4 Tools for Tracking What Others Do on Your Computer Behind Your Back
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computer tracking softwareIn an ideal world, we’d all be able to keep our computers secure from unauthorized access. That’s not the world we live in however. Roommates snoop, significant others get curious, and family members decide to check up on each other – without permission.

If you suspect this is occurring, you can monitor your computer to see how it is being used when you’re away. Let’s look at some tools that will do just that.

Revealer Keylogger & AllInOne Keylogger

computer tracking software

The easiest way to tell what someone is doing on your computer is to use a keylogger. As you likely already know, this is a piece of software that logs keystrokes, which can then be retrieved later. You will be able to obtain information about what keystrokes we activated, thus providing an activity history.

If you’d like to stick with free solutions, Revealer Keylogger is a good choice. This utility logs keystrokes accurately and also records the process in which the keystrokes were logged as well as the time. The software can also be hidden from the user. It’s basic, but it works. Note that anti-malware software The 10 Best Free Antivirus Software The 10 Best Free Antivirus Software No matter what computer you're using, you need antivirus protection. Here are the best free antivirus tools you can use. Read More may quarantine this tool upon download, so you’ll need to remove the quarantine before you can install it.

computer tracking freeware

Want more features and options? Then you’re going to have to go paid. One of the better options is AllInOne Keylogger, which captures keystrokes like any other, but has advanced log filtering options and the ability to send logs to specified email addresses, FTP servers How To Set Up Your Own FTP Server With Core FTP How To Set Up Your Own FTP Server With Core FTP Read More or networked computers automatically. In addition, this software can take screenshots and record sounds via microphone. You can use this option free for seven days, but it’s $69.95 afterwards.

SurveliStar Activity Monitor

computer tracking freeware

Keylogging can pick up a lot of information, but sorting through it to make sense of web activity can be a pain. SurveliStar Activity Monitor provides a easier and more comprehensive way to track web activity.

Once activated, SurveliStar can pick up on a number of online activities including web browsing, file transfers, and emails. These are then logged for later review. The log are very detailed particularly where web browsing is concerned. Everything is picked up including web use through extensions, plugins, etc.

Surprisingly, this software is free. You only need to pay for enterprise use of the software, which starts at $69.95.

iSpy – Automatic Webcam Recording

computer tracking software

Let’s say that unauthorized computer use is just the beginning of your problems. What if you’re also concerned about what’s going on around your computer? A keylogger or activity monitor can’t help you there.

That’s where iSpy comes in iSpy Turns Your Computer Webcam Into Surveillance Equipment [Windows] iSpy Turns Your Computer Webcam Into Surveillance Equipment [Windows] Read More . This free, open source software has the ability to automatically record video with your webcam while you’re away. It has motion tracking and scheduling features that allow you to record only when you need to, and it also has the ability to automatically upload recorded video to the web, including YouTube. That’s handy because it allows for remote storage of video immediately, keeping it safe from any attempt to delete it.

Heck, you can even access your webcam remotely via the Internet while it’s recording and catch your roommate eating ice cream in your bed red-handed.


The tools above provide a complete pack for monitoring your PC. You can find out what was typed, what websites were visited, what files were downloaded, and what emails were sent. You can even see what’s going on in front of your computer remotely via your webcam.

Still, there may be an element here that I’ve missed, or software that readers prefer. If you have some advice on how to monitor activity on your PC, be sure to post in the comments.

Explore more about: Keylogger, Spyware.

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  1. StealthGenie
    January 5, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Only computer monitoring is not
    enough, try to monitor all communication devices. You can use StealthGenie for
    mobile spying. Activity monitoring is very necessary in this modern era.

  2. James Romines
    December 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Parents have a duty to protect their children, period. A poker-playing friend used to say "I trust everyone; I still cut the cards." I would tell my children that I'm monitoring all internet access, not because I don't trust them, but because I don't know, and therefore can't trust, the people on the other end of the connection I and they make while on the internet.

    I need to have proof of a bad person's behavior to take to authorities in the unfortunate event that somebody tries to do bad things to anybody on a network I'm responsible for. After all, the police can't do anything to the scoundrel, if I can't show them 'probable cause'.

