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Mac OS software to "watch" software installs, block, uninstall?


Well-known member
Hi all,

I've been busy downloading and trying some larger applications (> 200MB+), games and utilities from Macintosh Garden, from various eras, on a PPC Mac running Mac OS 9.1.  Most of these downloads are ISO or Toast CD images that have Installers and I'm finding they often overwrite newer Extensions in the System Folder, or install crash-prone extensions that mess up my slimmed down Mac OS install.  Some of the nicer installers output a text file so you know what went where, but most don't.

Can anyone please recommend a utility that watches and scans for file changes, so I know where files files are going, perhaps with an "uninstall" option?

I'm yet to try these two apps, but neither sound ideal:



When I used OS 9 as a daily driver, I constantly monitored the Extensions folder, but installing lots of files en masse makes it difficult to track changes.





Well-known member
Spring Cleaning I always found to be a mixed bag back when. What I would say is a good idea is this: use extensions manager to create and save a set with what you already have installed. Then, after you install something, it should alert you of whether or not anything was changed. It may be arduous to hunt down, but at least you would be able to. In an extreme, you could use it to look up the info and version number of all of your extensions and save the info somewhere. You could then track if changes were made.


Dog Cow

Well-known member
Can anyone please recommend a utility that watches and scans for file changes,
Sounds like you are describing an anti-virus utility in some regards. There may be some out there that do this. I can't name any right now, but it's a possible avenue of exploration.



Well-known member
Might not be a bad idea, providing you have the space, to keep a backup folder of all the "correct" extensions.  That way, if you're concerned about an installer overwriting things it shouldn't you can just delete that extensions folder without having to look through it and drop a copy of the correct one in its place.



Well-known member
Thanks all - looks like a combination of Extension manager monitoring and some old tricks to keep the files in line.

However, I found a couple more utilities to try:



One helpful comment:

Mmm. Many many years before stuff like this came along, I would ensure my System Folder was backed up daily and colour all the extensions (using Labels) green or orange (green for Apple, orange for third party). If some process installed or replaced an extension, it would show up (without a label) as clear as day.

Then with OS8 we got Extensions Manager, I always defined a set for my everyday use. Again, if some process installed new or amended an extension, at restart Extensions Manager would pop up saying the contents of the Extensions folder didn't match the defined set and allow me to do what I needed to do (amend the set to include the new items, disable the new items, etc).

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I've been playing around with installers to get drivers for hardware up and running on "incompatible" Macs. Currently testing running the installer on a clean system install partition to identify the required drivers for manual installation to the target system partition. I've had some good results, but it's a bit of a PITA. If none of the utilities work well enough for whatever reason, you might give that approach a go.?



Well-known member
So far, Installer Observer FTW - its a standalone application that scans the System Folder, I've run it before and after installing a program.  The other choices need their own extensions for tracking file changes which is what I'm trying to avoid!