fLogviewer freeware helps admins keep up with huge log files

Dealing with constantly-updating log files can be a Windows administrator's worst nightmare. However, the fLogViewer freeware tool can monitor plaintext log files in real time, handle IIS quirks and even automatically store concluded logs to a .ZIP file helping to ease this administrative burden.

There are few administrative tasks more frustrating than dealing with constantly-updating log files. It's hard enough staying on top of what's being posted to the file—never mind trying to extract useful information from it. That's why I constantly search for tools to make this task easier.

I recently found fLogViewer, which combines several log tools into one. The freeware monitors any plaintext log file in real time and has been written to handle the quirky way IIS writes log files.

In addition, flogViewer can handle large log files without choking (I was able to open and scan a 150MB log file without much delay on a production server) and has an auto-archiving function that automatically stores concluded logs in a folder or .ZIP file. The viewer can even read files from a remote server via HTTP without having to repeatedly download the whole file.

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fLogViewer lets you color-code specific log entries so you can make at-a-glance distinctions between different lines in a log. It also has a sophisticated filtering function, aside from the usual search dialog, which works via regular expressions, simple LIKE operators and even third-party VBScript plug-ins (documentation on this is provided by the author). This way, if you have an elaborate filtering mechanism for your logs, you don't have to write an entire custom program—you can use fLogViewer as a shell to do that.

Finally, the program is free to use and redistribute. The source code is not available, but the application's programmable nature partially makes up for that.

About the author:
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the  Windows Insight, (formerly the Windows Power Users Newsletter), a blog site devoted to hints, tips, tricks and news for users and administrators of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista. He has more than 12 years of Windows experience under his belt, and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.

This was first published in May 2007

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