Over the years, the keylogger technology has been continuously improved to enhance its effectiveness.
From what was simple hardware designed to record the keystrokes typed on a particular system, to software-based solutions that are easy to implement; the journey has been a long time coming. Modern-day keyloggers are more readily available and certainly do much more than recording keystrokes.
And while their legality has for the longest time been questioned, there’s no doubt on how important this software can be. Whether you’re a parent monitoring your child’s online activity or an employer preventing your workforce from misusing the internet; keyloggers are legal in many jurisdictions.
Trust me! When used right, the software can be of so much help in many areas of your day to day life.
“You Can’t See Me”
Most importantly, keyloggers should run on hidden mode and be invisible to the user. However, this must be on an individual level (parent or employer) and with the relevant authorization to do so. Otherwise, using a keylogger without authorization can be an invasion of privacy.
Besides keystroke logging, the best free keyloggers will record the visited websites, the programs used, the clipboard, and even capture screenshots.
This article will look into the ins and outs of keyloggers to help you establish why you need one before running a few ideal options through you. But before we delve deeper, let’s define what a keylogger really is;
What Is a Keylogger?
A keylogger can be defined as an important piece of software that’s designed to record and store keystrokes typed on your system (computer). However, recent improvements on the software has made it a user activity monitoring application that can do much more than recording keystrokes.
Modern keyloggers can measure productivity and evaluate the online behavior of an employee or child for better assessment. The best models can also capture screenshots, monitor online activity, record the clipboard, and log application usage.
Why Do You Need a Keylogger?
Some people still remain skeptical about this software because scammers use it to illegally obtain your passwords, credit cards, and other private information. However, when keystroke logging is done right, and with authorization, there are so many possibilities. Some of these possibilities include;
- Keystroke recording
- Internet activity recording
- Application monitoring
- Schedule monitoring
- Password logging
- Chats and clipboard monitoring
- Screenshot capturing
- Automatic log files clearing
Monitoring your child’s online activity and employee time tracking are two of the most common uses of keyloggers. So, here’s how to use them appropriately;
1. Monitoring Your Kid’s Online Activity
Nowadays, the internet is the gateway to every piece of information for children. From games, cartoons, and kid’s movies; it’s hard to keep your little one off the internet. The internet has its own dangers and proper monitoring can help keep your child safe, especially when you’re away from home.
A good keylogger program will help you pick the sites they’re visiting and discussions they’re having with strangers. This way, you can always be in the know and protect your loved ones.
2. Employee Time Tracking
Keyloggers can be used to study human-computer interaction at the workplace to enhance productivity.
Employers can use the program to oversee computer use to ensure that employees complete their tasks on time and avoid time-wasting on social media and other work-unrelated tasks. Tracking your employee’s computer work can also avoid malicious leaking of confidential information.
Most if not all uses of keyloggers can be utilized to monitor both kid’s online activity and employee time tracking.
I have tried and tested various keyloggers and I have several programs I think would be useful to you. In fact, I’ve reviewed 8 of the best options on the market to help you make the right decision.
Hopefully, you’ll find the best free keylogger software for your exact needs.
Best Free Keylogger Overall: Refog Keylogger
Price Free, Pro version costs $39
System Requirements Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7; macOS 10.5-10.15
The Refog Keylogger boasts of an easy installation process. Simply download the program which is packaged in a zip file, unzip it and proceed with installation.
The program has a user-friendly interface and you don’t need technical knowledge to operate it. It also records a whole lot of useful information including typed text and web history. Every text typed on social media sites, chats, and web pages is recorded alongside the time of visit. Additionally, the program picks the information even if the person deletes the history.
Other than the keystrokes, Refog also captures colored screenshots to give you visual insight into the activities. It tracks files and actions such as copy, paste, and delete so you can be sure that the user is not doing something malicious.
Moreover, the software can work in stealth mode for complete invisibility while allowing you to set a password to protect unauthorized access.
- Records a large number of activities
- Alluring, user-friendly interface
- Strong visual surveillance
- Real-time remote viewing
- Accurate time tracking
- The free version doesn’t offer remote reports
Why Is Refog Keylogger the Best Free Keylogger?
Refog is built to enhance workplace productivity and your kids’ safety, especially when you’re away from home. Use any device, anywhere in the world to monitor what’s going on at your workplace.
It accurately records visited web pages, social sites, and any typed text.
Moreover, the program also captures screenshots for better assessment and allows you to enjoy the resourceful stealth mode for complete invisibility.
Another Good Free Keylogger #1: KidLogger
Price Free, Pro version costs $9 (3 months)
System Requirements Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, Windows 7, 8 & 10; Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8
KidLogger is the ideal tool for all parents. This incredible program allows you to monitor what your children are doing with the computer. It can help you pick their online communications and dealings which is a great step towards fostering their safety.
