Moo0's FileMonitor is a free tool that monitors and displays all the file activity on your PC. More than a mere process monitor or event viewer, it displays all running processes and activities, including those that run in the background. It can show you when a program opens a file or initiates a process, which can be useful information if it's something you haven't authorized, such as a virus. But it can also tell you what's going on in your system, such as when the disk is busy; FileMonitor can tell you what's writing to it. Its extensive log view lets you go back and see when a file was deleted or changed, where it's kept, and other useful information. We looked at FileMonitor Portable, a fully portable version of this simple but useful tool.
FileMonitor's main window displays a log view with alternating gray highlighted lines, like a spreadsheet, to help with visibility. The view changes when the data being displayed changes, and there's a lot of it, sorted by draggable column headings: Time, Change, Size, File Name, and Folder. But the program's border is deep black with white text, a stark look that works well against the log view. And you can change the skin as well as the interface language from the View menu. Along the top edge of the log window, a series of check boxes let us choose which of our disks and what processes the program should monitor. FileMonitor can track Create, Write, Rename, and Delete activity; by default, all are selected. Beneath the log view are Clear, Stop, and Save Log buttons. Logs are saved as HTML files -- very convenient, we say. Along the bottom edge, FileMonitor shows a small but effective disk activity graph in a contrasting color, as well as Read and Write activity in KBps.
Beyond the ability to change its language and look, FileMonitor offers basic options such as always-on-top; we could designate how many log lines to keep and the refresh frequency, too. This simple tool is easy to use, but its Web page offers explanations as well as screenshots.