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Is there a way to track changes made by running Add-AppxPackage? By changes I mean anything from file system changes (create, modify, delete ... files/folders, change file permissions), registry changes (add, remove, modify keys, permissions, ...).

I know I can monitor such changes separately by means of specific programs (e.g., Folder Changes View) or Windows audit features, but they usually track all events independently of who made them, so it is difficult to isolate changes that came only from Add-AppxPackage. To overcome the isolation problem, one can run the tracking tools "a moment" before running Add-AppxPackage, but such "synchronization" is really difficult to perform and does not guarantee the perfect isolation.

So, is there a way to run Add-AppxPackage and see what exactly does it do to the file system and to the windows registry?

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    some cmdlets create a verbose output. add the -verbose switch to your Add-AppxPackage call and see if it has any effects. verbose is one of the [<CommonParameters>] edit: just tested, Add-AppxPackage creates verbose output, but not all you want to see I guess.
    – SimonS
    Sep 20 '16 at 12:05
  • I definitely missed the [<CommonParameters>] part. I will check that and see if anything useful to my purpose comes out. Thanks!
    – MSX
    Sep 20 '16 at 12:21
  • ok, tell me if it worked and I will expand it to an answer. good luck
    – SimonS
    Sep 20 '16 at 13:18
  • Unfortunately, the -verbose flag adds nothing really useful, at least to my purpose. Also, some text disappears after the process finishes. But, no tracks of permissions or registry keys. Thanks anyway.
    – MSX
    Sep 21 '16 at 7:35
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is there a way to run Add-AppxPackage and see what exactly does it does?

You can use ProcessMonitor from Microsoft SysInternals:

Process Monitor is an advanced monitoring tool for Windows that shows real-time file system, Registry and process/thread activity. It combines the features of two legacy Sysinternals utilities, Filemon and Regmon, and adds an extensive list of enhancements including rich and non-destructive filtering, comprehensive event properties such session IDs and user names, reliable process information, full thread stacks with integrated symbol support for each operation, simultaneous logging to a file, and much more.

Its uniquely powerful features will make Process Monitor a core utility in your system troubleshooting and malware hunting toolkit.

Overview of Process Monitor Capabilities

Process Monitor includes powerful monitoring and filtering capabilities, including:

  • More data captured for operation input and output parameters
  • Non-destructive filters allow you to set filters without losing data
  • Capture of thread stacks for each operation make it possible in many cases to identify the root cause of an operation
  • Reliable capture of process details, including image path, command line, user and session ID
  • Configurable and moveable columns for any event property
  • Filters can be set for any data field, including fields not configured as columns
  • Advanced logging architecture scales to tens of millions of captured events and gigabytes of log data
  • Process tree tool shows relationship of all processes referenced in a trace
  • Native log format preserves all data for loading in a different Process Monitor instance
  • Process tooltip for easy viewing of process image information
  • Detail tooltip allows convenient access to formatted data that doesn't fit in the column
  • Cancellable search
  • Boot time logging of all operations

Disclaimer

I am not affiliated with SysInternals in any way, I am just an end user of their software.

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    A really useful tool! I'm currently investigating the issue with it. Hopefully it solves my issue although I don't see that it is able to track permission changes (I might be wrong) which, to my opinion, is causing the problem I'm trying to solve.
    – MSX
    Sep 21 '16 at 7:39

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