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I have a program which I need to install on top of Windows 8. Trouble is, the program makes changes to a few files which make another program not work, chances are that registry settings are involved, too.

So here's my situation - I need to figure out exactly which files and registry entries are modified compared to a system which doesn't have it installed. Basically my idea is to use VMWare. install first program, clone that VMWare, install second program and then get the diff for the two systems and find out which files have been modified/added.

How can i do that? File system diffs as far as I can find, have been made either for only a few files, or for linux.

Ideas are welcome, as both programs are imperative for our work.

If nothing else works, I'm even willing to go as far as write the entire diff program myself, but that might take a few weeks with the amount of spare time, or lack, thereof, I have.

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What do you mean by filesystem diff? If you can access each VM's filesystem, can't you just diff the two directory trees? Are you worried about the diff being able to compare that many files and directories? – Nicole Hamilton Feb 24 '13 at 1:25
Sadly it's not just about directory trees, it's also registry. Getting both of them at the same time would be incredibly luxurious. – NeroS Feb 24 '13 at 1:28
So it's not enough to discover the registry files have changed, you'd like to know which registry entries? – Nicole Hamilton Feb 24 '13 at 2:07
Exactly. I want a complete analysis of what files and registry entries have been added or changed, during the installation, I guess you could say. – NeroS Feb 24 '13 at 2:41
So export the registry to a file before installing, after installing program one, then again after installing program two. You might also consider installing Orca and inspecting the .msi files, if either program uses those. – Mark Allen Feb 24 '13 at 3:13

If you just want to uninstall cleanly you can use something like Revo Uninstaller to monitor the installation process.

If you want details then perhaps running Process Monitor before launching the installer will help, although filtering out all unrelated file system/registry changes might become difficult. NirSoft's RegFromApp could be of use here.

Finally, guess you can always create a complete before and after file listing of the drive using dir or any appropriate program, as well as a before and after full registry export, then compare the two sets of data. For the latter (registry compare), programs such as RegShot or RegShot2 can help you out.

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