    I also want to be able to block people and IP addresses attempting or starting bad behavior on my network. I'm not just monitoring members of my family. I'm also scanning my network for external activity that I need to prevent, so that I can keep my network up and running for our joint use. Computer Security involves:
         a) making sure users can access the network/internet
         b) making sure legitimate external users have access to internal/local
             resources they have need of
         c) securing local data so that it is not illegally accessed, changed, stolen
         d) being sure that viruses, 'bots, trojan horses, etc do not compromise either
             internal or external access to the network and internal data.
    These are the formal requirements. I have and will discuss them with *_anyone_* wanting to use my internal network, including the computers, tablets, phones, etc. on it.

  3. Cikaba
    December 9, 2011 at 6:56 am

    If you find it "offensive" to spy on family or anyone, then why are you reading about spyware and keyloggers?

  4. Cikaba
    December 9, 2011 at 6:53 am


    Why are you here???

  5. Rushnosh
    December 5, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    My question... out of the scope of the above comments ... Very interesting comments I like to add...
    However are there any reports say if any of these keyloggers are installed onto your computer wouldn't this be a gateway for potential hacks to gain information about your personal information?? I hear keylogging hacks all the time, and its quite bad.

    Say if a hacker gains accessed your computer, ran a "grep" command for say "Key" they can potenially do the same spying as yourself. Should this article also focus on the potential danger here, make sure the administrator logons are protected?

    Hence I guess there are clever "trojin horses" out there that could probably install the keylogger "all in one" and send logging information via email to the hacker.

    • M.S. Smith
      December 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      Presumably a hacker with access to your PC could turn your keylogger on you if they had proper access and found the keylogger. This seems like a minimal risk situation, though. Also, IIRC All In One Keylogger and Surveli Star had password protection options/features (unfortunately I don't have them installed on this PC to double check). 

      • Rushnosh
        December 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm

        Thanks for the clearfication ... I didn't know some of these have password protection on there :D ... I'll probably have to play around with it a bit more and work out the kinks.

  6. Guest
    December 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    @Henk van Setten: It sounds incredibly naive what you are proposing and also provides opportunity for child sex offenders to go undetected.  When I am asked, 'don't you trust me' I reply 'sometimes I don't even trust myself'.  As an investigator and having prepared material for courts I can say that every parent should know what is going on within their household. Children are children and parents still have an obligation to protect them.

    • Vsetten
      December 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

      I am sorry, but I don't agree with you at all. My stance has nothing to do with naivety, but with the basic, essential principles of openness and honesty in all kinds of relations between adults (which was what I was thinking of primarily).
      In the Dutch society where I live, these same basic principles apply to parent-child relations just as well.
      Of course parents do have the right and the duty to protect their children from dangerous online situations (ranging from money-stealing-ringtone-scammers to pedophile-chatters-posing-as-friends). But where I live, it is considered both unfair and counterproductive to protect children without talking with them about it first. Over here, we feel that when parents want to protect children, they should always try do so in an open, transparent way, by discussing this with the children themselves (even little six-year-olds) beforehand, so the children may to some degree understand and accept what the parents do, and why they do it.
      For example, instead of installing spyware and lowering yourself to the miserable solution of spying on your own children (and losing their trust when they discover you are spying on them), you could work in a more preventive way. You could very well tell your children that you are going to install a web filter for their computer account - there are excellent webfilters specifically designed to protect children - and explain to them why you need to restrict their web access. And of course afterwards, you might once in a while simply enter their room (for that is no spying) to see what's on their screen: as long as they are aware that you are checking, checking is fine.
      A short example. If you don't want your little girl to go on Facebook, you should not use spyware to check if she accidentally ends up on Facebook sometimes. Rather, you should install a Facebook-blocker (a simple Hosts file entry might be enough to do the trick) and explain to her why you want to protect her in this way.
      OK - I hope I have made myself more clear now. I cannot resist adding that I happen to have raised a daughter myself, and that I take pride in the fact that I have never resorted to spying on my child in any way. 

      • Charlie Moss
        December 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        You cannot compare Dutch society with that of others.  In Amsterdam children walk to school past prostitutes in the windows, marijuana coffee shops and open doored adult stores.

        In my country until recently even the word 'God' was removed from films to avoid offence.
        Sadly most people do not bring up a well rounded child. Most children when blocked will find alternatives.
        Like with other things in life, it's not what you take, it's what you do with what you take.
        Listening at a child's door for a few moments, when friends are visiting, is wise.  Listening for hours is invasive.Reading every detail from Spy software is an invasion of privacy. Skim reading to look for problems is not.

