Monitor Log Files In Real Time With BareTail (Windows Only)

Karl L. Gechlik 05-11-2008

It’s your friendly neighborhood admin with another free small app that makes my day to day life easier.


Monitor Log Files In Real Time With BareTail (Windows Only) baretaillogo When something goes wrong on my network I go to the log files. Sometimes these files can be HUGE and take forever to open. The information is usually at the end of the file (as long as the incident happened recently) so it would help if I could just grab the last hundred or so lines from the file on the fly.

There is a command line command called Tail that can be used for some instances but this is sans GUI. It also cannot auto update as new data flows into the file or open multiple files at the same time. Dum Dum Dum…

That is where BareTail comes in. This free little application does everything I just mentioned in a non-installable app! That’s right boys and girls this is a perfect candidate for your memory stick.

Let’s check it out in all its simple glory…

monitor logging


Now I normally use BareTail on my mail log but I could not show you those screenshots without blurring every other word/IP so here is a shot from my firewall’s Syslog output. I have it looking for a particular string that it highlights and the file is updating every 250ms (and highlighting new entries as they match my filters).

So on a dual monitor setup you can quickly see the highlighted lines out of the corner of your eye and back up to see the problem.

search log files

As you can see above from the options screen, you have few options in the free version but it is still powerful nonetheless.


The only other option screen is the highlighting screen shown below:

Monitor Log Files In Real Time With BareTail (Windows Only) highlighting

You can have as many highlighting lines as you want as long as your brain can keep up with them as the data flows by.

BareTail is free for personal use and they have a Pro version with a few nifty features as well including more intense filter and search options. It also gives you the ability to save searches and filters to be used over and over again. But the free version is more than enough for me! You know my motto – free is for me!


Do you have a need for a tool like this other that what I use it for? Do you use something similar? Let us know in the comments readers….inquiring minds NEED to know!

Related topics: Computer Networks, Portable App.

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  1. The Windows Fix
    November 5, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Interesting....If only I had the time to monitor this much detail about my network.

    • Karl L. Gechlik
      November 5, 2008 at 3:57 pm

      It's better (and less time consuming) to be pro-active rather than going crazy and being retro-active after the damage is done...

      Monitoring logs, syslogs and backups may very well be the 3 most important things to watch for on a network!