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Word document access history

Posted on 2004-04-14
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21

Hello everyone,

Is it possible to check the last 10 or so dates and times at which a Word file was accessed?

I would be very grateful is there is a trick that would help me with this.

Thanks

Tom
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Question by:Thomas10001
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enkotec earned 600 total points
ID: 10845131
Hi Tom,

One method, if you're using the NTFS file system, is to enable auditing on all documents you wish to track.  A basic overview from the Windows Help file:

To set, view, change, or remove auditing for a file or folder:
Open Windows Explorer, and then locate the file or folder you want to audit.
Right-click the file or folder, click Properties, and then click the Security tab.
Click Advanced, and then click the Auditing tab.
Do one of the following:
To set up auditing for a new user or group, click Add. In Name, type the name of the user or group you want, and then click OK.
To view or change auditing for an existing group or user, click the name, and then click Edit.
To remove auditing for an existing group or user, click the name, click Remove, click OK, and then skip the rest of this procedure.
If you are setting auditing for a folder, in Auditing Entry for File or Folder, in Apply onto, select where you want auditing to take place.
In the Access box, do any of the following for each event you want to specify:
To audit successful events, select the Successful check box.
To stop auditing successful events, clear the Successful check box.
To audit unsuccessful events, select the Failed check box.
To stop auditing unsuccessful events, clear the Failed check box.
To stop auditing all events, click Clear All.
If you want to prevent files and subfolders within the tree from inheriting these audit entries, select the Apply these auditing entries to objects and/or containers within this container only check box.
 Important

Before setting up auditing to files and folders, you or your domain administrator must enable the Audit Object Access setting located in Audit Policy. If you do not, you receive an error message when you set up auditing for files and folders, and no files or folders will be audited. For more information, see Enable Audit Object Access policy.
 Notes

To audit files and folders, you must be logged on as a member of the Administrators group or have been granted the Manage auditing and security log right in Group Policy.
To open Windows Explorer, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer.
If you are not joined to a domain and want to view the Security tab, see To display the Security tab.
Once object access auditing is enabled, view the security log in Event Viewer to review the results of your changes.
You can set file and folder auditing only on NTFS drives.
You may see one of these circumstances:
In Auditing Entry for File or Folder, in the Access box, the check boxes are shaded.
In the Advanced Security Settings for File or Folder, the Remove button is unavailable.
In these cases, auditing has been inherited from the parent folder.
Because the security log is limited in size, you should select the files and folders to be audited carefully. You should also consider the amount of disk space you are willing to devote to the security log. The maximum size is defined in Event Viewer.



As you can see, it gets a little complex.  Also, it will only work after the audit flag is set; no history will be available prior to that time.  You also have to compile the access logs from each PC on your network to get a concise overview.

There is software available that can do it more easily.  "FileAudit" (http://www.softwareshelf.com/products/display.asp?p=10) is one such program, but is fairly pricey.  http://www.winalysis.com/ also has audit software.  There are many others.
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