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Tips & Tricks

Track changes to your system files after installing software

You can use System File Checker in combination with Notepad to track any system changes that programs make during their installation.

System File Checker creates a log after each scan, which is then appended to the previous file by default; but you can also choose to overwrite it on each scan. If you choose to overwrite the log, you can easily print out the list of changes each program installation makes to your operating system files. Every time you install a program, follow by running System File Checker, open the log in Notepad, enter the name of the program at the top of the log, then print and save it for future reference.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. Point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then point to System Tools.
  3. Click System Information.
  4. Click Tools from the menu bar and then click System File Checker .
  5. Click Start to run System File Checker.
  6. When the scan is finished, click OK and you will return to its main screen.
  7. Click the Settings button.
  8. Click the Settings tab and then click the View Log button to view the log in Notepad. (On the Settings tab, you will also see three options in the Log file section.  These let you append to the existing log, overwrite the existing log, or create no log at all.)
  9. Type the name of the program you just installed at the top of the log and then click File and Print.

Notes: A shortcut to starting System File Checker is to type SFC in the Run command on the Start menu.

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