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What is a log file?

What is a log file? What does it look like?

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There are many types of log files. Basically, a log file contains error messages and other informational messages that help administrators fix problems. One does not sit at a console and watch messages scroll by. Even if someone did that, they might miss a message if it scrolled by too fast. So the messages are written down in a log. The administrator can open the log with any text editer (like Notepad in Windows or vi in Unix) to view the contents. If there is a problem, the administrator can see it in the log file and take appropriate action to remedy the situation. Each log file looks different.

This was first published in July 2006

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