A simple audit trail tool

A simple, yet often overlooked audit trail tool is the '>' sign when used with command prompt utilities.

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If you've ever been subject to an Information Systems audit, you know that you're in for a never-ending series of questions -- Why did you modify a certain machine? What settings were established before you changed them? Did you run diagnotics? Did you keep a record of them?

A simple, yet often overlooked tool is the '>' sign when used with command prompt utilities. A great example of this is the 'IPCONFIG /ALL', a commonly used utility that can become much more useful if entered like this:

  • IPCONFIG /ALL >machineXX.txt

This entry will create a text file with the IP settings for the current machine and will send the output to a file called 'machineXX.txt'. This file can be printed or filed as a system audit trail.

If you are troubleshooting, and need to keep track of your results, then try this:

  • NETDIAG /test:bindings >networkbind.txt

This example uses the 'NETDIAG' utility to verify the network bindings and sends the results to a text file.

Simple yet effective -- try it with all your command prompt tools and utilities!

This was first published in November 2002

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