User monitoring software for Windows

Some institutions need to monitor their employees’ computer use as part of policy enforcement or regulatory compliance. Here are the packages I’ve investigated for them.

Actual Keylogger: Not tested. Product site claims it is free, but some users report it to be only a 40 minute free trial. Product site implies that it will not work on post-XP versions of Windows.

Curiosity: Simple keylogger. Will not run on Windows Vista or later. Is detected by Ad-Aware and F-Prot. Place the executable curiosity.exe anywhere. It appears to be a folder but is the executable. Double click to run. Logs to C:\Windows\KeyLogs.txt. Wait a moment before collecting data. Catches all keystrokes. To uninstall, stop the process by rebooting the computer and then manually delete the executable.

Desktop Shark (ds): Proprietary. Misses most keystrokes.

Elite Keylogger: Not tested. 7 day free trial, $100 to buy.

Network Keylogger: Open source. Requires compilation.

PyKeylogger: Open source. 4 day trial which can be eliminated by modifying source or with a $35 donation. What I currently recommend.

Refog Free Keylogger: Despite the name, it is a 4 day trial that costs $39 to buy. Detected by Ad-Aware during installation.

Revealer Keylogger (rkfree): Proprietary. Easy to use.

Simple Keyboard Logger (SKL): Keylogger and screen shooter that uploads logs and images to your Gmail account. 100 character free trial; €10 to buy. Requires .NET Framework 2.0 or later and a Gmail account. Installer and most documentation are Italian. Quick to install. Not detected by Ad-Aware, F-Prot, or Windows Defender. Cannot deactivate screen captures. To uninstall, run the installer again and choose “uninstall”.

Impress on the client the need to comply with local law and to use common sense when implementing user monitoring. Regardless of local law or custom, it is usually wise to clearly inform employees what constitutes acceptable use of employer-provided computers and that management reserves the right to monitor compliance.

Keyloggers on AlternativeTo, Cnet, Freshmeat, Ohloh, and SourceForge
Excluding files from malware scanners
A review of anti-keylogger products, with links to tested keyloggers and anti-keylogger products


About Warren Post

So far: Customer support guy, jungle guide, IT consultant, beach bum, entrepreneur, teacher, diplomat, over-enthusiastic cyclist. Tomorrow: who knows?
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2 Responses to User monitoring software for Windows

  1. Pingback: User monitoring with Desktop Shark | A maze of twisty little passages

  2. Pingback: User monitoring with Revealer Keylogger | A maze of twisty little passages

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