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File Watcher Windows Service in C#

, 1 Sep 2004
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This article will give you a peep into creating a basic windows service in C#


FileSyswatcher is a windows service that monitors a specified path on your disk drive. It will check for all changes to a directory including it's subdirectories and files. The application enables you :

  • To keep check on changes made to directories.
  • Log which user made what changes to which directories and files on what date and time.
  • Generate a HTML report for the daily logs.

FileSysWatcher is written in C# and .Net 1.1. FileSysWatcher will run on all MS Windows platforms that support Windows Services. It's a Windows Service application that uses many powerful features of the .NET platform.


I developed this application to demonstrate how to create a windows service. It also demonstrates the use of the FileSystemWatcher object. It demonstrates how to catch various file change events such as Delete, Create, Rename and Change. Other feature's used are XML, XSLT, FileStream and StreamReader and StreamWriter of the XML and IO namespaces respectively.

Using the code

The application has the following files:
  1. bin\Release\FileSysWatcher.exe.config
  2. bin\Release\logStyles.xsl
  3. App.config
  4. FileSysWatcher.cs
  5. PrintReport.cs
  6. ProjectInstaller.cs
  7. Util.cs bin\Release\FileSysWatcher.exe.config:

This file is generated every time you compile the application. Its a copy of the App.Config file. This is the application configuration file where I have added key-value pairs.


This is the xsl file which is used to generate the HTML report from the xml.


This is the application configuration file where I have added key-value pairs. When application is compiled it generates a file called FileSysWatcher.exe.config which is copied to the bin\Release folder. It contains following values:

  • LOGFILENAME file path where log file is created.
  • ERRORLOGFILENAME file path where errors during execution are logged.
  • PATHTOWATCH the path to monitor.


This is the actual service file. It has the FileSysWatcher class which inherits from the ServiceBase class. It has methods such as,

  • OnStart()
  • OnStop()

It also hosts the FileSystemWatcher object which exposes the following events,

  • FSWatcher_Changed()
  • FSWatcher_Created()
  • FSWatcher_Deleted()
  • FSWatcher_Renamed()

These events are fired everytime a file/directory is changed, deleted, renamed or created.


This contains a static Print() method to generate the HTML report.


This is a ServiceInstaller which is autogenerated. No code has been modified in this class.


This contains utility methods.

Points of Interest

Some Interesting points:

  • Generating HTML using XML and XSLT.
  • Monitoring File and Directory Activity
  • Installing and UnInstalling a Windows Service.


  • First Update : 02nd September 2004.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Prashant B. Bhide
Web Developer
India India
A Microsoft Certified Professional with over 2 Yrs experience in .Net. Worked on both Windows-based and Web-based Technologies. Used Cutting Edge Tools such as Visual Studio.Net 2003, Oracle9i. Worked with organisations such as Cygnus Software Pvt. Ltd. and Deloitte Consulting. Presently working with Nihilent Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Pune, India as System Analyst.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 1 Pin
Lavrekho at 15-Dec-12 5:23
memberLavrekho15-Dec-12 5:23 
Suggestionsource code is damaged Pin
Anand Priyadarshi at 27-Nov-12 22:14
memberAnand Priyadarshi27-Nov-12 22:14 
QuestionEvent not Firing Pin
michmsk at 19-Jan-12 3:55
membermichmsk19-Jan-12 3:55 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
tusharpal at 17-Jul-11 19:51
membertusharpal17-Jul-11 19:51 
GeneralFile watcher results appended to a .csv file Pin
stacson at 2-Nov-10 9:41
memberstacson2-Nov-10 9:41 
GeneralMy vote of 3 Pin
bonypatel at 9-Aug-10 4:43
memberbonypatel9-Aug-10 4:43 
QuestionDisplay Username Pin
Holger_01 at 30-Jun-08 7:45
memberHolger_0130-Jun-08 7:45 
Generalreport Pin
arkiboys at 25-Jun-08 2:47
memberarkiboys25-Jun-08 2:47 
GeneralRe: report Pin
arkiboys at 25-Jun-08 3:11
memberarkiboys25-Jun-08 3:11 
GeneralService Immediately Stops Pin
C1iff at 13-Mar-08 10:36
memberC1iff13-Mar-08 10:36 
GeneralRe: Service Immediately Stops Pin
crazsmith at 14-Apr-08 12:59
membercrazsmith14-Apr-08 12:59 
GeneralRe: Service Immediately Stops Pin
Yuriy Medvedev at 24-Jul-08 21:05
memberYuriy Medvedev24-Jul-08 21:05 
Generalhey Pin
santoshkandhukuri at 28-Nov-07 13:28
membersantoshkandhukuri28-Nov-07 13:28 
QuestionReplace existing file Pin
Ronnie_CA at 5-Apr-07 9:04
memberRonnie_CA5-Apr-07 9:04 
GeneralCode problem, not working... Pin
shivaraj.gk at 28-Mar-07 2:24
membershivaraj.gk28-Mar-07 2:24 
GeneralLimitation of FSWatcher when used as a windows service Pin
Fayyaz Lodhi at 4-Jan-07 22:38
memberFayyaz Lodhi4-Jan-07 22:38 
GeneralRe: Limitation of FSWatcher when used as a windows service Pin
robertpocklington at 10-May-07 20:38
memberrobertpocklington10-May-07 20:38 
GeneralChange event fired multiple times Pin
Dave Guest at 1-Nov-06 6:08
memberDave Guest1-Nov-06 6:08 
Questionhow can i get the added text? Pin
tonghz at 14-Apr-06 3:42
membertonghz14-Apr-06 3:42 
GeneralSource Code Problem Pin
shofb at 5-Jan-06 8:26
membershofb5-Jan-06 8:26 
GeneralRe: Source Code Problem Pin
AVKDSiva at 10-Nov-06 2:54
memberAVKDSiva10-Nov-06 2:54 
Mine is also same problem. When I open the solution it complains about not finding "testproject.csproj". Can anyone reslove it???
GeneralUserName Pin
vicevice at 4-May-05 3:35
membervicevice4-May-05 3:35 
GeneralRe: UserName Pin
spidarin at 7-Feb-06 5:41
memberspidarin7-Feb-06 5:41 
GeneralRe: UserName Pin
Chris Byrd at 3-Jul-07 23:28
memberChris Byrd3-Jul-07 23:28 
GeneralRe: UserName Pin
meraydin at 5-Feb-07 12:10
membermeraydin5-Feb-07 12:10 

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