Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Understanding Install Log Files

Sometimes installers fail. This means that you (or one of your colleagues) will need to work out why.

The Hard Way

One option is to manually parse the rather large log file. Searching the file for the word 'Error' or 'Return Value 3', and hoping that the first instance of this will eludes to the issues via an error code.

The Easier Way

Another option that you have, is to allow part of the Windows SDK to do the legwork for you.

This utility will allow you to directly step through any errors, providing possible solutions associated to them.

You can also launch a html log file parser from this utility, which will colour code the log file, based on log type, and allow you to step between errors whilst being able to see the context in which the error was raised. 

Inspecting log files isn't fun, but it needn't be hard work either :)


  1. Big Thanks to Peter Griffiths - [Imported from Previous Blog]
    Very interesting!
    There's also Microsoft's LogParser utility which lets you query log files from the command line and lets you use SQL to extract the bits you want. There's a good article about it here. Microsoft's Log Parser Utility: Swell ETL

  2. Nice one!! I can think of some uses for this!