A keylogger to avoid

Errors plague this monitoring tool, which promises a lot but delivers little.

With the increasingly high cost of keylogger programs that monitor people's computer usage, the feature-rich KeyProwler 4.0.4 (7-day full trial; $59.49) may seem like a good deal. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the application to work.

On launch, the program opens with a clever, password-based scheme for accessing the program, which is naturally meant to run undetected. The interface is simple to navigate, with clear labels and useful tooltips. (The Web-based Help file, however, is little more than an FAQ.) KeyProwler offers a number of settings, including when to start logging and how often to take screenshots. The program also lets you initiate screen captures when the user types specific text strings. Keystroke information is gathered into logs, which you can supposedly view within the application or receive via e-mail. This was there our problems began. When we tried to view a log, the program threw an exception. We attempted to set up automatic transfer of logs to a USB drive and got another exception. Automated e-mail delivery? No exception, but then again, no e-mail either, even though a test run had worked fine.

The most painful part of this process was losing the application altogether. Luckily, we had chosen not to hide the application folder. It was named not "KeyProwler" but "dfjdkjfdkjf99ldjf," which of course would not raise anyone's suspicions. And as one final insult, the included function to uninstall KeyProwler worked but did not fully uninstall the application. Because of this program's numerous errors as well as its incapability to actually log keystrokes, we cannot recommend KeyProwler to any user.

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