Some of us who troubleshoot Macs and PCs for a living come across applications and utilities that the average computer user would never use, wouldn’t understand its usage, and wouldn’t care. FSMonitor is such an app. all it does is monitor changes to the Mac’s file system.
What Changed? Where?
Apple’s built-in Time Machine application does something similar. It watches files on your Mac and when a change is made, it captures and stores the file. That’s a good way to manage versioning, and an excellent way to capture files that may seem lost. FSMonitor doesn’t do the file capture and old but it monitors the Mac file system.
Take a look. This is the tree mode of files that have changed in the user’s System and Library.
If you’re a bit confused by the list of files and what’s changed, then it’s OK to move along because there’s nothing to see here.
But if you understand what is happening you’ll see advantages right away. FSMonitor monitors the Mac’s file system and can display a list of what has changed. File attributes in the Finder give additional information.
Here’s the same thing in list mode with additional file attribute information.
Mac applications and macOS make changes to certain files all the time. But which files? And when are those files modified? And what happens to those that are overridden? FSMonitor can display more information about such changes so you can see what macOS or an application did to a specific file.
That makes FSMonitor another tool for administrators and developers to use for troubleshooting. Here’s the same information but in text mode.
FSMonitor allows you to track all changes on the Mac. That includes files created, files deleted, even changes to content. Both attribute changes and renames are monitored.
You can also examine the files in any one of four modes (column view was not displayed above), inspect the file to display the specific change, filter files, reveal files in the Finder (and inside Terminal) and more.
Yes, FSMonitor is a bit geeky, but it can be a good troubleshooting tool for some Macs with critical operations, and it’s priced to try. There’s also a sweet Vimeo video which explains the basics and why monitoring the Mac’s file system can be a good idea.