System Change Log

System Change Log 3.1

Free
A free system service that monitors and logs your file system's activities
 
3.1b.20100604 (See all)

System Change Log is a security software tool that installs a system service whose purpose is to record all the activity that takes place on your disks' file system and report it in a much easier way than the standard Windows auditing system does. System Change Log is totally independent from the standard Windows service, though they can complement each other when both are active.

This program does not install any shortcuts on your desktop or quick launch area, but you can access its configuration application through the Windows Control Panel. Of course, you can also manually start and stop the service, or configure it to run automatically when Windows starts, the same way as any other system services.

Its configuration tool consists of a classic standard window with a tabbed design that allows you to access the different configurable areas of the service - Paths, Files, Text log, Event viewer, CSV (comma-separated values), Syslog, and Statistics. Among the most important and useful attributes you can configure, I should mention the ones included in the Paths tab, where you can select what specific folders or drives the service should monitor, and what actions to track, including file creation, deletion, change, rename, attribute changes, NTFS stream changes, and security changes. You can also track user information (who did what) if the Windows standard auditing service is active.

In the Files tab, you can configure what kind of files should be monitored and what paths or file types should be excluded. You can use wildcards (e.g. *.* or *.tmp). The text log tab permits you to choose the log level, the maximum log file size, whether it should be rolled or not, and how frequently. The Event viewer allows you to open the Windows standard event viewer applet, while CSV lets you activate or deactivate the usage of comma-separated values - very useful to export the log information to other more complex formats, like spreadsheets or databases.

Finally, Syslog tab allows you to specify a destination address in a syslog listening server for you to send your logs, and the Statistics tab presents summarized information about the service's usage and any NTFS changes. System Change Log is definitely an excellent software tool, which provides a very important service and very helpful information about your file system. However, there is a confusing detail about this program - on its home webpage, it offers a 30-days trial version and a commercial one, but once you download the trial, you will discover that the program is actually free for personal use.

Ricardo Soria
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Independent
  • Fully compatible with standard Windows auditing service
  • Fully configurable
  • Behaves as any other system service

Cons

  • It offers a trial version that is actually a free one
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