Log File


Log file is a text file that contains a record of all actions that have been done on a computer, a website, a program etc. It records all the activities and commands given to a computer for over a period of time. It is often used for recording the information like user access or data manipulation as they occur, to serve as an audit trail or security measure. In other words, it is used while reviewing the use of a computer system or for tracing the history of computer usage in cases of fault analysis or suspected hacking.

Most log files have a “.log” file extension, but many use the standard “.txt” extension or another proprietary extension instead.

File Extension: .log

A .log can be found in many locations on your computer. They can be found in your root drive, your Windows folder, even your Documents folder. Programs on your computer will write a .log file to a location on the computer. Here are a few places where log files can be found:

  • Operating systems
  • Web browsers (in the form of a cache)
  • Applications (in the form of backups)
  • E-mail

Log File features and its contents:

Log files also contain messages about the system, including the kernel, services, and applications running on it. There are different log files for different information. For Example Web servers maintain log files listing for every request made to the server. With the help of log file analysis tools one can get a good idea of where visitors are coming from, how often they return, and how they navigate through a site.

Some log files are controlled by a daemon called syslogd. A list of log messages maintained by syslogd can be found in the /etc/syslog.conf configuration file.

Log files are also generated by software utilities, FTP programs, and operating systems. For example, Mac OS X saves information of all program and system crashes on its log, which can be viewed using the built-in Console application. Windows records application, security, and system logs, which can all be viewed using the included Event Viewer program.

Advantages of Log File

  • Log files can be very useful when trying to troubleshoot a problem with the system such as trying to load a kernel driver or when looking for unauthorized log in attempts to the system.
  • Through these log files, a system administrator can easily determine the Web sites that the user accessed, know the details about the sending and receiving e-mails, downloading history etc.
  • In many cases deleting an e-mail, or a file, doesn't erase the trail, they can be located easily by these log files. hence, helps in recovering of the lost data.
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