Finding out what registry changes are made by installing an application

Posted on 2005-05-05
Last Modified: 2010-04-19
Hi guys,

Hope you can help.

Id like to know what registry changes are made, created, modified etc by installing an application.

This is because we have citrix installed and want to publish applications, so I may need to create application compatibility scripts for the users of the published applications. For that, I need to know what registry entries the application installs and updates.

Any tools or recommendations as to how to find this information out would be most appreciated, and the steps you need to take before installing the application, and after.


Question by:Simon336697
    LVL 33

    Accepted Solution

    For free u could try Registrar Lite or
     RegEditX 2.0       -
    But i'd hightly recommend System Mechanic from or
    Reg mon
    Regmon is a Registry monitoring utility that will show you which applications are accessing your Registry, which keys they are accessing, and the Registry data that they are reading and writing - all in real-time.

    This advanced utility takes you one step beyond what static Registry tools can do, to let you see and understand exactly how programs use the Registry. With static tools you might be able to see what Registry values and keys changed.

    With Regmon you`ll see how the values and keys changed.

    Installation and Use
    Install Regmon by copying the files to your hard drive, and start it by running Regmon.exe. Menu items and tool bar buttons can be used to toggle on and off monitoring, disable event capturing, control the scrolling of the listview, and save the listview contents to an ASCII file.

    Use the Filter dialog, which is accessed with a toolbar button or the Option|Filter/Highlight menu selection, to select what data will be shown in the list view. The '*' wildcard matches arbitrary strings, and the filters are case-insensitive. Only matches shown in the include filter, but that are not excluded with the exclude filter, are displayed. Use ';' to separate multiple strings in a filter (e.g. "regmon;software").

    For example, if the include filter is HKLM", and the exclude filter is "HKLMSoftware", all references to keys and values under HKLM, except to those under HKLMSoftware will be monitored.

    Wildcards allow for complex pattern matching, making it possible to match specific Registry accesses by specific applications, for example. The include filter “Winword*Windows” would have Regmon only show accesses by Microsoft Word to keys and values that include the word “Windows”.

    Use the highlight filter specify output that you want to have highlighted in the listview output. Select highlighting colors with Options|Highlight Colors.

    Regmon can either timestamp events or show the time elapsed from the last time you cleared the output window (or since you started Regmon). The Options menu and the clock toolbar button let you toggle between the two modes. The button on the toolbar shows the current mode with a clock or a stopwatch. When showing duration the Time field in the output shows the number of seconds it took for the underlying file system to service particular requests.

    When you see a Registry value or key in Regmon's output that you want to edit, simply double click on the line that includes the reference (or use the Regedit toolbar button) and Regmon will take you directly to the specific value using Regedit.

    LVL 35

    Assisted Solution

    by:Nick Sui
    I would recommend using WININSTLE (A freeware utility located in Windows 2003 CD in \VALUEADDED\3RDPARTY\MGMT\WININSTLE). By using this utility you have a snapshot of your screen. This utility has two part : Before Snapshot and After Snaphot. First you run Before will scan your hard disk and will scan it fully before you install you install application....completed the installation and then run the After Snapshot....after completing....this will save the changes made to your system including Files and Registry keys were added to a location you specified.
    LVL 74

    Assisted Solution

    by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
    All of that is pretty complicated and can lead to a bunch of errors if there's a single typo... take a look at ScrewDrivers ( which does the job correctly.  

    I tend to be a big fan of helper programs like these... what seems like an expense to begin with has saved me hours of time not having to hunt down post-deployment errors.

    LVL 74

    Expert Comment

    by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
    Okay... I need to stop talking on the phone to one person and typing without paying attention to another... I was actulally chatting on the phone with someone about screwdrivers... and somehow just transfered that thought over to your question, when I was actually meaning to recommend using something like Wise Packager (among other Push tools at

    Sorry for the confusion... but hopefully you can use SD for your print issues.  :-)


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