The basic version is free and open-source. Unfortunately, KidLogger is a monitoring tool and lacks control options, so you’ll have to talk to your kids to keep their activities in check.
Setting up KidLogger is very simple! And while the interface could do with some polishing up, the program allows you to select what you want to monitor when setting up. From Skype chat logs and browsing history to clipboard contents and keystrokes, you can customize the experience. You can also set the screen to capture screenshots in intervals or when a keyword is detected.
Depending on the plan you go for, KidLogger provides you with extra bells and whistles like scheduled email reports, backup download, dedicated technical support, and photo capturing on startup.
- Available for a variety of platforms including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS and BlackBerry
- Can monitor multiple devices
- It offers multiple monitoring options
- Setting up the program is very simple
- Doesn’t have control or blocking options
Another Good Free Keylogger #2: Spyrix Personal Monitor
Price Free, Pro version costs $59 per year
System Requirements Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista & XP
Spyrix free keylogger is an easy to use, multifunctional keylogger that’s ideal for both employee monitoring and parental control. It boasts of a user-friendly interface and is available in 9 languages making it popular among newbies and experts around the world. Moreover, the program boasts of being able to identify and block blacklisted sites.
This free keylogger records a large number of activities including keystrokes logging, screenshots capture, search engine motoring, social media sites, chats, printing activity, and external storage.
The Spyrix free keylogger also provides you with several ways to transfer logs. And you can choose to watch the feed live from a secure web account or dedicated mobile application (Android & iOS).
The key logger features the stealth mode that’s immune to computer antiviruses. This makes it an ideal monitoring device because the users can’t detect its presence in the system. The monitoring scheduler setting also allows you to set your preferred time of surveillance which is a great thing.
- User-friendly interface available in 9 languages
- Has a stealth mode for complete invisibility
- Remote monitoring via a secure web account
- Records a large number of activities
- Ideal for both employee monitoring and parental control
- System log on passwords are not recorded
Another Good Free Keylogger #3: Revealer Free Keylogger
Price Free, Pro version costs $39.99 (one-time payment)
System Requirements Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP SP3
This key logger boasts of real-time monitoring including capturing screenshots to ensure you never miss a single detail.
The patented algorithms record everything that’s typed on the keyboard including usernames and passwords of different applications. It also has an automatic screenshot capture feature that’s activated once the user types something or uses the mouse.
The program allows you to enjoy remote monitoring either from another computer, tablet, or phone. The log files are delivered through a series of avenues including email, Dropbox, FTP, or LAN. Additionally, you can adjust the log delivery sequence to either once or several times in a day.
Revealer Free Keylogger has a full invisible mode that provides you special protection from your child or the employee. This exclusive feature allows the program to remain invisible even on the system’s tools like registry, Windows Task Manager, and Windows Explorer.
Also, the password protection feature restricts software access by unauthorized users.
- Despite the free version’s limits, the program is pretty functional
- It offers a variety of interface languages
- The full invisible mode is very helpful
- Accurate conversation monitoring including screenshot capture
- Allows you to monitor the user remotely
- Does not record IP and Web addresses
Another Good Free Keylogger #4: Best Free Keylogger
Price Free, Pro version costs $39.99 (one-time payment)
System Requirements Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7 & Vista
The Best Free Keylogger has an intuitive and user-friendly interface with a host of useful settings. For instance, you can sort records by date, application, user, or text. The program also has a ‘Smart Read’ option that enables intelligent filtering of special keystrokes like ‘Enter’ and ‘Backspace.’ Additionally, the records are presented in appropriate colors and icons and can be filtered in ascending or descending order.
All these simple yet effective functions make it easy to read and understand the records.
The Best Free Keylogger is popular among parents and system administrators thanks to its wide range of features. From record keystrokes and capture screenshots to monitor clipboard and internet activities; there’s something for everyone.
Moreover, it allows you to set restrictions on certain applications and allow internet access at certain times.
- Best Free Keylogger monitors a wide range of activities
- The ‘Smart Read’ filter intelligently picks keystrokes like ‘Enter’ and ‘Backspace.’
- Password protection feature avoids unauthorized access
- It has an invisible mode
- Report delivery is only available in the paid version
Another Good Free Keylogger #5: Windows Keylogger
Price Free, Pro version costs $49
System Requirements Windows 10, 8, 7 &Vista
This key logger has a very useful sidebar on the right with a calendar and records counts available for each date. There’s also a special icon before each record which makes it easy to understand the logs in the report viewer.
Windows Keylogger intelligently filters web content into content-based categories for easy reading and understanding. It records keystrokes, clipboard, screenshots, applications, and internet activities, which makes it ideal for both parental control and workplace monitoring.
