level directory or all subdirectories if you like. You can also track any changes to file attributes and security settings. There is a small padlock next to the Pro or paid options. Finally, you can choose whether you want to monitor only directories, only files, or both.
If you click on “Text Log”, you can proceed, enable logging and select the output format you want. The log file will contain the same data as in the text mode log on the main page of the program.
On the Run tab, you can choose to run the application when an event occurs. This can be useful if you want to run a command line program or script that enters information into a database, etc. The Sounds, Email, and Database tabs are additional paid options if you really want to. needed.
After adding a folder, you will see it in the top window with a green check mark. This means that monitoring is currently underway. You can now test this by adding, renaming and modifying files and folders. You can see above that I created a new file at 5:34 am called New Text Document.txt and then renamed it New File.txt. I think I modified it and accessed the file several times.
As I mentioned earlier, this program does not grab the contents of the files, so you cannot see what I added to the text file, only that I modified it several times. Another limitation of the free version is that you cannot use it in the background as a Windows service unless you purchase the PRO version. This means that you must keep the application running on your computer at all times. Luckily, you can close it and it will just move to the notification area on the taskbar.
Another slightly annoying limitation I found was that you get a lot of changed events without showing exactly what the cause was. For example, when you open a file and save it with or without changes, you get a Modified event, which makes sense. However, if you change the permissions on a file or any property, such as Hidden or Read Only, you also get Modified. It would be more helpful if it informs you that a permission has been changed or a file / folder property has been changed.
Overall, however, the program does a great job of informing you when something is happening to a file or folder. The program is updated very often and new functions are constantly added. They also seem to be listening to their customers on the forums because some of the new features that are coming are direct requests from forum users. If you are familiar with programming, you can also write your own plugins, although you need to buy the PRO version for that.
If you are trying to set up a specific type of monitoring, please let us know in the comments and we will try to help you with any difficulties. Enjoy!