Free Tools from SysInternals: Watch your File System, Registry and more

There are some great free tools over at
Get them now before someone like Computer Associates buys the company and starts charging for them.

Personally, one tool in particular called ‘FileMon’ helped solve a tricky file locking problem on a recent project. FileMon showed the massive amount of files opened/closed by our software. A little analysis identified the few files that were not being closed. Stepping through code using debug mode and watching FileMon made it easy to see which chunk of code was opening the file. Five more minutes of work rewrote the complex file opening/closing code and the bug has not been seen again. Before using FileMon I had wasted a full working day try to track down the rogue code.

Thanks to ‘Writing Secure Code’ for mentioning these tools. Michael Howard recommends them for discovering why applications fail to run as non-admin users.

FileMon In Use:

RegMon is very similar, but watches registry access:

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2 Responses to Free Tools from SysInternals: Watch your File System, Registry and more

  1. Matt Ranlett says:

    I’ve used some of the SysInternals tools for years, notably the page file defragmentor and Process Explorer. Process Explorer works kind of like your task manager but you can drill into each process to see what registry keys and disk files it is using. I’ve also used the ListDll tool to find out what was getting loaded up by IE to make it take drastically more memory than my co-workers – turns out CompuWare’s BoundsChecker type programs load up with IE?? Uninstalled that unused software and freed up loads of memory.
    <br>And before anyone cracks on my for not using BoundsChecker, we only had one license and I was supposed to uninstall it months ago so someone else could use it. I just forgot.

  2. Paul Lockwood says:

    It appears I was the only person on the planet who had not used Sys Internals tools before. Not to self: Must leave the cave more often.

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