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NetWrix File Server Change Reporter (FSCR) is an easy-to-set-up freeware tool that allows you to monitor file server changes. It audits changes made to files, folders, shares, and permissions. You can create HTML reports manually or let the tool send these by email.
It took me only a few seconds to install and configure FSCR. All you have to do is add the file servers you want to monitor and specify the credentials. The tool adds an entry to the Windows Task Scheduler. By default, it will create a snapshot once a day of each of the file servers.
FSCR doesn't require an agent to be installed. The disadvantage is that creating a snapshot can cause heavy network traffic. In my test environment under VMware Workstation, it took the tool approximately 10 minutes to create a snapshot of a server with 5GB. I think it will take considerably longer in a 100-Mbit network. Of course, you can install the tool on every server you want to monitor if you don't want to strain your network too much. Note that it will also cause significant CPU load. Therefore, I would configure FSCR to create snapshots only during off hours.
The tool compares two snapshots to generate a report. If you try the tool, you can create snapshots manually by running the entry in the Task Manager. To generate a report, you can use FSCR's Viewer, which is a separate utility. The output is an HTML file, which you can access with a web browser.
The report shows what files have been changed. You will also get information about the type of the change, i.e., whether the file was created or modified, the changed size, etc. Only the commercial version displays the account that made the changes, the time of the modifications, and offers detailed permissions tracking.