        • Henk van Setten
          December 2, 2011 at 6:31 pm

          I guess this discussion is wandering outside its original bounds. But, Charlie, please allow me a few comments:
          (1) Your sketch of Amsterdam is not quite right. Both the prostitution district and softdrugs shops are strictly regulated. There are many legal rules to protect children. Like, softdrugs-selling coffee shops will lose their license if they sell to children; and such shops are by law not tolerated in the vicinity of schools (and BTW - the "red-light" district is isolated in the old town center, nowhere near any neighbourhood with family homes). And this Dutch policy of accepted, moderate regulation works better and healthier (if only by preventing worse things, like AIDS) than what one can encounter in American cities: run-down neighbourhoods with illegal, uncontrolled harddrug dealers and filthy street prostitutes. I've been in Philadelphia and LA, and I was curious enough to take a guided look at such districts myself. I asked my American friend: is this not the same effect as the Al Capone effect of your 1920s alcohol Prohibition? Generating serious illegal crime and violence, instead of preventing it? He agreed (but of course you won't have to agree).
          (2) Secretly listening at your child's door, just like putting spyware on her laptop, is plainly and simply wrong: even if "for a few moments". Did you really mean to say that extensive spying is wrong, but a little bit of spying is OK? Would you also say that beating your girl to death is wrong, but beating her once a week is OK? Like beating, spying is always morally unacceptable - and both beating and spying are very ill-suited instruments in a parent-child relationship. Once your child knows you tend to eavesdrop at her door, she will never feel safe and relaxed anymore: instead she will develop a secretive and hypocritical attitude - just the opposite of what you would like to accomplish.
          (3) You are completely right that older teens may be able to get around webfilters or LAN firewalls. But then those same geeky teens will also be able to spot your spyware and disable it, so this is no argument to install spyware either... Those same teens will be old enough to have earnest intimate talks with them, and to get them to understand the practical, social and emotional benefits of honesty and mutual trust. If you make clear to your teen child that you want to respect her as a person (including her teen's right to experiment a little and to learn from occasional errors) then your teenager will respect you as her parent, too. You know, most teens are really not that bad - if only you demonstrate clearly that you trust them to behave in the responsible way that you both have agreed on. Suspicion and mistrust are not the kind of example you should want to teach to your children!
          (4) I hope my comments did not offend, I really did not mean to do that. I only wanted to react in the very same spirit of openness and honesty that I was advocating here. I do not want to force my opinion onto anyone. But - to get back on topic - I hope that you, Charlie, will accept that I firmly cling to my standpoint that using any kind of spyware at home (or at work, or wherever) is a very bad idea.

        • Charlie Moss
          December 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm

          Hi Henk,

          I think you assumed my comment to be negative. I believe the openness of Dutch society is a much healthier upbringing than general "bag over the head till you're old enough" society.
          The three activities I mentioned are not restricted to the Walletjes but again we digress. 
          I think there will always be division over the question of what are peoples rights to privacy. In the UK there is CCTV everywhere, in the US phone calls can be monitored, etc.  Every situation must be judged individually, there is not one rule to suit all, the same goes for monitoring children and employees.  If you lived in another country, maybe even just another city, your opinion could be totally different.

        • Henk van Setten
          December 3, 2011 at 9:21 pm

          Charlie, thanks for clarifying. Yes, local and cultural differences may need to be weighed in here. Although I do think that because of the globalizing effects of Internet, especially the growing influence of online activity in the lives of individual people all around the world, any local differences may by now be rapidly fading away - at least when we're talking about "web culture" or "internet ethics".
          I'm happy with the interesting discussions provoked by this post and thread. Today I met a colleague (also Dutch, you can guess...) who began by immediately agreeing that the MakeUseOf post, by suggesting the use of spyware by individuals to spy on each other, crossed the line of what is morally acceptable. But then he asked: would I be against all uses of spyware? Answer: no, because if a democratic government finds that it needs spyware for locating a dangerous criminal or to watch a violent terrorist group, their spying might be acceptable. If they would do it temporarily, in a focused way. But if some company hides spyware-like software to collect everyone's individual user data (think of last week's news about corporate spyware found on iPhones) then I find that much less acceptable: if managers want our data, they should at least notify people with a clear opt-in question. In fact I find even the normal routine of most websites (including MakeUseOf) to throw in some click trackers that automatically load with the webpage, not quite right. Or is it fair to collect a few marketing data, user preferences etc. behind the user's back without asking her permission first? Maybe we find this fair only because we've gotten used to it.
          The essential point is of course where (and for what reasons) we draw the border somewhere in the middle between the extremes of allowable spying on one side, and immoral spying on the other side. I do not pretend to have a full answer to that. But in my view the MakeUseOf post that started this thread, landed with a nasty bang at the wrong side of the border. If we are supposed to accept such spying, this would make our daily life not safer, but less safe and less friendly for us all - and that includes those pitiful spies themselves.
          Final conclusion? I must leave that to you or to others. And who knows, maybe some day the regular MakeUseOf authors will discover that more specific posts about the many ethical sides of computing might make a risky but great subject category!
          Bye for now.

