How Do I Check Recent Activity On My Computer?

two people checking their computer activity together

This article will be answering this common question: “how do I check recent activity on my computer?”. I will show you how to review recent activities using apps that come included with Windows as well as CurrentWare’s employee and computer monitoring software solutions.

Checking recent activity on your computer allows you to see how the devices in your network have been used, allowing you to investigate suspicious activity such as web browsing and changes to files during periods where nobody should have been accessing the PC. 


Software to Check Recent Activity on Employee Computers

Hi my name is Neel Lukka, the managing director of CurrentWare. 

Today I am excited to show you the CurrentWare web console.

With the web console you can manage your CurrentWare policies and run reports from a web browser on any computer in your network. 

The web console and the CurrentWare server are hosted by your company, giving you full control over the solution.

The CurrentWare Suite includes 4 solutions

  1. AccessPatrol: Device control software 
  2. BrowseControl: Internet filtering software
  3. BrowseReporter: Employee computer monitoring software 
  4. And enPowerManager: Remote PC power management 

Each solution allows you to apply unique policies for each employee. The policies will be enforced on each managed device that they use, even when they’re disconnected from the network.

Let’s start With AccessPatrol

With AccessPatrol you can Restrict a variety of peripherals including USB storage devices, phones, and Bluetooth

Add company-approved peripherals to an Allowed List

Get device activity reports on-demand, at a set schedule, or when specific events occur

You can also block file transfers to USB devices based on file name or extension

With BrowseControl you can Control internet access based on URLs and content categories

Prevent users from launching specific applications

Schedule unique allow or block lists

And block network ports

Let’s move on to BrowseReporter

With BrowseReporter you can see reports on employee computer activities including internet activity, bandwidth consumption, and application usage

These reports can be generated on-demand, at a set schedule, or when specific events occur

You can also schedule activity tracking to stop monitoring employees at designated off-hours times such as breaks. 

Finally, with enPowerManager you can generate reports on power states and logon/logoff times

Start up, shut down, restart, standby, and hibernate computers on-demand or on a set schedule

Configure advanced power policies for mobile computers

And provide your end-users with a warning message before their computers shut down

The web console is available for anyone with a CurrentWare subscription plan. If you would like to try the web console yourself you can get a free trial at CurrentWare.com/Download

Thank you

Need to monitor computer activity on another computer? With CurrentWare’s employee computer monitoring software, monitoring computer activities is as easy as installing the solution on your employee’s computers and running reports on their computer activity from a convenient central console.

  • Track web browsing including time spent on each site, the exact URL, the web page title, and more
  • Monitor application usage to see who is playing games or using unauthorized software
  • Track idle time to see how active your employees are on their computers
  • Monitor bandwidth usage to see who is slowing down the network with Netflix, Twitch, and Sports streaming

Table of Contents


How Can I Tell if Someone Has Used My Computer?

If you are concerned that someone else has been using your computer, Windows includes free tools that you can use to check recent activity on your computer. If you discover events that occurred when you were not using your computer, it could be an indication that your computer was used without your knowledge.

Use Windows Event Viewer to Check Computer Events

Note: When you view the logs in Windows Event Viewer you are likely to see a few event logs of errors that have occurred on your machine. This is completely normal and not an immediate cause for concern if your machine is otherwise running smoothly – the application records every event on your computer, including minor start-up and processing errors that have likely resolved themselves. 

Windows Event Viewer is a utility that comes included with the Windows operating system. It’s intended to be used by system administrators to view event logs on local and remote machines, but it can also tell you when your computer has been turned on. If your computer has been turned on when you were not using it, that could mean that someone else was using your computer.

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard – the Windows symbol is found in the bottom-left corner of most keyboards, between the CTRL and ALT keys.
  2. Type Event – this will highlight Event Viewer in the search boxThe Event Viewer application is highlighted in the windows start menu
  3. Press the Enter key to launch Event ViewerAn overview of the Windows Event Viewer dashboard
  4. Double-Click Windows Logs in the left-hand pane
  5. In the drop-down menu below Windows Logs, click System The Windows Logs drop-down menu found in Event Viewer
  6. In the right-hand pane click Filter Current Log
  7. This will bring up the Filter Current Log pop-up menu. Click on the Event sources drop-down menu and scroll down until you see Power-Troubleshooter.
  8. Click the box next to Power-Troubleshooter, then click anywhere in the gray area in the Filter Current Log window to close the menu.
  9. Click the OK Button.
  10. In the center window you will now see all of the times that your computer has been turned on. If you did not turn on the computer for one of the events listed, someone else may have been using your computer.The center panel of Windows Event Viewer. A Power-Troubleshooter event is highlighted

If you are using Windows 10 Professional, you can also enable auditing of logon events in the Local Group Policy Editor. This will allow you to track which user accounts log in to your Windows devices.

