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Article ID: 924732 - Last Review: May 29, 2007 - Revision: 4.1

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INTRODUCTION

This article discusses the Change Analysis Diagnostic tool for Microsoft Windows XP. This tool provides an easy way to track changes to certain parts of the operating system. The tool lets support professionals better understand the modifications to users' computers that may have caused problems. Support professionals can then suggest troubleshooting steps.

MORE INFORMATION

As computer programs grow more complex, extensible, and connected, users have more trouble understanding what makes their computers behave differently. Network connectivity lets computers download programs automatically. Then, the computers can install the programs automatically. Because of browser extensibility, components can be added to the browser in sophisticated ways that change the browsing experience. Users cannot always understand the programs and their interactions. Therefore, troubleshooting can be a very difficult task.

The Change Analysis Diagnostic tool is especially helpful because of the following issues:
  • Users may not be aware of recent changes to their computers.
  • Users may not understand the relevance of recent changes.
  • Users may be frustrated when support professionals ask them for detailed system information.
  • Users may be unable to provide accurate information about recent changes.
  • The user takes a long time to read computer information over the telephone.
The Change Analysis Diagnostic tool helps solve problems that users experience because of changes to their computers. These problems may be the result of updates, new software, or changes to hardware. These problems could lead to issues that include slow performance and crashes.

The Change Analysis Diagnostic tool scans the computer and displays recent changes to the following areas:
  • Software programs: The software programs that are listed in the Add or Remove Programs item in Control Panel.
  • Operating system components: Hotfixes and downloads from Windows Update.
  • Browser Helper Objects (BHOs): COM components that Internet Explorer loads when it starts. BHOs can intercept browser events, access Internet Explorer controls, create windows, and install add-ins that monitor messages and actions.
  • Drivers: Kernel-mode device drivers and file system drivers.
  • ActiveX controls: COM controls that have been downloaded by Internet Explorer or that are used in some Web pages.
  • Other Auto-Start Extensibility Points (ASEPs): ASEPs let programs start without action from the user. An ASEP may accept one or more ASEP hooks, each of which is associated with a program.
The tool also displays changes to loaded applications and startup objects.

The Change Analysis Diagnostic tool queries the System Restore data for the number of days that the user selects. The tool finds the changes to the registry and to the file system that are relevant to these categories. Then, the tool presents the changes together with contextual information. Finally, the tool lists the changes in an XML file that can be sent to a support professional.

Typically, this process starts when the user calls a support professional. The user reports that the computer has started to behave differently. For example, the computer may be running slower or crashing. The support professional directs the user to a Microsoft Web site to download the latest version of the Change Analysis Diagnostic tool. When the user runs the tool, information about the categories that are mentioned earlier is written to an XML file. Then, the user can view the file or use e-mail to send the file to the support professional for more analysis. The support professional can use the file to help the user troubleshoot the issue.

The support professional guides the user through the following steps:
  1. The support professional asks the user to install the Windows XP Change Analysis Diagnostic tool by visiting the Microsoft Download Center Web site.
  2. The support professional asks the user to run the diagnostic tool.

    To run the diagnostic tool, click Start, click Run, type statechangediag.exe, and then click OK.
  3. The tool asks the user for a time frame in which to search.
  4. The tool detects system changes. Then, it saves the data to an .xml file.
  5. The user either clicks View Report or finds the file on the computer. Then, the user uses e-mail to send the file to the support professional for more analysis.

    Note Typically, the .xml file is stored in the Drive:\Documents and Settings\User folder.
  6. The support professional reviews the output to determine what may cause the problem.

How to obtain the Change Analysis Diagnostic tool

Save the WindowsXP-KB924732-x86-ENU.exe file to a folder. Then, run the file to install the tool.

Update information

The following file is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:

Collapse this imageExpand this image
Download
Download the Change Analysis Diagnostic (KB924732) package now. (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=097976F8-1124-45B8-9769-B48429A7A6A1)

Release Date: March 27, 2007

For more information about how to download Microsoft support files, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
119591  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/119591/ ) How to obtain Microsoft support files from online services
Microsoft scanned this file for viruses. Microsoft used the most current virus-detection software that was available on the date that the file was posted. The file is stored on security-enhanced servers that help prevent any unauthorized changes to the file.

After you have installed the diagnostic tool, click Start, click Run, type statechangediag.exe, and then click OK.

Modes of operation

You can run the diagnostic tool in wizard mode or in command line mode.

Wizard mode

By default, the Change Analysis Diagnostic tool runs in wizard mode. In wizard mode, the tool installs itself and starts when the user connects to the download location. The wizard asks the user some basic questions and then gathers the requested data. When the wizard finishes, the tools displays information about what has changed on the computer. Then, the user can send the .xml file to the support professional for more analysis. The user can find the file by using the path that is provided when the wizard finishes. Typically, this location is the Drive:\Documents and Settings\User folder.

Command line mode

In command line mode, the Change Analysis Diagnostic tool provides the same functionality. However, this mode lets support professionals run the tool by using scripts and by using batch processing.

The command line mode supports the following options:
  • The -nogui option changes to a console application instead of a GUI-based application.
  • The -verbose option changes the output log to verbose.
  • The -history <days> option lets you specify a different number of days to start the scan. By default, this is 7 days.

Limitations

The Change Analysis Diagnostic tool is intended only to help determine recent changes that may affect the user experience. The tool is a read-only program that can display information about changes to a computer that is running Windows XP. Therefore, consider the following points:
  • The Change Analysis Diagnostic tool is not a security tool. For example, it cannot help remove malicious software.
  • You cannot use the Change Analysis Diagnostic tool to automatically reverse system settings, to uninstall applications, or to remove any other software.
  • The Change Analysis Diagnostic tool does not determine all changes to computers. The tool also does not correct all changes to computers.
  • The Change Analysis Diagnostic tool does not recover any system components. The tool also does not modify any system components.
  • The Change Analysis Diagnostic tool will not function in Safe Mode.
The Change Analysis Diagnostic tool requires Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). The tool also requires that restore points are created on the computer. The diagnostic tool cannot detect changes if system restore points are not present.

REFERENCES

For more informationabout the System Restore tool, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
302796  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/302796/ ) How to troubleshoot the System Restore tool in Windows XP
306084  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/306084/ ) How to restore the operating system to a previous state in Windows XP

APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Keywords: 
kbexpertiseadvanced kbhowto kbinfo KB924732
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