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What’s the easiest and fastest way to compare 2 registry files?

is there an application that can track any changes made to my registry before I install software on my windows 7 computer?


4 Answers 4


Revo Uninstaller does that:

Real-Time Installation Monitor - Revo Uninstaller Pro has real-time program installation monitoring. It detects system changes during installation, so you can undone them later.

and ...

Multi-Level Backup System - Revo Uninstaller Pro creates backups of removed registry keys, values, files and folders. It also creates full registry backup each time you uninstall a program.


If you looking for a freeware for tracking a particular program: WhatChanged or InstallSpy tracks registry & files changes

If it's for all your installs, like Molly, I recommend Revo Uninstaller


There are a few common ways.

  1. Take a copy (go in to the registry and export), then do the same after and compare the difference.

  2. Use Microsoft/Sysinternals Process Monitor and track the changes.

  3. Use VMWare Thinapp (Or Microsoft App-V/Softgrid, but harder to get) inside an application and actually track all the changes.

  4. Use one of the many installer/uninstaller tracking applications.

  5. Use a tracking program such as "Tracker", Personally, I love this application and use it all the time inside a virtual machine.

  • paying 6 large for VMware ThinApp to track registry changes??? ... not OVERLY common, i'd say :)
    – Molly7244
    Dec 16, 2009 at 21:20
  • I didn't think it is more than $50... Where did you see it for $6k? Dec 16, 2009 at 21:30
  • check the BUY ONLINE link: VMware ThinApp 4 Suite $6.050 (cheapest bundle)
    – Molly7244
    Dec 16, 2009 at 21:48
  • You'll probably need at least one client license ($47.19 min.) too, so now we're up to $6,097.00. Wow. Dec 16, 2009 at 23:40
  • just seen, the suit comes with 50 licences... forget that! I do have 4 other points I wrote about! and if it is a one off, you can always use a trial of thinapp! Dec 16, 2009 at 23:50

Sandboxie hasn't been mention yet. It intercepts OS operations related to an application and its installer (per sandbox.com):

The following classes of system objects are supervised by Sandboxie:

Files, Disk Devices, Registry Keys, Process and Thread objects, Driver objects, and objects used for Inter-process communication: Named Pipes and Mailbox Objects, Events, Mutexs (Mutants in NT speak), Semaphores, Sections and LPC Ports.

You can test out (or run permanently) an app knowing that the actual registry is not changed but mirrored by sandboxie (which stores state changed by an application in its own file format).

My personal experience with it has been mixed (I tried an older than current version, granted). Not all types of Windows applications worked smoothly under its control. It may be worth checking out, though.

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