Stream Explorer is a handy application for Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista that displays the amount of streams, or more precisely NTFS Alternate Data Streams, of every subfolder and file of a selected folder. It makes the stream information available in a very straightforward and visual manner which improves the time it usually takes to look up the information.
The program divides the information into four panes and a header area that provides access to a quick partition browser and program help. The other panes are displaying the directory structure, the files and folders in the currently active directory including the amount of streams of each file and folder, detailed information about each stream and a hex viewer that is displaying the contents of each stream.
The default stream is the one that gets executed when you (double-)clicks on the file. The main advantage of Stream Explorer is that it displays all information in one window.
To use the program simply select a folder from your hard drive using the left pane of the program window, or by selecting a previously selected folder at the top menu. Once you select a folder all of its subfolders and files are displayed with their total stream count. Selecting a file in the middle pane displays all of its streams on the right which may already provide you with information what is stored inside those alternate data streams.
The hex viewer at the bottom provides you with detailed information about the stored data in case you need to dig a little bit deeper.
The program is really easy to use and speeds up the process of analyzing folders on your PC for alternative data streams. Note that the majority of files and folders should not have more than one stream, but those that do, are worth investigating.
Stream Explorer is fully compatible with all recent versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.