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Author Topic: In search of: installation tracker (akin to InCtrl)  (Read 2468 times)
barney
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« on: April 04, 2010, 01:52:07 PM »

Folk,

'Bout a decade and a half ago, PC Magazine published a VB (v3.0, I think) app called inctrl.exe.  It tracked all changes to a PC whenever new software was installed.  It had to be run before and after any given software installation, and was - to me - abominably slow.  But it did find any and all changes made as a result of the tracked installation.  The results could be logged to HTML, and the result reviewed at any later time.  (When I say any and all changes, I mean that it tracked file replacements (e.g., different .dll files), registry changes (both from and to entries, as I recall), new information written to disk, information deleted from disk - or registry, or start menu, or ... - basically, it recorded every single change made on the system.  I even caught a few malware installs in the process of using it.)

I'm trying to find something similar that will work with Win7, preferably both 32- and 64-bit versions - maybe two different app versions, but that won't matter.

The only thing I can find to date is some sort of uninstall software.  Unfortunately, a lot of such software does not create a reader-friendly change log.  And I'm not really looking for uninstall information, per se.  (I'm about to try Total Install - last free version - to see if it will perform to my needs.)

Example.
I've been using Dimio's Task Manager (DTaskManager) for ages.  When I switched to Win7 (32-bit), it quit working - gave an error on startup.  Then something I installed made it start working again.  OK, 1st thought is that some .dll was altered, a different version installed.  Then I installed something else and it started to error out again.  If I had installation tracking logs, I might be able to discern what file was altered that DTaskManager needed to use, and try reverting that file.

There are caveats here, in that the newly installed software might require the version(s) choking DTaskManager, but at least I'd be able to check that, ya know?  Then I'd have to decide which app was more useful to me <groan />.

So, then, I'm not looking for removal capability so much as for any and all changes any given installation makes.

Does that make sense?

Any recommendations?  (BTW, I'm not nearly so concerned with free vs. paid as with functionality:  cost, within reason, is not a significant concern.)
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rjbull
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« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2010, 02:20:42 PM »

I run Total Uninstall Pro on Vista Home Premium.  It gives a lot of information, see screenshot.


* Screenshot - 04_04_2010 , 20_16_10.jpg (64.11 KB, 1049x653 - viewed 190 times.)
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majoMO
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2010, 07:45:33 PM »

I use Snapshot feature in System Explorer - System Snapshots for easy finding of system changes.

You can see several app. about in:
- http://woodmann.com/colla...Registry_Monitoring_Tools
- http://woodmann.com/colla...ry:File_System_Diff_Tools
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barney
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2010, 08:50:40 PM »

If memory serves, System Explorer never quite matched needs.  Mayhap it has improved, but last impressions were that it was wanting.  Perhaps it should be reexamined?  Dunno, but it'll be put on the plate.  <Groan /> So much software, so little time <sigh />.

All-Seeing Eye looks interesting, but it might provide too much information.  And, yes, there is such a thing, unfortunately.
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mouser
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 07:51:41 AM »

Total uninstall is good for this, so is Ashampoo Uninstaller.
Even though they are labeled as "uninstallers" -- a big chunk of what they do is identify changes in file system and registry.
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joiwind
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2010, 05:03:36 PM »

You could check these
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barney
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2010, 07:06:00 PM »

So far, looks as though Total Uninstall is leading the pack.  I'm still testing, bleary-eyed & sleep-deprived, but TU has given me the best information so far, and has not given a confusing amount of irrelevant [to my purpose] detail.

@joiwind, thanks for the RaymondCC link.  I'm RSSed to his blog in Google Reader, but either I missed this one or it {didn't feed | was dropped}.  Most of his stuff is pretty good, so I'll add his referrals to the test board. 

Using something like a double-elimination tournament chart to find best result ... hopefully, that will prevent my fallin' in love with a particular GUI <chortle />.
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