SysInternals – Two Monitor Programs

Nov. 9th Update:Microsoft has completed the merger of SysInternals into it’s internal TechNet area. Along with that they’ve renamed the old Process Monitor to Process Explorer. They have a new Process Monitor tool that combines the functionality of the two tools I mention below. Both tools below are still available, but you should also take a look at the new Process Monitor to see if it will better suit your needs.


How many times have you watched your hard drive light flicker and wondered “What the heck is banging my hard disk?” Well FileMon will help you figure this out. FileMon simply displays all the applications that are accessing your drives.

[Picture of FileMon.]

As you can see in the sample above, you can monitor all the items that are reading and writing to your disks. You can use filters in case there’s a particular program or programs you are interested in. The filters are nice in that you can use either includes (I only want to see…) or excludes (I want to see everything but…). Additionally you can save the output to a log so you can analyze it later.

Along the same lines is RegMon. RegMon is a Registry Monitor that will give you info on what is accessing your registry. Like FileMon there are filters and logging capability.

[Picture of RegMon.]

Two great monitoring tools to help you with debugging, and like all the SysInternals tools, free for the taking.

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BSDA

We interrupt this blog with a brief message of flagrant self promotion… On Thursday, November 9th at 6:30 p.m. I will be giving a presentation to the Birmingham Software Developer’s Association (http://www.bsda.info/). My presentation will focus on the tools I’ve been talking about in this blog. There will also be some hardware mentioned, my talk is designed to get you to think about ways to make your life as a developer or power user easier.

Consider this an open invitation to everyone to come on out and see me speak. See the website referenced above for directions and locations. Hope to see you there!

Robert (aka Arcane Code)

SysInternals – BgInfo

I work in a lot of Virtual PCs and remotely controlled pc’s via Remote Desktop. It’s gets confusing at times determining which PC I’m working in, especially when I step away for more coffee/hot tea or am interrupted.

BgInfo has really helped with this issue. It takes your current desktop (in my example I just have a plain black background) and overlays current system info, as is seen on my desktop below.

[Picture of my desktop with BgInfo's information on it.]

You can pick and choose the details you want to display, and reorder them in any order you want, using the interface.

[Picture of BgInfo's configuration screen.]

You can also configure BgInfo to run at every startup, or launch it at your convienience. In my normal day to day setup I selected half a dozen of the most useful items to display, but for my example above I left everything in.

Again, a very useful tool if you are in and out of virtual or remotely controlled machines every day.