The Windows Keylogger software comes with a few extra bells and whistles like a special feature that allows you to filter logs you need by advanced search and the ‘Easy Read’ function that makes reading keystrokes very easy. Additionally, you can configure the program to monitor certain users or specific applications.
Another Good Free Keylogger #6: Ardamax Keylogger
Price 7-day Free Trial, Pro version costs $48.96
System Requirements Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP
The Ardamax Keylogger accurately captures conversations which makes it reliable for both parents and system administrators. It registers every keystroke made on the system while capturing text copied to the clipboard. The Keylogger then saves it all to an encrypted data file that’s password protected.
The program captures conversations from popular messengers too including Skype, Google Talk, Miranda, among others.
This Keylogger software allows you to monitor the records remotely. This way, you don’t need to have direct access to the system. This and the stealth feature means that you can continue to monitor the user invisibly from miles away. The logs are received via email, network, or FTP server uploads.
Apart from recording keystrokes, Ardamax also captures screenshots based on set intervals. It also captures the user’s photo on startup to help the admin have a better understanding of the user’s identity and the context of their online behavior.
- Captures chats and screenshots accurately
- Allows you to remain invisible to the user
- Remote monitoring
- Boasts of a secure, password-protected encrypted data file
- You’ll have to pay to enjoy the full benefits eventually
Another Good Free Keylogger #7: Elite Keylogger
Price 7-day Free Trial, Pro version costs $79 (Windows), $49 (Mac)
System Requirements Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP; Mac OS X 10.6.8+
Elite Keylogger is an excellent monitoring device that will do all the dirty work for you while still remaining invisible. It collects documents, passwords, emails, and chat messages. The program also intercepts URL across popular browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
The remote monitoring feature allows you to keep tabs with what’s going on from miles away. You can choose to either have the logs emailed to you or uploaded to a secure server.
Additionally, the app can be configured to be completely invisible, which makes it an ideal choice for both parents and system administrators.
Elite Keylogger software has an incredibly user-friendly interface, making it perfect for novice and experienced users. The setup process takes a few minutes and you only need to choose how you want to receive the logs, and you’re all set.
- Excellent application and clipboard monitoring
- Records chats, emails, and intercepts URL
- Remote monitoring
- Multiple log deliveries
- You’ll have to pay to enjoy the full benefits eventually
Can Keylogger be installed remotely?
No! You need physical access to the computer. However, installing the program in the system only takes a few minutes. After installation, you can receive logs via email, network, or FTP server uploads.
Keylogger vs. Parental Control?
Parental control might entail getting your kid’s phone, WhatsApp or Facebook password and going through it once in a while to see what they are up to. And while some parents still use this method, your kid can easily delete chats and web history, leaving you with nothing to discover. However, monitoring software ensures that no text, web search, or conversation is hidden. It makes monitoring easy and accurate.
Are Keyloggers Legal?
Yes! Keylogger is only illegal if it’s installed on a computer without authorization. If the motivation is to steal private information such as credit card numbers, then the Keylogger software is illegal.
However, if you’re a concerned parent looking out for your kid or a system administrator wanting to know what’s going on with the system, the program is totally legal.
Windows Defender blocks my Keylogger. How do I add an exception?
- Open Windows Defender Security Centre and click on the Virus and threat protection icon
- Click in the Virus and threat Protection settings and scroll down to Exclusions
- Click on the Add or remove exclusions and from the page that appears choose Add an exclusion
- From the drop-down menu, choose file and specify Keylogger as the exclusion.
Best Free Keyloggers in 2020: Final Words
And that’s it, folks! Keyloggers are very essential in monitoring what’s happening in your system.
Whether you’re a parent or a system administrator, keeping tabs with computer use is very important.
For parents, the program allows you to have a better understanding of your kid and ensure that he/she remains safe on the internet, especially when you’re away. In fact, some programs allow you to blacklist certain websites to restrict patronage.
For system administrators, keyloggers allow you to keep tabs with everything taking place in the system. Employers can use the records to have a better understanding of their workforce, and most importantly, prevent the sharing of malicious information. Computer teachers and Internet cafés can also utilize these programs to have an insight into what their users are up to.
This guide has explored everything there is to know about Keyloggers. We have even gone the extra mile and reviewed some of the best free keyloggers to give you a feel of the experience and the benefits that await you. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, there’s certainly something for you to learn in this guide.
In closing, I hope my best free keylogger review was helpful when you’re making your choice. I also recommend that you look around our site to learn about other online software for small business owners. For example our best Mac cleaner and dr.fone review articles.
Tim is an engineer and small business owner from Northern California. He’s an outgoing creative writer and tech blogger who has a passion for helping people and building creativity in the mind, through outstanding how-to guides, articles, and honest software reviews.