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WhatChanged: how thorough is it?

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djc
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WhatChanged: how thorough is it?

How does WhatChanged determine that an earlier and a later version of a file are different?

If it only compares file sizes and dates, that will usually work, but not always, because some software and updaters -- I'm looking at you, Microsoft! -- preserve sizes and date metadata when they change some files.

To detect such camouflaged changes across before-and-after snapshots, one must either do a byte-by-byte comparison or else calculate checksums. My own "what changed?" software uses checksums in well-known directories under Windows; this is slow, but definitive. (And it's how I found that Microsoft was camouflaging some changes. I wonder why they bother.)

So what does WhatChanged do? If it really does the job, I'll stop maintaining my own, and let someone else carry this burden.

djc

Ken Herbert
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We just make it portable

You would probably get a more definitive answer to your question if you looked on the base app's own website or contacted the original developer directly.

CODYQX4
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All I wanted to know

All I wanted to know personally is if it is better in detection than RegShot, which I use and PAL documentation suggests.

djc
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The WhatChanged website

The WhatChanged website offers nowhere to ask questions or make comments on the free software offered there, only the paid software. Or did I miss something?

And RegShot... I looked at it again and was reminded why I don't use it: it doesn't display metadata for either registry elements or files, so its results are (for my purposes) unusable. Those and its other limits probably wouldn't bother most people.

Both these packages are much faster and slicker than my own, and that's a good reason to use them if they do what you want. But mine does capture camouflaged file changes as well as changes in registry and file metadata, besides being able to capture successive waves of changes with the minimum number of snapshots -- that is, changes along the way from time 1 to time 2 to time 3 to time 4 requires only four snapshots, and from them it can display the changes between any two of those times.

djc

andriuz
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its own set of shortcomings

It does, however, come with its own set of shortcomings. For instance, it misses the data that has been purged from Recycle Bin. Also, it cannot recognize files that have modified their size. But it comes in handy when you install a new application as it allows you to see what information has been added to the system and its path.
http://www.softpedia.com/reviews/windows/WhatChanged-Review-149363.shtml

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