Skip to main content

7 Free Tools to Monitor Files and Folders For Changes

A typical Windows computer has dozen of programs and processes running in the background, each reading, writing and modifying data on your hard disk. Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t be worried about these programs and what files they are accessing, as long as you are confident that whatever the programs are doing is legitimate. But when a program starts malfunctioning and you need to troubleshoot it, you may want to know what changes are being made to the system. There are many utilities that can keep watch over folders and notify you of any changes in real-time. Here is a selection of them.

Also read: How to Find Which Program is Accessing Your Hard Disk?


FolderChangesView from NirSoft is easily one of the best. This is a simple tool that monitors the folder or disk drive that you choose and lists every filename that is being modified, created, or deleted while the folder is being monitored. After you run FolderChangesView, you have to choose the desired folder that you want to monitor and then press the 'Ok' button. If you choose a root folder (For example c:\ ) and the 'Monitor all subfolders under the specified folder' option is turned on, FolderChangesView will monitor the changes of the entire drive.


You can use FolderChangesView with any local disk drive or with a remote network share, as long as you have read permission to the selected folder.


TheFolderSpy can watch for file access, creation, deletion, renaming and changes to attribute of files under folders you monitor. You can choose what kind of changes you want the program to monitor. You can also restrict the program to report on only a particular file type, for example, changes to EXE files. Another option allows you to enable or disable sub-folder monitoring.


There are two features that some users will find useful – one, is the ability to send email alerts, and two, the ability to execute another program or EXE file whenever changes are detected.

Watch 4 Folder

Watch 4 Folder can monitor a bunch of events under the folders that the program is watching. First select the root folder which you want to watch from the tree view (don’t forget to check the box underneath that says “watch sub folders”), and then choose the events you wish to monitor. Available ones are file create, delete, change, rename, and change association, folders create, delete, change and rename. It can also monitor free disk space, media insert and removal actions.


These alerts can be written to a log file, or watched in real-time on the Live log window. Additionally, alerts can be issued through desktop pop-up windows.

Watch 4 Folder can also execute a program or batch file whenever a change is detected.

Moo0 FileMonitor

Moo0 FileMonitor starts monitoring all your hard drive partitions as soon as you launch the program. There is no way to monitor particular folders, only entire partitions, which limits the utility of the program to some extent. You can however, uncheck the partitions you don’t want to monitor. Moo0 FileMonitor will monitor for files created, written, renamed and deleted. The live-view window shows the activity in your disk at an interval of 1 second. This can be changed to real-time or slowed down to an interval of 5 minutes. Older entries in the log file is automatically purged, and you can choose how many events you wish to keep in the log.


In the status bar below, you can see the current disk activity as percentage and a small graph showing the most recent disk activity as well as the amount of bytes that are being read or written to the disk.


FolderMonitor can monitor several folders for new files created, old files deleted, renamed or changed. When changes are detected, it will alert you using either visual notification, balloon tips, or sound notification. Additionally, FolderMonitor can execute programs using file changes as triggers.


Directory Monitor

Directory Monitor can monitor several folders at once and notify you of file changes, deletions, modifications, and new files in real-time. Unfortunately, Directory Monitor wouldn’t monitor disk partitions. You can optionally execute an application when a change occurs or issue notification using balloon alerts. Changes can also be saved to a log file.


Windows Explorer Tracker

Windows Explorer Tracker can monitor and record certain activities happening on your hard disk, such file and folder delete, rename, create, insert, cut, copy and paste. There is no way to specify a particular partition or directory. The result is automatically saved on a .log file under the user’s directory. For as long as the program is running, it will continue to log Explorer activity and append it to the log file which is visible from within the program.

Unfortunately, Windows Explorer Tracker is not very useful because it cannot detect file changes.


Related: Access recently modified, created files with Piles


Popular posts from this blog

How to Record CPU and Memory Usage Over Time in Windows?

Whenever the computer is lagging or some application is taking too long to respond, we usually fire up task manager and look under the Performance tab or under Processes to check on processor utilization or the amount of free memory available. The task manager is ideal for real-time analysis of CPU and memory utilization. It even displays a short history of CPU utilization in the form of a graph. You get a small time-window, about 30 seconds or so, depending on how large the viewing area is.

Diagram 101: Different Types of Diagrams and When To Use Them

Diagrams are a great way to visualize information and convey meaning. The problem is that there’s too many different types of diagrams, so it can be hard to know which ones you should use in any given situation. To help you out, we’ve created this diagram that lays out the 7 most common types of diagrams and when they’re best used:

How to Schedule Changes to Your Facebook Page Cover Photo

Facebook’s current layout, the so called Timeline, features a prominent, large cover photo that some people are using in a lot of different creative ways. Timeline is also available for Facebook Pages that people can use to promote their website or business or event. Although you can change the cover photo as often as you like, it’s meant to be static – something which you design and leave it for at least a few weeks or months like a redesigned website. However, there are times when you may want to change the cover photo frequently and periodically to match event dates or some special promotion that you are running or plan to run. So, here is how you can do that.