Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 07, 2016, 04:38:02 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: SysExporter - (Screen-scraping) Export data from Windows controls - Mini-Review  (Read 12895 times)

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,139
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Originally posted:2012-11-16
Last updated2016-09-30

Basic Info
App NameSysExporter
(View and export data from Windows controls)
Thumbs-Up Rating :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:
App URLhttp://www.nirsoft.net/utils/sysexp.html
App Version Reviewed$FREE v1.61 > v1.75 (64-bit). There is also a parallel 32-bit version.
Test System SpecsWin 7-64 HP, Win8.1-64 PRO, Win10-64 PRO
Supported OSesCompatible with Win 64-bit/32-bit.
Support MethodsDownload and Support: http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/sysexp.html[/url]
Help file: comes with the software.
Upgrade PolicyUpgrades are $FREE and loaded to the above website.
Trial Version Available?$FREE - as reviewed in this review. (PayPal Donations accepted)
There is no PAID version.
Pricing Scheme$FREE version only. Donations welcome.

Intro and Overview:
There is a general problem in Windows OSes - one that has been a continuing source of frustration to me and probably many others - that many System and application displays often contain really useful data that is effectively "protected" from being copied/used.
Here is a perfect example of this general problem, from a 2007 post by @Jimdoria in the DC Forum: IDEA: Grab contents of an on-screen list
Spoiler
Quote
IDEA: Grab contents of an on-screen list
I know this one is pretty simple, but I haven't been able to work it out in AHK myself yet, so I thought I'd post it.
I have several programs that display information in a standard list view, but make it difficult to get at that information in a format I can work with. I'm working with a couple of programs that use a binary format when they save the list data to disk. I can manually go through and scrape the list data out of the binary file, but it's drudgery.
It would be nice to have a tool that would let you click on a visible list view, and would "suck up" the entire list and place it on the clipboard. You could then paste it into a text editor and do whatever was needed to it.
Options might include whether to separate list columns with commas, tabs, or a custom character.

I had been looking for a way to capture the data from the Windows update history display (this is on a laptop with Win7-64), to put into a database, so that I could analyse the history for failed updates. Looking through the display manually was becoming a tedious experience due to its functional limitations, and I wanted to automate/filter the analysis as much as possible.
I am a long-time ad hoc user of NirSoft utilities, but I had completely missed the relevance of his proggie SysExporter until today, when I read this post: How to Print the Windows Update History in Vista
I went to the NirSoft website and downloaded and installed the 64-bit version of SysExporter (file: sysexp-x64.zip) - there is a 32-bit version also.
There is no installer. Just open the .ZIP file, and then Copy and Paste the files into a suitable directory, and SysExporter runs from there.

Description: (copied from the Help file)
SysExporter utility allows you to grab the data stored in standard list-views, tree-views, list boxes, combo boxes, text-boxes, and WebBrowser/HTML controls from almost any application running on your system, and export it to text, HTML or XML file.
Here's some examples for data that you can export with SysExporter:
  • The files list inside archive file (.zip, .rar, and so on) as displayed by WinZip or 7-Zip File Manager.
  • The files list inside a folder.
  • The event log of Windows. (This was the sort of thing I was interested in.)
  • The list of emails and contacts in Outlook Express.
  • The Registry values displayed in the right pane of the Registry Editor.
  • The data displayed by SysInternals utilities (Registry Monitor, File Monitor, Process Explorer, and others.)
  • The text inside a standard message-box of Windows.
  • The HTML inside any instance of Internet Explorer.

The first two images below show my use of the SysExporter GUI, with the Control Panel Windows update history display in the background.
The SysExporter dual-pane display shows the open application Windows and associated objects in the top pane, and the details of the selected objects in the lower pane.
The Windows update history display has been selected in the upper pane, and its contents are displayed in the lower pane (1,152 lines of updates).
I selected all 1,152 lines in the lower pane, pressed Ctrl+C (Copy) - which puts the lines into the Clipboard (comma delimited) - and then I pasted the Clipboard contents into an Excel spreadsheet and filtered for the problematic update I was concerned about (KB2667402 had had many recurring failures) and Status="Successful", and sorted on the date column. I could then see the dates when update KB2667402 had been successful.
This only took just a few seconds. Simple, easy, painless, and certain.

(Note that the pasted data in Excel contains embedded question marks in the date field. These were also visible in the lower pane of SysExporter, though they are not apparent in the Control Panel Windows update history display. Notice how the column headings have also been captured in Excel.)
EDIT - 2013-01-04: I later discovered the menu Option to select "Remove Question Mark Characters".    :-[

SysExporter - 01 sysexp + Windows update history(800).png

SysExporter - 02 Excel paste + sort.png

The next image shows the same approach, where I captured the data displayed by SysExporter about some music files listed in one of my file manager (xplorer²) windows. Rather nice. (Again, the embedded question marks - this time in the bitrate field). Notice how the column headings have also been captured in Excel.
SysExporter - 03 Excel paste + sort 2.png

Who this software is designed for:
  • The general problem - in Windows OSes, many System and application displays often contain really useful data that is effectively "protected" from being copied/used - is addressed by SysExporter.
  • Anyone who has encountered this problem will probably find that SysExporter shows many potential uses and has a profoundly simple elegance in the way it provides a solution.

The Good:
  • Does exactly what it was designed to do, and effectively.
  • Enables you to save time by accessing data simply and easily, when before it may have been extremely cumbersome or almost impossible to unlock the data and use it.

The needs improvement section:
(Nothing to comment on here.)

