1. Easily record Explorer's file-based actions
When you need to understand exactly what programs are doing on your PC then tools such as Process Hacker, Process Explorer or Process Monitor will almost certainly get the job done. They're compact, powerful, and an excellent aid for all kinds of troubleshooting tasks.
These tools often produce extremely lengthy reports crammed with low-level detail, though, which can be intimidating to some users. And so if you're looking for something more straightforward, you might be interested in the free Windows Explorer Tracker, as it's the kind of system monitoring tool which just about anyone can use.
The program focuses on tracking high-level drive, file and folder-based actions: delete, create, rename, insert, add or remove. Which means there's nothing on file modifications, Registry activities or process actions (launching programs, threads and so on).
And as you might guess from its name, Windows Explorer Tracker is primarily about tracking what's happening in Explorer. There's no complexity to it, just launch the program and then watch as your file creates, deletes and so on are listed in a table (though they're also saved to log files for easy reference later).
In our tests we found Windows Explorer Tracker did record details from some other programs, though, as they worked with temporary files, saved test images and more. And it also successfully recorded the actions of some (though not all) installation programs, handy if you'd like a better idea of what a particular setup tool is doing to your system.
For all this, Windows Explorer Tracker still has only a tiny fraction of the power of the big-name system monitors. If you really want to understand what Explorer is doing then there's no substitute for learning how to use something like Process Monitor.
If you only need a more basic record of your file and folder-related operations, though, Windows Explorer Tracker certainly delivers, and that could be enough to justify its inclusion in your troubleshooting toolkit.
2. Easily monitor your Windows Explorer actions
Windows Explorer Tracker is a simple tool for recording many file and folder-based actions you might perform in Explorer, and some programs: delete, create, rename, insert, add or remove.
The program is very easy to use. Just launch it, open an Explorer window, create a new file, delete it, and your actions will immediately appear in the Windows Explorer Tracker window. And they're also saved in log files for easy reference later.
We found Windows Explorer Tracker also record file-based operations initiated by some programs, or as a part of normal system operations (saving a graphics file, say, or adding a file to the \Windows\Recent folder).
The reports don't provide anything like the detail of, say, Process Hacker. Windows Explorer Tracker works at a much higher level, recording only basic file operations, so if you just change settings or launch a program, say, nothing will be listed at all.
Still, if you just want to record the file-related operations being carried out on your PC then this is a simple way to do it.
And Windows Explorer Tracker could have other purposes, too. If you're wondering what others are doing in Explorer, say, this may help you find out. (Although the program doesn't run hidden, so your other users may be able to spot what's happening and turn it off.)
Windows Explorer has nothing like as much monitoring power as Process Explorer or Process Monitor. It's small, free and easy to use, though, and could be interesting if you need something simple.