How to Track Computer Use

By Bonnie Conrad

Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Computer

  • Internet logs

  • Monitoring software

Whether you are keeping tabs on your employees, your kids or your spouse, it is important to know how to monitor computer use. Every time a user does anything on a computer, a record of that access is retained, and with the right software, the right knowledge and the right tools you will be able to use that information to your advantage.

Log on to your computer and right click on the "My Computer" icon. Choose "Explore" from the menu to open Windows Explorer. Once Windows Explorer is open, you can find the logs and Internet files that will tell you where your workers, your children or your spouse have been on the web.

Click the plus sign next to "My Computer," then click the plus sign next to the "C" drive. Navigate to the "Documents and Settings" folder and look for the name of the user you want to track. The "Documents and Settings" folder creates a sub-folder for each user who logs on to the computer, and the information regarding that user is stored under this sub-folder.

Navigate to the "Local Settings" folder under the user you want to track. If this folder is not visible, click on the "Tools" menu, choose "Folder Options," click the "View" tab and select the "View hidden files and folders" option. Once the "Local Settings" folder is open, look for the sub-folder named "Temporary Internet Files." This is the folder where the Internet browsing history is retained. Look through the entries in this folder for any inappropriate sites.

Consider using a third-party monitoring program if you suspect a problem with a particular user's computer usage. There are a number of monitoring programs that can be used to send screen shots from a user's computer to the email address you specify. There also are programs that will record each keystroke the user makes and send that information to you at specific intervals.