Admin’s Arsenal: BareTail.exe

As someone that works with Linux systems on a daily basis I have sort of a love/hate relationship with tail.exe (it can be frustrating trying to get it to display exactly what I want, though piping out to grep usually fixes that straight away).

One thing I have always wondered though is why it is not a native Windows utility. It is freaking useful!

Well all is not lost, as there are a couple of solutions available. The “just like on Linux!” alternative for Windows is Tail for Win32. This is a port for Windows systems of the “tail -f” command on *NIX systems.

My preferred solution is BareTail.exe, a more full featured offering. This is basically a GUI version of Tail which allows you to define syntax highlighting. This utility can also be run from the command line.

Here is a screenshot of the BareTail interface:

BareTail user interface

BareTail user interface

You’ll notice two important things in this interface:

  1. The multiple open tabs (you can tail more than one log file at a time)
  2. The Follow Tail checkbox (view scrolls to show files as they are written in real time)

This utility is chock full of functionality, and is natively portable (meaning you can run it from a USB drive, yes!). BareTail offers many other useful features, including:

  • Optimized real-time viewing engine
  • View files of any size (> 2GB)
  • Scroll to any point in the whole file instantly
  • View files over a network
  • Configurable line wrapping
  • Configurable TAB expansion
  • Configurable font, including spacing and offset to maximize use of screen space
  • View the end of a growing file in real time, no matter how fast the file grows
  • Like “tail -f” on Unix systems, but with many more features
  • Simultaneously monitor multiple files for changes using tabs
  • Visual indication on each tab of file status and changes
  • Tabs may be positioned on any side of the window and oriented horizontally or vertically
  • Lines containing particular strings can be highlighted to help you notice important text
  • Highlight colors are fully customizable
  • Windows / DOS text files (lines end in CR/LF pairs)
  • Unix text files (lines end in LF)
  • Microsoft IIS logfiles (and other files terminated with a string of nulls)

BareTail comes in two license formats: Free, and Registered ($25 at the time this was written). The Registered version offers all of the features of the Free version plus:

  • Regular expression text search (including line numbering for search results)
  • Searching while you type, to find results quicker
  • Feedback on regex syntax errors while you type, to build regexes quicker
  • Filter tail mode (include or exclude lines)
  • Frequently used text search patterns may be saved, named and edited
  • Export/copy of search and filter results in many formats

At only $25 for a license this is a worthwhile upgrade, but the free version is imminently usable as well.

You can download BareTail here.

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One Response to Admin’s Arsenal: BareTail.exe

  1. tobbyAgop says:

    Excellent article, amazing looking website, added it to my favs!

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