How To Track User Activity on Windows Computer
Automatically tracking user activity is an excellent way to gather insights on your employees and children. It allows you to monitor device use and address unwanted behavior as soon as it happens. Whether you’re looking to improve workplace productivity or protect your children online, there are hundreds of ways that tracking user activity can help.
To track user activity on Windows computers, combine the default Windows activity tracking features with specialized device monitoring software like Wolfeye Remote Screen. But first, ensure that it’s legal for you to track the user’s activity, then determine what activity you’ll be tracking.
This article will explore the best ways you can use built-in Windows features and the powerful Wolfeye Remote Screen application to track user activity. Aside from explaining how you can turn this data to support employees and protect your children, I’ll also clarify how you can use monitoring software discreetly and legally.
1. Determine if Your User Activity Monitoring Is Legal
Depending on how you plan to track user activity, you may need to watch out for certain legal constraints.
Generally speaking, it’s legal for employers to monitor their employees’ work activity, especially if the employer owns the device. If you’re planning to monitor the activity of your employees, it’s best practice to disclose the monitoring practices directly. You should also plan to consult legal experts if possible since the laws regarding tracking software can vary depending on where you live.
And while it’s generally prohibited to install monitoring software on other people’s devices without their consent, it’s perfectly legal to install this software on your minor child’s device as long as you own it. If any adults use the same device as your child, you’ll need to notify them in advance to ensure the monitoring remains legal.
2. Consider What Features You’ll Need for Tracking Users
If you want to track your users effectively, you’ll need to make sure that the application you choose has all of the necessary features. Here are some of the most important features you should look for when selecting your software:
- Internet browsing history. While most users know how to delete their browsing history, some applications can discreetly record and save it. This feature is essential for making sure your users aren’t going to inappropriate, risky, or off-task websites.
- Complete invisibility. While you may need to disclose that you’re using monitoring software in certain cases, it’s generally ideal to pick discreet user tracking software that won’t distract or alarm users.
- Live screen view and automatic recording. Most importantly of all, you should choose software with screen viewing and recording capabilities. While internet history might allow you to see where your users are, automatic recording will allow you to see exactly what they’re doing.
3. Configure Built-In Windows User Tracking Features
Whether you’re planning to track the activity of your employees or children, there are certain built-in Windows features you can combine with monitoring software for the most effective approach.
If you happen to be using a Windows workgroup to connect your employee’s devices, you can use certain administrative features to track user activity. The two key features you should be aware of are Audit Policy, which allows you to monitor user activity, and Event Viewer, which will enable you to read a log of any security events that occurred on the network.
To set up Audit Policy, you only need to take a few simple steps:
- Press Win + R simultaneously to open the Run app. Type and enter secpol.msc, and wait for the Local Security Policy window to open.
- Security Settings > Local Policies > Audit Policy. Look for the audit entries set to no editing. Once you’ve opened the first one, click on the Local Security Setting tab.
- Under “audit these attempts,” click the checkboxes for success and failure. Click apply and OK to finalize the new setting before repeating for each entry set to no editing.
Similarly, tracking user activity using the Event Viewer feature is simple.
- Press Win + R simultaneously to open the Run app. Type and enter eventvwr and press enter. The Event Viewer application should open.
- Windows Logs > Security. You can click on any of the security events to see more information. You can use the Event ID to determine what action was recorded.
Windows has plenty of great features meant to help parents monitor and protect their children, too. To take advantage of these features, all you need to do is configure your child’s user account to have parental controls in the Family settings.
To start, you need to create an account for your child. If your child already has a user account, you can enter the email they signed up with to register their account for parental controls. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to register your child:
- Settings > Accounts > Family & other users. Click on the add a family member button and wait for the registration screen to open.
- Enter the email your child uses for their Microsoft account into the registration prompt. If they don’t already have an account, click create one for a child and then enter the email address you would like your child to use.
- Enter the prompted information for your child’s new account, including their password, name, and birthday. Then, sign in to the account. A prompt will appear to confirm parent or guardian consent for the account’s creation.
- Click I’m a parent or guardian to confirm the account’s creation. Sign in to the Microsoft account you intend to use for monitoring and sign the consent form when prompted.
- Configure the parental controls for your child’s new account. If you would like to monitor your child, you should activate activity reporting and web and search filters.
Next, you’ll need to sign in to your child’s new Microsoft account on the device you would like them to use. To monitor their Microsoft account, you can navigate to the settings of your own Microsoft account online and view their activity in the Family Safety tab.
4. Install and Configure a User Activity Tracking Software
Lastly, you’ll need to install a full-featured user monitoring program like Wolfeye Remote Screen to gain full insight into what your employees or children are doing.
After completing Wolfeye’s installation and setup process, you will need to configure the application to monitor each device you intend to track. Luckily, the configuration process for Wolfeye Remote Screen is extremely simple.
- Open the Wolfeye Remote Screen application and click the Share Screen button. The button will turn red, indicating that it has started to record. A URL linking to a live view of the screen will appear.
- Click on the Email URL button, and enter the necessary information to send the link to yourself. This will allow you to track the user’s activity at any time.
- Click the Hide + Win Startup button. The Wolfeye Remote Screen application will disappear, but the program will continue to record in the background—even when the computer is restarted.
While tracking a user’s activity on a Windows computer might seem like a difficult process, it’s surprisingly easy to do. When you combine built-in Windows user activity tracking features with a high-quality screen monitoring program like Wolfeye Remote Screen, you will have all of the insight you need to address problematic device usage and protect your users.
If you’re ready to see how the right software can make monitoring your home or business’s devices significantly easier, consider trying the free 3-day trial of Wolfeye Remote Screen today.
- ActivTrak: What is User Activity Monitoring (UAM)
- Adjust Your Privacy: Is It Illegal to Secretly Spy on Someone’s Phone?
- Wolfeye: How To Monitor a Child’s Computer Without Them Knowing
- Auslogics: How to track User Activity in WorkGroup Mode on Windows 10?
- Windows Central: How to set up a kid-friendly Windows 10 device with a child account
- Wolfeye: Tutorial