Published on July 31st, 2013 | by Gadget Mate0
Gecko Monitor Review – Stealthy Computer Monitoring Software
Summary: Child protection from online porn has been in the news lots recently. This product really hits the target, keeping your children away from unwanted websites or monitoring your staff is easy than ever before.
In this review we’ll be taking a look at the Computer Monitoring Software – Gecko Monitor. Gecko Monitor is an application that once installed, will monitor and report on everything that happens on the PC it is installed on (at the time of writing the software is not iOS/apple compatible but is potentially a new feature coming soon). Gecko Monitor runs in complete stealth, meaning that anyone using the computer will not know their activities are being monitored; this is great if you need to keep a check on family members, or an office computer.
We’ll work through the program just as a user would, from download, to installation, to actual use, and see exactly how Gecko Monitor works. Let’s start at the website…
The Gecko website has a couple of products, Gecko Monitor (the one we are reviewing here), Gecko Filter and Gecko Kids. Gecko Filter is a parental control application that filters and blocks websites depending on their content (think swearing, gambling etc), and Gecko Kids is a portal of kids websites for parents. The website is easy to navigate through, and finding the download page for the free trial of Gecko Monitor is a simple process.
Downloading & Installation
After downloading the installation package (a small package of 3.5Mb), installation itself is quick and easy. Make sure you install Gecko Monitor using the administrator account (right-click and click ‘run as administrator’) and also disable UAC (user account controls) to make sure Gecko Monitor runs smoothly on all Windows accounts. Once the software is installed you can run it for the first time.
The first time Gecko Monitor runs it will ask you to define a password. Once this is done the user interface will spring into life. The actual interface is easy to use and understand, with a tab for each feature that Gecko Monitor has. There is also a settings button, which allows you to customize the software (we’ll come to that later), a ‘Start Monitoring’ button, and a calendar button that allows you to view the logs from different days. Clicking the ‘Start Monitoring’ button brings up a warning that the software is about to enter hidden mode and pressing control+alt+K will make it visible again. I click ‘Ok’ and the interface disappears.
While it’s running I go about my normal activities: visiting websites, typing documents, using a variety of applications and a few other things. After a few hours of use (and a system restart) I type the key combination and enter my password; Gecko Monitor springs back into life.
The home tab of the software tells me a few statistics of what’s been monitored, but it’s each of the other tabs that give a real insight into what’s been going on. The screenshots tab shows images of each website I visited and each application I used, along with periodic snaps of the document I was working on, all of them with the date and time of the snap. Double clicking also makes the images bigger.
The next tab is the keystrokes tab which has a list of each website and application I used. Clicking each of them brings up the keystrokes I typed in the right hand box, this works in a really simple way. I can click Facebook for example, and the password I typed and a message I typed appears in the box. Similarly, I click Open Office writer and see the contents of the document I was working on.
The next tab is the websites tab, which provides a list of the websites I visited, along with the date and time of the visit, the tab after this provides a similar list but for applications I used. The next tab again is similar, but has a list of any printed documents, the one after that is the same but for anything copied and pasted.
The ‘Files’ tab shows any files and documents that have been either opened, saved, deleted or moved, again with the date and time of the said activity. The final tab is the timeline tab, which shows a simple timeline of events that happened. This is handy if you want a quick glance at events, to get a general idea of what has been going on.
I really like the way the software works, it’s tab layout is simple to use and it’s really easy to flick through and see what’s been happening. It’s also simple to customize the software using the settings button. You can change the key combination used to open it to something else, you can choose websites to ignore and you can choose whether you want to start Gecko Monitor when the system starts, and whether you want to run it on all user accounts, along with a few other settings. Of course, if you choose to start Gecko on start-up, it will run in hidden mode from the get go, so there’s no risk of getting caught.
In regards to stealth, Gecko Monitor is one of the best monitoring applications I’ve used. Once installed, you’ll see no sign of the software running in the task manager (Control+alt+delete), you won’t find it in the program files directory (it’s installed deep inside the Windows directory), and you won’t see any sign of it in the start menu or add/remove programs list. If you want to uninstall the software you can do so from inside the settings in the program.
Overall Gecko Monitor is great application, with some really nice, reliable features. It’s easy to install and use, and it’s levels of stealth are second to none. You can download a free trial of the software from the website here: www.geckomonitor.com