While SoftDetective can monitor the activity of the common programs, some situations can be tricky:
Some programs are designed to run at specific elevation levels ("as administrator" or "as a standard user"). If you receive an error that the program you've specified has failed to start, try changing the Run as Administrator option on the Monitor page and try again.
Some programs run several modules, each performing only a part of the task. For example, one module may be responsible for displaying the user interface and collecting the user's input. This module may then pass the collected information on to another module that would actually perform the task. And yet another module could collect the results of the task and display it to the user. If you choose to monitor the activity produced by the first module, it may miss the activity produced by the second and the third ones. Detecting which module is responsible for which task is a non-trivial problem that's beyond the scope of SoftDetective.
Some installation programs come packaged as the compressed files (such as the Zip files). If you specify such a file to monitor, you may only receive a report of activity related to decompressing the file, rather than to the actual program within the Zip file. To be able to monitor the program itself, you may need to decompress the Zip file manually first, and then specify the decompressed program, as the file to monitor.
Some installation programs use non-standard packaging for their components: they could extract other files out of themselves and launch the secondary processes to perform parts of the installation. Depending on the exact methods used by such programs, the activity produced by the secondary processes may or may not be captured by SoftDetective. Unfortunately, there is little we can do to address such a problem if it occurs.
Some complex software packages contain installations of Windows services, device drivers, ActiveX controls, .NET components, and so on. If such components produce their own activity during the installation, it may not be captured by SoftDetective. Again, there is no practical solution to such a problem, short of trying to monitor all system activity happening during the installation (using a tool such as Process Monitor) and then trying to analyze the results manually.
Some programs use the so called client-server technique to perform their job: for example, the client part of the program may be responsible for collecting the user input and passing it on to the server component that would perform the actual work requested by the user. In such situations SoftDetective may be able to only monitor the activity of one component but not the other.
Some poorly designed programs may produce a lot of activity that can make it difficult or even impossible to analyze with SoftDetective. For example, some system cleaners request the write access to a large number of files while they scan the registry entries. This results in a large number of files copied by SoftDetective into its temporary folder, which may take several gigabytes of disk space and then a very long time to analyze. Unfortunately, there is no way to solve such a problem short of rewriting the system cleaner program so that it would not unnecessarily require the write access to the files.
The separation between the temporary and non-temporary events on the Reports page should be considered only as a suggestion at best. In some cases (especially when monitoring the installations of the MSI files), a large number of temporary files may be created, that later may be renamed or moved to the permanent locations and the temporary file names used again to create other temporary files, and so on. SoftDetective will try to make its best guess at the result, but it can go only so far trying to do so.