        • Confused Guest
          December 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm

          Dear Henk van Setten AND Charlie Moss.
          First off, please let me say out of all the absolute crud people write in 'comments' and most everywhere else online, I found you two quite refreshing. It is most illuminating to find two opposite views hashing it out in such a rational manner as real caring and intelligent adults. And with such a sensitive, yet raw subject. I found myself completly on Henk's side and 'bam' before I knew it I was all the way over in Charlie's court, and again, back in Henk's.
          At this point I must say I was raised, and pride myself with honesty, (sometimes brutally) and integrity to the core of my being. That said, what I am about to type depresses me still, but needs to be added to this discussion, mainly to hear your views so as to help ME with this very complicated, yet important subject.
          Some years back a drummer filled in for a few nights while our's was out with a broken leg. All went well and he went his way and our regular drummer came back in. Only about 2 weeks later we read in the local paper his (the fill-in drummer) 13 y.o. son had gone missing. Another week had passed and police located the body of his son stuffed in a foot-locker in a patch of woods. There were details in the article about foul-play with the computer (something about a meeting with the boy and a new 'friend') and that if anyone had any information it would be helpful.
          I cant remember much more detail about the case, but it was too close to home. Now my point is this: Had the father installed such devices as being discussed here, could/would things have been different? Would one be breaking the moral laws that come from deep within one's self by doing what they would call 'sick' behavior by such spying? Intruding? But to save a life???
          Man-oh-man it just keeps getting deeper.
          Sorry for such a dark interjection, but thru the years I've thought quite a bit about using these kind of softwares and to this day have not come up with a solid answer with myself, my family.
          Confused Guest. 

  7. orexmedia
    December 2, 2011 at 5:23 am

     nice info. thanks

  8. Henk van Setten
    December 2, 2011 at 12:19 am

    If you really think you need to spy in this way on your family members or colleagues, then obviously there is something fundamentally wrong with the human relations within your home or workplace.
    Such a serious lack of mutual trust will only be aggravated by this kind of sneaky spying actions. Instead, you should be honest and try to solve the problem at the root: by getting together and openly discussing with each other why distrust may be poisoning your relationship.

    • M.S. Smith
      December 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      It's great that you've never been in a relationship of any kind with problems that can't be solved by open discussion. Not everyone is so fortunate, however.

    • Tony B
      September 2, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      Maybe you've never had children. My 14yo is currently doing everything he can to circumvent my Web blockers to get to porn, radio stations, social media, etc. This is not terrible, but he does it while he is supposed to be doing school work, & with his 6yo brother able to look over his shoulder at any time.

  9. Anonymous
    December 1, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    I don't know about you guys, but I'm a little hesitant on installing a keylogger on my machine on purpose, even though the programs don't have malicious intentions...

  10. JAH JAH
    December 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    And what about for Mac ????????? Thanks !!! good info though... but fill in the blanks for us OSxers!

    • M.S. Smith
      December 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      I don't know about that at the moment, but it's a good idea for a future article.

  11. jimspoon
    December 1, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I've been looking for the best tools to track my own activity - these programs can be good for that purpose too.

  12. Peter
    December 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    my buddy's step-mother made $247568 so far just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more here... MakeCash11.com

  13. Hack.The.Pow.
    December 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    why would you guys be promoting explicit malware?

    • M.S. Smith
      December 1, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      Because keyloggers are how you track what people are doing. Yes, they're malware. But if you install them and know they're logging, they're doing their job - for you.

  14. Chopsticks
    December 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"