//Monday 10 December 2007

Toolset (Part 1) - SysInternals

I thought I'd do a regular post on the free tools I often use in development. Some are nice to have, some I now find completely indispensable.

The SysInternals website (acquired by Microsoft in 2006) provides a number of tools which can be very useful to help developers diagnose system problems.


Here is a brief summary of some of the most useful:

Process Explorer
This tool allows you to identify what process has a particular file locked. This can be useful when you are trying to delete a file and you keep getting an Access Denied error. If you run ProcessExplorer and select Find...Find Handle or dll... and enter the file or folder you are having problems with it will display the process that has it locked.


This tool is useful for identifying the source of access denied errors that you suspect are the result of access rights problems. Often you can get access denied errors from a web application when trying to access certain files and it will turn out that you are not running as the user you expected to be. FileMon allows you to monitor all file activity on your PC. Consequently the log can fill up pretty quickly as such you will need to filter your results to the application you are interested in e.g. aspnet_wp.exe (or w3wp.exe on IIS 6).


This tool allows you to diagnose access problems that effect the registry. Similar to FileMon above you will need to filter the results to the application you are interested in e.g. aspnet_wp.exe (or w3wp.exe on IIS 6).


According to the sysinternals website ProcessMonitor replaces FileMon and RegMon for Windows 2000 and upwards and contains a number of enhancements. I haven't used this before but it might be worth checking out.


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