Using SMS Trace to View Log Files

Monday, January 28, 2008

I wind up looking at a lot of text logs during troubleshooting. While opening a log in Notepad is quick, it’s also tough to look at a lot of log entries that way. I use the SMS Trace (aka, Trace32) log viewer from the Configuration Manager 2007 Toolkit.

With it, you can easily:

  • Find any log line with a specific text

  • Highlight lines with specific text

  • Filter out lines that contain text to reduce the volume of what you see
Lines with the word "warning" are automatically highlighted in yellow and lines with the word "error" are highlighted in red. It even updates the log every 500 milliseconds to get new entries, which you can adjust.

The System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Toolkit is available here. There is an exe which unpacks to two msi packages. Use the CcmTools.msi which installs the core tools.

When you launch the SMS Log Viewer for the first time, it will prompt you with:

Do you want to make SMS Trace the default log viewer?
I always make it my default viewer.


  1. How did you configuring two color highlighting?

  2. Hi Matt,

    That happens automatically. Trace32 automatically highlights any line with the word "warning" in it as yellow, and any line with the word "error" in it as red.

    You can also specify a different highlight color to use for the Highlight feature under the Tools menu. The default highlight color is yellow, I use green.

  3. How do you get it to work remoting to a windows 7 machine or server 2008. I always get a blank window.

  4. How do you get it to work with remoting to a windows 7 or server 2008 & r2 machine? My window is always blank when trying to view log files remotely on a win 7 or server 08 machine. any advice I'd appreciate.

  5. Install it Trace32 locally on the remote computer. Run it for the first time and allow it to be the default program to open log files.

  6. Can anyone tell me what SMS trace is used to do in very simple terms? Does it help the administrator track SMS text messages?

  7. SMS Trace is used to view log files. It's better than Notepad because it's able to read and display "live" data. As new lines are added to a log file (for example, in IIS logs), they are displayed in SMS Trace immediately. It also provides keyword highlighting and better wrapping of long lines.


Thank you for your comment! It is my hope that you find the information here useful. Let others know if this post helped you out, or if you have a comment or further information.