I have always wondered when installing a trial version of a 3rd party software, what information does (and can) the software read and send back to it's owners.

Is there any tool that can monitor the information being sent out from my machine while the software is being installed or being used?

I use Windows 7 32 & 64 bit machines.


Definitely not a trivial task. You would need to analyze the network packets that are leaving the computer with something like Wireshark and then figure out what they mean. A quicker fix may be to analyze whether you trust the program enough to run (seems like you're don't) on your computer. If you don't and you are worried that it is phoning home with more information than it needs to it is considerably easier to block it in firewall rules than to hunt for the packets that it sends.

  • Thanks for answering. I am ok the software reading information, but I would be better off understanding what information it reads or even what information Can it read. – CuriousDev May 12 '14 at 1:38
  • It can usually read all the information that the the current users permissions allow. So if you are installing a piece of software as the administrator, it can in theory read absolutely everything. It hopefully doesn't, but figuring out what it reads exactly is beyond me. There may be an option to look at file access logs (if there is a Windows equivalent) while the system is idling with nothing running, and then trying to install the software and comparing the differences. Of course you could always try emailing the devs and ask... – user67350 May 12 '14 at 1:47
  • Emailing would be an option but not feasible. Thanks for your attempt, I will wait till someone who has done this before answers my thread! – CuriousDev May 12 '14 at 1:53
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    If you want to see which files/registry a program reads, you can use SysInternal's Process Monitor. Warning: You'll get thousand of entries, and probably won't be able to make much of it. – Jonathan May 12 '14 at 6:09

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