How to tell when an exe gets fired on Windows?

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QUESTION :

I’m looking for a way to tell if an executable gets fired in Windows. I can’t watch the Task Manager because the exe sometimes gets fired for just a split second.

Is there any way to get some visual clue the exe is getting fired?

ANSWER :

Process Explorer from the Microsoft Sysinternals Suite is an alternative to the Task Manager and has a useful feature in that it colour codes created and deleted tasks for you.

A task that dies will linger for a few seconds in the list but be coloured red to show that it has gone, a newly created task will be green I believe.

I’m sure there’s some highly technical way. As a Windows non-expert I would rename the executable and replace it with a script (batch file) that writes the time and date to some text file, then starts the real program.

SysInternals Process Monitor, with “Thread activity” enabled.

Each executable has Image File Execution options in the registry. Their purpose is to allow a debugger to intercept the starting of certain applications (otherwise it is very difficult to debug the startup code of the application), but any executable may be used. Note this executable is responsible for starting the application; the full commandline is passed to the executable.

MSDN step-by-step instructions for using Image File Execution options.

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