By day I am but an humble IT worker - currently tasked with maintaining and improving scripts and tools that keep our enterprise workstations humming. My largest project thus far has been an ever growing inventory script (now a .NET 2 app) that reports information back to a SQL database. This app is run on a schedule by a service I wrote. The script collects great pieces of information - everything from the screen resolution being used to information on SQL Server instances on the device (yep - inventories servers too!).
Anyway - one area that posed an issue was reporting back all profiles present on a computer and when they were last used. This can be done a number of ways - the simplest of which being to enumerate the folders in the Documents and Settings folder and then get the last modified date off of the ntuser.dat.log file within each directory. This file is a log (wow, couldn’t have guessed that!) of all registry actions for that specific user’s registry hive - think everything under HKEY_CURRENT_USER while you’re logged in. This works great - and has for a long time. Recent developments have changed some of that though…
What happens when AntiVirus crawls each user’s registry hive? It updates that file. Suddenly the inventory app was reporting each profile to be current as of the day the app was run…not good. I searched a long time via the Internet - and just poking around the registry for days. WMI didnt' help any - and neither did a hunch I had about using the local computer as an Active Directory forest to find the last login time. I came across another file you can check - and I believe I’m the first on the net to post this.
Check the file date on this file:
C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows\UsrClass.dat.LOG
This has proved to be a reliable way of getting the last login time for each profile when the other log file isn’t reliable. I suspect that it may be updated on certain software installations - so beware. But in my case - this was a life saver. Have fun and let me know if it helps!