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KeyCount - an ancient DOS TSR used to monitor keyboard activity

March 17, 2006

One of my earliest freeware utilities (KeyCount dates from 1995), I've decided to leave it available to the general public for those few aberrant souls (sorry) that continue to use DOS in the days of far more capable operating systems. Why? Why not.

KeyCount, like my programs BIOS Reporter and ScanCode Show, was written in WASM, the Wolfware Assember by Eric Tauck. This assembler is now available free of charge, and it works well for small DOS-only projects, even those coded for the 8086 ... More on WASM, and other assemblers, elsewhere.

I apologize that I haven't made the source code for this program publicly available - for the simple reason that I never annotated it, and I can barely decipher my own code at this point in time. Were I to re-develop the program, I'd start from scratch. While modern languages are better structured and much easier to read, the lesson remains: annotate your code!

KeyCount records the number of key-presses made at the keyboard, after the program is either invoked from the command line, or by a special key-stroke combination. When this same key-stroke combination is used again, the logged number of keypresses is displayed. This makes it useful for security purposes: has anyone else accessed the system in the meanwhile? or to measure productivity: has an employee done any typing at all, and if so, how many characters have been entered in your absence?

KeyCount is a TSR (Terminate-and-Stay-Resident) type program, that loads into memory when the program is invoked. It takes up 784 bytes (less than 1 KB) of your precious memory, and may be loaded high. (Nostalgic for those old days, anyone? EMM386 and HIMEM.SYS?)

Only a maximum of 655359 key-strokes is recorded; the counter then returns to zero. This shouldn't alarm anyone, as even a relay team of highly skilled typists working non-stop for 24 hours shouldn't exceed this character count.

Download the program from http://freeware.ars-informatica.ca/dosutil.htm


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