If you would like to audit logon events for multiple computers, you can use enPowerManager’s logon/logoff tracking report for monitoring these computer activities at-scale.

enpowermanager's user logon history report with timestamps of when employees log in and out each day

How to View Recently Edited Files

Viewing recently edited files on your Windows machine will allow you to see what files were opened on your computer. If you find files that were recently modified when you were not using your PC, this could mean that someone else was on your computer.

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard – the Windows symbol is found in the bottom-left corner of most keyboards, between the CTRL and ALT keys.
  2. Type Run – this will highlight the Run application in the search box
  3. Press the Enter key to launch the Run application
  4. In the box that pops up, type in Recent
  5. This will bring up a window that shows all of the files that have been recently edited on your computer. There is likely to be unfamiliar files without icons – these are likely temporary files and are not a cause for concern.A screenshot of recently modified files in Windows
  6. You can sort items by the date that they were last modified by clicking the Date Modified box at the top. If this is not visible to you, Right Click the column headers and select Date Modified from the drop-down menu.
    A list of all of the shorting methods in Windows File Explorer 

How Do I Check Internet Browsing Activity On My Computer?

Each web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer, Edge, etc) comes with its own internet browsing history. This can often be accessed by launching the program and pressing CTRL + H to bring up the browsing data of your device. 

Unfortunately, if you or another user were browsing in a private browsing mode such as Chrome’s Incognito mode or Edge’s InPrivate mode you will not be able to see internet browsing activity from that time period using this method.

Fortunately, there are tools for monitoring computer activities that can track web browsing history even when private browsing modes are used.

Use BrowseReporter to check Application Usage and Web Activity

BrowseReporter is a versatile computer monitoring software that helps organizations enforce policies, meet compliance requirements, and understand how their users operate – no matter where they’re located.

BrowseReporter’s detailed user activity reports provide insights like…

  • Are our users following organizational policies? Are there any unwanted activities that need to be addressed?
  • How engaged are our users? Do they spend the majority of their time on-task? And…
  • Are our users making use of the software we’ve invested in? Should we reduce the number of licenses we pay for?

The computer activity data is collected by a software agent that is installed on your computers. The agent connects to a database on your organization’s network, allowing you to maintain complete control over the data.

BrowseReporter’s central console allows you to run reports on your user’s computer activities from the convenience of a web browser. 

There are dozens of reports to choose from, including…

  • User productivity reports with an overview of how much time was spent on websites that are productive, unproductive, or neutral. These classifications can be customized to match what is productive for your users.
  • There are also detailed internet activity reports that show you what websites your users have visited, how long they spent browsing each site, and the amount of bandwidth consumed.
  • And finally, the application usage reports show you what software is being used, how long it was used for, and who was using it.

BrowseReporter’s reports can be generated on-demand, on a set schedule, or automatically sent to your inbox to alert you of specific events.

Using the End-User Reports feature you can even provide your users with on-demand access to their own data. This lets them benefit from the insights that you have.

BrowseReporter can even be deployed with optional privacy-enhancing features.

You can…

  • Display a custom message to notify users that they are being monitored
  • Make the client visible in the system tray
  • Stop monitoring outside of standard operating hours, and…
  • Disable certain types of tracking altogether 

These optional features allow you to customize your BrowseReporter deployment to fit the needs of your organization.

BrowseReporter is best used in tandem with our web filtering software BrowseControl. Using both solutions provides you with the visibility and control you need to ensure that your organization’s computers are being used appropriately

Ready to make data-informed decisions? Get actionable insights into the activity of your users with a free trial of BrowseReporter.

Get started today by visiting CurrentWare.com/Download

If you have any questions during your evaluation our technical support team is available to help you over a phone call, live chat, or email.

Thank you!

CurrentWare’s BrowseReporter is a computer monitoring software that can be used to monitor activity on your own computer or another computer in your network. BrowseReporter is a powerful employee tracking software for monitoring how employees use the internet and computer applications in the workplace.

BrowseReporter can track these computer activities:

  • Internet Browsing: Monitor all websites that are visited, even when private browsing is enabled.
  • Bandwidth Monitor: Bandwidth usage can be logged to troubleshoot slow internet connections and discover bandwidth abuse in the network.
  • Application Use: BrowseReporter can be used to track Windows applications.

