fs guard is a very simple free tool that allows the monitoring of services and directories. The description on its homepage says it was developed for Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. I tested it on Windows Vista and it worked without problems. I didn't try it on Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008, but I am pretty sure that it will work there too.
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There are certainly much more sophisticated free services and folder monitoring solutions for Windows (my favorite is The Dude). However, fs guard's main advantage is that it's very easy to set up. If you have unstable service that you want to monitor and there is no other monitoring solution at hand, then you can install and configure fs guard in less than a minute, even if you are using it for the first time.
fs guard will inform you by email if one of the configured conditions is met. In the Message settings, you can specify the mail message for folder monitoring and service monitoring independently. If you want to monitor multiple folders or services, then you should add the variables <FOLDERNAME> and <SERVICENAME> in the message. That way, you will know later which folder or service was affected. Next, you have to configure the SMTP server, the recipients, and the test interval in the General settings.
The folders to be monitored can be configured in the Folder Guard pane—you just have to add the corresponding folders to the directory list. You can either tell fs guard to notify you whenever the folder size changes or whenever it exceeds a certain size.
Configuring the services to be monitored works in the same way. fs guard shows you all installed Windows services. You only have to select those services you want to monitor. As an option, you can set up whether fs guard will try to restart services if it fails and you can also specify the number of restart attempts.
Once everything is configured, you should save all settings (in the File menu) and start fs guard's services (in the lower left corner).