Tiny Watcher, keep your Windows clean

Presentation

The problem
Basic idea
A very discreet interface
What you've got to do

Download

Download page
Version history
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Tiny Watcher is rated 3 stars
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More details

General warning
The snapshots in details
Startup review
The Warning window
Tiny Watcher's options
The log file
Command line parameters
Antivirus aspect
Which processes are used by Tiny Watcher?
Check list
Standard processes minimal information
FAQ
Known problems

Help on warnings

Tiny Watcher tells you something changed, what should you do?
Easy way out
Warning messages index

Contact


Links

Vertigo Engineering
Ghost Installer

Tiny Watcher is published at

The Freeware Publishing Site

Softpedia

STAHUJ.CZ
STAHUJ.CZ


...and others.

Is Tiny Watcher good for you?

ProsCons
  • It is small: Uses tiny resources on your machine. Runs fast, and only when you request it.
  • It is complete: Detects most of the changes that can happen in your system. No need for updates or upgrades.
  • It is configurable: Various settings can be modified to suit your needs. You can edit the list of directories and registry keys that are monitored, decide which files will be checked, etc.
  • It is free: Just download, install, and use as long as you want. No adware, no spyware.
  • It works: Tiny Watcher has been tested and bugfixed with care.
  • Detects changes afterward: It will not prevent your system from being modified or corrupted. It will only tell you that something suspicious happened. Think of it as an early CAT scan against system tumors.
  • No automatic cleanup feature: There is no "Fix that for me" button or other magic feature. You have to search the Web by yourself for specific information about a problem, and then do your own cleanup.
  • Not a novice tool: Tiny Watcher does not tell you when a change is "normal". If you understand little about how a computer works, Tiny Watcher is probably not good for you. Messages will probably make you worry for nothing.

The problem

Most Windows users discover it with time: right after Windows is installed, or when one gets a new PC, the machine is "clean". Startup and shutdown are fast, the system directories are not crowded with files that contain God knows what, no useless program is wasting your CPU 24/24, etc.
Then, things start deteriorating...

Windows does not provide an easy way to keep its system clean.
For example, there are many different ways for a program to install itself so that it is run automatically, so it is not easy for you to track down which application decided "by itself" to use your system's resources in the way it wants.

Slowly, your machine becomes a mess. Your CPU is wasted by running processes that you don't need. Applications create files in your system directories and leave them behind. You sometimes refrain to install and evaluate a new program because you are afraid that it will not uninstall everything afterward. Anyway, the time it takes you to start and stop Windows become longer and longer. You start thinking about reinstalling "just to get things clean again"...

Basic idea: help you keep a clean machine

The way Tiny Watcher works is pretty simple: basically, it starts by taking a snapshot of important parts of your Windows system; then it tracks changes (every time you log in, or whenever you want to). When a change is detected, you are notified.

For example, you will be notified if a program puts itself in the startup lists of your machine, or if files are modified/created in your Windows directory, etc.

A very discreet interface

Tiny Watcher has been designed to work discreetly. You will barely notice it at logon time: the about box shows for less than 5 seconds, and a progression gauge displays briefly.

Both of these windows being optional, Tiny Watcher can run completely silent. Most of the time, you will just forget that it's here.

When a suspicious item is detected, however, you will be informed about it. You will be able to decide what to do about it (some items can be disabled or removed right away). For more details, see "The warning window" paragraph.

What you've got to do

In fact, very little:

  • Keep the shortcut "Tiny Watcher -logon" that the installer puts in your startup menu. This will check your machine status at logon time.

  • Eventually, perform a "post install check" (you will find this shortcut in your start menu) after installing a new application. This will tell you if things you might want to know about were installed (for example, programs who put themselves in your startup list without asking).
    In fact, it's OK if you forget to do this right after installing a new application (and you will, since most of the time you are damn too busy at that time to think about everything). Anyway, Tiny Watcher will run (and do the same job) the next time you log in (probably the next day). The only problem with this is that you might not remember so well what you have installed earlier, so you will just be a bit surprised at first, until you remember: "Oh yeah, that's right, I installed that thing yesterday".