The fastest way to track web and application activity on your computer will be to perform a standalone installation of CurrentWare by installing BrowseReporter, the CurrentWare server, the CurrentWare console, and CurrentWare client on the same device. 

How To Monitor Activity On Another Computer With BrowseReporter

If you would like to use BrowseReporter to monitor another computer, you can do so by installing the CurrentWare client on each computer that you would like to track. If you’d like to give it a try before purchasing a license, you can track internet activity for free with a 14-day trial. 

If you will be managing multiple devices you will benefit greatly from the included central console as it allows you to manage all of your devices remotely rather than checking each computer manually.

BrowseReporter Sites Visited report sports and entertainment websites listed.
One of BrowseReporter’s many internet usage monitoring reports

How Do I Check USB Device Usage On My Computer?

AccessPatrol is a device control software solution that protects sensitive data against theft to portable storage devices.

AccessPatrol keeps data secure by…

  • Preventing users from stealing data or transferring malicious files with easily concealed USB flash drives
  • Maintaining auditable records of file transfers to portable storage devices, and…
  • Triggering real-time alerts when security policies are violated

AccessPatrol’s central console allows you to apply security policies and run reports on your user’s USB activities from the convenience of a web browser. 

The security policies are enforced by a software agent that is installed on your user’s computers. This keeps devices restricted and monitored even when the computers are taken off of the network.

Here’s an overview of AccessPatrol’s key features.

Under Device Permissions you can assign unique device control policies for specific groups of computers or users. 

AccessPatrol controls a variety of peripherals, including…

  • Storage devices such as USB flash drives and external hard drives
  • Wireless Devices such as Bluetooth, Infrared, and WiFi
  • Communication Ports such as Serial and Parallel ports
  • Imaging Devices such as Scanners or Cameras, and…
  • Other Devices such as network share drives, printers, and mobile phones

Under the allowed list you can specify trusted devices that can be used on your computers.

If you need to temporarily lift device restrictions for devices that aren’t on the allowed list, you can use the access code generator.

This allows you to set a time-limited policy exemption for a specific computer. The access code generator does not require internet access to work, making it the ideal solution for travelling users and other special circumstances.

To further protect sensitive data, AccessPatrol allows you to block file transfers based on file names and extensions. This ensures that even allowed devices can’t transfer sensitive data.

AccessPatrol also includes a variety of USB activity reports to help organizations audit data transfers and peripheral device use.

These reports provide insight into…

  • All files that have been copied, created, renamed, or deleted on USB storage devices, and…
  • A timestamped device history for each user, including attempts to use blocked devices

AccessPatrol’s reports can be generated on-demand, on a set schedule, or automatically sent to your inbox to alert you of specific events.

Don’t let a preventable data leak ruin your organization. Take back control over portable storage devices with a free trial of AccessPatrol.

Get started today by visiting CurrentWare.com/Download

If you have any questions during your evaluation our technical support team is available to help you over a phone call, live chat, or email.

Thank you!

Checking USB device history is incredibly useful for performing a digital forensics investigation. If you are running a business it can be helpful to see USB activities on your network to collect evidence of illicit data transfers and the use of unauthorized devices by your employees.

If you are monitoring USB activities on a standalone machine and you do not need real-time alerts or detailed file transfer history, you can use Windows Event Viewer to view events where USB devices have been connected and disconnected from the computer.

If you would like more detailed information about how USB devices are used on your endpoint devices, you can use AccessPatrol for monitoring computer activities such as portable storage file operations and device usage history.

AccessPatrol’s USB tracking features:

  • File Operations History: Generate reports on files that are copied, modified, created, and deleted to USB devicesAccessPatrol files operations report with 15 different file operations listed.
  • Devices Accessed: Track USB device history to see devices that have been connected to the computerAccessPatrol all devices accessed report with Apple iPhone at the top of the report.

Email alerts can be configured in AccessPatrol to generate real-time alerts of USB device usage and file operations on the endpoints in your network. 

Conclusion

There are a wide array of use cases for monitoring computer activities in your network. With the tips listed in this article you will be able to track web browsing history, determine if someone has been using your computer, investigate employee data theft, and track logon events.

Dale Strickland
Dale Strickland
Dale Strickland is a Marketing Coordinator for CurrentWare, a global provider of endpoint security and employee monitoring software. Dale’s diverse multimedia background allows him the opportunity to produce a variety of content for CurrentWare including blogs, infographics, videos, eBooks, and social media shareables.