Why I think you should use this product:
Save time. Make better use of the data provided by the system/applications on your Windows-based computer.
Overcome the system constraints. Do what you couldn't do with your data before!

How it compares to similar products:
I do not have any knowledge or experience of comparable tools to SysExporter, though it has been mentioned along with other products, elsewhere in the DC Forum:
For example:

Conclusions:
SysExporter is arguably the proverbial answer to a maiden's prayer for those who, like me, suffer from the general problem in Windows OSes - that many System and application displays often contain really useful data that is effectively "protected" from being copied/used.
Suffer no more.
There may  be other, similar solutions that I am unaware of, but SysExporter is extremely effective.

Links to other info sources/reviews of this application:
Per the link given above: How to Print the Windows Update History in Vista
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 01:58:37 PM by IainB »

tomos

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 10,325
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Sounds like a handy one to have around :up:

Makes me realise that I havent had any problems with windows in a long time.
For that reason, the following is very vague:

IIRC, in the past, with a problem app (or maybe a problem with the OS), I got a box showing a report about a mile long - non-copyable. Again, IIRC, this was going to be sent to MS. After a bit of rooting around, I saw a way of finding the text file (with all that info) in the temp folder.

Sys-Exporter sounds like it has that covered as well.
Tom

rjbull

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 2,927
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
You saved me the effort of finding the references to those other programs  :)

There's a somewhat similar thread, dating to 2007: IDEA: Grab contents of an on-screen list.  It contains a skrommel AHK script, CopyListView.ahk.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,139
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
You saved me the effort of finding the references to those other programs  :)
There's a somewhat similar thread, dating to 2007: IDEA: Grab contents of an on-screen list.  It contains a skrommel AHK script, CopyListView.ahk.

There's a veritable mine of information in those old DCF posts, and I did also see the item about CopyListView.ahk - and had meant to mention that opening post as an example of what I called "the general problem".
(I am about to rectify have rectified the omission now by updating the OP.)

By the way, it's probably a good job that you mentioned that particular IDEA thread, as I then went back and read the whole thing through (I did not do that before).
Though I had reckoned that CopyListView was ahead of its time (developed in 2007), I now see (having missed it before) that @JoTo recommends a then current version of SysExporter as an alternative solution.
I thought that was odd, because, if it wasn't then, then CopyListView would now probably be effectively rendered redundant/obsolete by the use of SysExporter.    :tellme:

Incidentally, I am still discovering/trying out further useful applications of SysExporter - the latest being in analysing the data about all the tasks in Task Scheduler. Take a look at Task Scheduler in SysExporter and you will probably see what I mean - you can get a sort of "flat file" view of all the tasks, which you can then (say) export to Excel for analysis.
I am considering the use of an MS Access database as an alternative/comparison to using Excel for this sort of analysis, but I suspect that Excel will probably win in terms of ease-of-use and flexibility. Still, suck-it-and see to find out.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2012, 05:12:20 PM by IainB, Reason: Minor correction. »

rjbull

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 2,927
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
I think you can cross off Kleptomania.  I couldn't get it to work on Vista Home Premium with UAC On, and the Web site http://www.structurise.com/ doesn't work any more.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,139
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Minor updates to the review in the opening post, and added this edit note:

EDIT - 2013-01-04 I later discovered the menu Option to select "Remove Question Mark Characters".    :-[

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,139
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
I had occasion to use this proggy again today and thought I should update the review  with the latest version number - v1.72
This is such an incredibly useful tool when you need it.   :Thmbsup:
NirSoft's software is a veritable mine of generally useful Swiss Army Knife-type applications.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,139
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Somebody PM'd me with the question: (my emphasis)
Quote
I have downloaded the SysExporter but I cant get the number of pages of the files in my folder.

I'm not absolutely sure that I understand the Q, but, as far as I am aware, SysExporter is not able to count pages within document files displayed in a folder, but, if there is a column in the display that gives a count of the pages, then SysExporter will probably be able to see that and export the numbers in it to a .CSV file.

Hope this helps or is of use.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,139
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Just updated the OP to reflect that the current version of SysExporter is now v1.75 - up 5 versions from v1.61 (as originally posted).

Quote
Versions History - http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/sysexp.html
Version 1.75:
Added 'New SysExporter Instance' (Ctrl+N), which opens a new window of SysExporter.

Version 1.72:
Added 'Run As Administrator' option (Ctrl+F11), which allows you to easily run SysExporter as administrator on Windows Vista/7/8/2008. You should use this option if you need to extract data from a software that is executed as administrator.

Version 1.71:
Fixed to accept 64-bit handles in /Handle command-line option.

Version 1.70:
Added command-line options that allows you to export the data of Windows controls to a file, without displaying any user interface. For example, to export the active ListView in the task manager of Windows to html file:
sysexp.exe /Process "taskmgr.exe" /class "SysListView32" /Visible "Yes" /shtml "c:\temp\1.html"

Version 1.62:
Fixed the flickering while scrolling the items of list-view.

Version 1.61:
Added 'Auto Size Columns+Headers' option, which allows you to automatically resize the columns according to the row values and column headers.
Fixed issue: The properties and the other windows opened in the wrong monitor, on multi-monitors system.
__________________________________

exjoburger

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
SysExporter looks very useful, thanks for the mini-review.

There is a small freeware portable utility called GetWindowText, that can grab text from several Windows Controls, including directory trees and list views, but it is not as fully-featured as SysExporter.

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,139
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
@exjoburger: Thanks. I have added that to the list of alternatives in the OP.