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Find out just how a PC has been used recently with NirSoft’s LastActivityView

26 October 2012, Mike Williams

NirSoft has announced the availability of LastActivityView, a new tool which displays details of recent user actions and events on almost any PC (it runs on Windows 2000-8, both 32 and 64-bit editions).

And while that doesn’t sound too exciting, wait – it turns out to be surprisingly useful.

The program logs the applications you’ve launched recently, for instance. The files you’ve opened or saved (from the standard Windows Open and Save dialogs, anyway). The folders and files you’ve opened in Explorer, the software you’ve installed, and the networks you’ve accessed.

It also details your system startups and shutdowns, user logons and logoffs, software hangs, blue-screen crashes and more.

And, importantly, LastActivityView doesn’t need to be running to record this information. Rather, it assembles it from Registry keys and their “last modified” times, your event logs, prefetch files, crash dumps and more.

The program produces a surprisingly detailed report on your recent activities

As a result, if a friend or family member has asked you to help with a problem on their PC, you don’t have to rely on them remembering every key detail of what they were doing at the time. Just launch LastActivityView and it’ll show you the application they’d just installed, the programs they’d run and lots of other relevant information.

And if you want to check how your kids are using their PC, for instance, the program could also be handy. No need to install some bulky monitoring tool, just run LastActivityView and you’ll see when the system is active, the applications they’re using, the files they’re browsing, and more.

There are a few issues here. System cleaning tools may wipe away some of the records used by LastActivityView, for instance, reducing the amount of information you see. And as the author points out, the accuracy of some records may be reduced if the user or software makes particular changes to the Registry.

It’s hard to complain about a portable tool which crams so much functionality into its tiny (99KB) executable, though. And on balance LastActivityView is yet another NirSoft winner, an excellent way to uncover what’s happened on a PC over the past few hours and days.

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