More tail Tails

Thanks to the little Cygwin setup/upgrade app, I periodically come across useful new utilities.  For example, even though I’ve only been playing with these two for a couple of days, I’m already wondering how I ever did without them.


multitail renders multiple tail logs in an ncurses-formatted window. Perfect for monitoring access and error logs at the same time.  Much better than interleaving multiple logs with tail.  Now I don’t have to squint through output in an attempt to figure out which data is from which log.


since is tail with a memory. Whereas tail displays the last 10 lines (or whatever value you define with -n/--lines) of a file, since starts from where you left off the last time you ran it. This is an excellent tool for when you you’re toggling between watching a log, tweaking configuration parameters, and then returning to log monitoring.

Going to have to upgrade Cygwin more often.

Windows log file rotation

Yet another de facto Linux command that is oddly missing in Windows.

Some simple log files from a custom app were getting out of control. Google revealed that while basic rotation is possible for the standard Windows event logs, there’s no command in particular for log rotation, aside from some odd looking bat scripts that required typing output to temp directories and the like.

Tried rotatelogs.exe from the Windows distribution of Apache 2.2, but that didn’t seem to work at all.

Today, however, I stumbled across CHOMP. Works a peach, and surprisingly quick. Recommended.

(BTW, looks like the author has his own implementation of tail as well. Maybe this is the replacement for Cygwin tail that I was looking for last August..  Update:  It don’t work so well.)

Just can’t get good tail…

At least not when doing Windows.

I’ve tried a couple of free GUI-esque applications for tailing logs on Windows servers, but none of them have really panned out. Tail for Win32 is fine for small log files, but stops working when you get into the multi-megabyte log range. Plus it has a creepy icon.

mTAIL looks good, but returns a frightening “Unknown Publisher” error in Windows 2003. Same for the free version of Bare Metal’s tail, WinTail.

MakeLogic (motto: “We are excited that MakeLogic is delivering” — Microsoft. What?) has a Java Tail that also looks promising, but is still clunky and gives random ArrayIndexOutOfBounds errors.

And then there are the for-fee version like BareTail, Hoo WinTail, HPS WinTail, and Tail4Win. All seem very nice… but then, I don’t pay for tail.

So ultimately I’m back to good old tail -f via Cygwin (which I swear didn’t used to work). I understand that the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools provide similar functionality; however if I’m going to catch tail from the command line, I need to do it from bash.