What is VTrace?

VTrace is a software tool you install on your Pentium or better PC running Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 2000 so it can trace things your computer does. The traces it collects will be used in a study of how to reduce the energy consumption of computers, as well as other studies. You can read more about it in our MSDN article.

Is using VTrace easy?

Yes, it is. To install VTrace 2.7, all you have to do is download the executable (vtrace27.exe for Windows NT or vtr2k27.exe for Windows 2000) into a temporary directory, run it to extract its contents, then follow the simple installation instructions in the readme.txt file that gets created. You must have Administrator privileges to install VTrace. Then you're done; VTrace will automatically collect traces in the background and upload trace files to our web server during idle periods.

You can also click here to read the readme.txt files for the Windows NT and Windows 2000 versions.

What kinds of things does VTrace record about my computer?

VTrace collects traces of the file system, the network, the disk drive, processes, threads, interprocess communication, waitable objects, cursor changes, windows, and the keyboard.

VTrace records metadata information about your filesystem, but not the contents of files. Furthermore, although it does collect information on keystrokes, it preserves the confidentiality of passwords and other sensitive typed information by recording any unmodified letters pressed (as opposed to modified letters, like Control-C) as X's, and any unmodified numbers pressed as 9's.

My machine is behind a firewall. Does that matter?

Although VTrace should work from behind a firewall (see the readme.txt file for instructions), downloading the VTrace executable from this page is another matter. Some people have reported problems downloading the executables on this page, which is usually due to firewalls restricting the downloading of executables. To fix this, download the executable using a machine not restricted in this manner.

Can I see the source code for VTrace?

Yes, you can. Go to the VTrace source page.

Our thanks...

Your participation in the study will be greatly appreciated. You may help usher in the next generation of ultra-long battery-life portables. Download VTrace now!

Windows NT users click here to download vtrace27.exe.
Windows 2000 users click here to download vtr2k27.exe.