There are several reasons why you'd want to monitor a folder in Windows for changes. Maybe it is an important folder and you want to make sure that the data has not been tampered with, or you want to receive notifications whenever a file gets added or deleted in a folder you are monitoring.
Whatever the reason may be, File Watcher Simple can help you in the task. The free program requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 3.0 but has no other dependencies.
The first thing you need to do after you have downloaded, unpacked and started it is to create at least one monitoring job. Just use the Edit > New menu or the shortcut Ctrl-N to do so.
The configuration is - very - extensive even though most fields are optional and do not need to be changed to start monitoring a folder. Only the selection of the directory that you want watched is mandatory, everything else is optional. The program can monitor a single directory for you or include subdirectories automatically in the monitoring.
It polls the selected directory every 10 minutes which you can change in the options if you prefer a faster or slower interval.
The program records the majority of file system events automatically including if a file or folder is changed, deleted, renamed or created in the monitored folder. It will furthermore record the last write and various directory and file name related modifications. You can add attribute, security, last access and size change events to the list of events it monitors, and also the creation time.
That's not all though as you find several other tabs waiting for you in the job properties. Here you can filter files or folders using regular expressions or run an executable file automatically when file system changes are detected (including loading a different user profile).
You need to start the monitoring explicitly in the program unless you have selected to start them automatically on startup under Tools > Options. The log messages tab lists each change made to the directory afterwards so that you can analyze all the changes that have been made easily. While there are not any exporting options for the log, it is possible to simply copy and paste the information to another application.
File Watcher Simple is a powerful folder and file monitoring application for the Windows operating system. It could use a couple of features to make it easier to handle for users who are overly tech-savvy, an option to process the changed files in an easier way or to use it for backup purposes comes to mind, but overall, it is pretty good at what it does.
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