RRAS utility in Windows Server 2003 traces network problems

The Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS) utility in Windows Server 2003 provides an extensive tracing capability for identifying and troubleshooting complex network problems. By enabling file tracing, you can record internal component variables, function calls and interactions, for the purpose of preventing someone from running a malicious script on a network.

File tracing can be enabled on various RRAS components to log tracing information to files. However, enabling file tracing requires changing settings in the Windows Server 2003 Registry.

Because tracing consumes system resources, you should use it sparingly. Once the trace is complete or the networking problem is identified, you should immediately disable tracing. Specifically, do not keep tracing in an enabled state on multiprocessor computers. Multiprocessor computers are usually deployed to carry out compute-intensive tasks, such as updating thousands of tables of a large database or serving many client computers. Leaving tracing enabled on a multiprocessor computer would consume resources to the point that performance would drop significantly.

To enable file tracing for each component, follow these steps:

  1. Run regedit.exe and navigate to the following Registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing\. ( represents the component for which you want to enable file tracing.)

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  1. Select the component for which you want to enable file tracing.
  2. Right-click the EnableFileTracing entry, click Modify, then assign a value of 1 (the default value is 0).

For the selected component, modify additional entries as needed:

  • To set the location of the trace file, right-click the FileDirectory entry, click Modify, then type the location of the log file as a path. The filename for the log file is the name of the component for which tracing is enabled. By default, log files are placed in the %windir%\Tracing directory.
  • To set the level of file tracing, right-click the FileTracingMask entry, click Modify and then type a value for the tracing level. The tracing level can be from 0 to 0xFFFF0000. By default, the level of file tracing is set to 0xFFFF0000, which is the maximum level of tracing.
  • To set the maximum size of a log file, right-click the MaxFileSize entry, click Modify, and then type a size for the log file. The default value is 0x00100000, or 64KB.

Note: Make sure to create a proper backup before making any changes to the Registry.

About the author: Rahul Shah currently works at a software firm in India, where he is a systems administrator maintaining Windows servers. He has also worked for various software firms in testing and analytics, and also has experiences deploying client/server applications in different Windows configurations.

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This was first published in June 2007

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