I have received a number of requests regarding a screen capture application after posting the FileSlinger program in conjunction with the Logitech motion capture. While this was a fun quickie to code, I am really having trouble finding many ethical reasons to use a tool like this, but I guess I will assume that it will be used for automated testing and UI capture….
Ah.. Who am I kidding. I know it will probably be used to spy on employees and significant others so tsk tsk!
Anyway, the premise of the app is simple:
- Run without a window (application is hidden to the nake eye, but you could spot/kill it in the Task Manager)
- Capture the screen(s) at a configurable time interval
- Email the screen captures via SMTP once a specified number of captures has been reached
- Delete the files that have been emailed
- Copy the files in the attached zip to the computer whose screen you wish to spy on
- Using a text editor of your choice, open ccss.exe.config
- Change settings to match your configuration (i.e. change user name, password, intervals, etc)
- Save the changes to ccss.exe.config
- Run ccss.exe
- Walk away, feeling guilty about what you just did and excited about how many new emails you’ll now be getting
If your conscience finally gets to you or email box get flood because of poor configuration, you can kill the program. But how to you kill the one you cannot see… Well:
- Open Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys simultaneously
- Under ‘Processes’ tab, locate ccss.exe, select it, and click “End Process” in the window (or just hit delete key)
Ok, so if you are not a techie, the XML configuration file may look a little scary, but it really isn’t. It just lists a bunch of settings and their values, albeit in a funky format. So just find the settings you want to change, and just change the stuff between <value> tags that follow.
- <setting name=”to_address” – this is where the screen captures will be sent
- <setting name=”from_address” – this is who the emails will appear to be from
- <setting name=”capture_frequency” – number of MILLISECONDS between each capture
- <setting name=”capture_directory” – where the captures files should be stored prior to being emailed
- <setting name=”captures_per_email” – how many captures will be gathered before an email is sent out
- <setting name=”capture_subject” – if you spying on more than one computer, you may enter some identifier here that will appear in the email subject line
- <setting name=”smpt_server” – the SMTP mail server that will be used to send an email
- <setting name=”smtp_port” – SMTP server port (default is 25, but hostmonster, for example changes it to 26)
- <setting name=”smtp_user” – the username that should be used to login into the server
- <setting name=”smtp_password” – passowrd that should be used for connection with server
Sending a lot of images in an email can be resource-consuming, so I suggest either not capturing frequently or emailing frequently.
Note, that capture_frequency is in milliseconds. Thus, if you want to capture every minute, you need to set it to 60000. Then if your captures_per_email = 10, you will get an email every 10 minutes with 10 images that were taken roughly a minute apart.
That’s pretty much it. Let me know if there are any issues or concerns.
If you like the tool, buy something on Amazon by getting there via the Ad links on this site or just buy me a beer.
ccScreenSpy (ccss) v 1.0 – Initial Revision, requires .Net 4
Source Code – Maybe coming soon…