There are many reasons why you might need to check a computer’s log file. You might need to track down when a problem started or what might have caused the problem. You can find other information you need in a log file as well. If you run a server, the syslog can tell you when a service on the computer was stopped or started.
When you have a web server, you might need to use the IIS logs to sort through why a particular website is having issues or is down. With the IIS logs, you’ll be able to sort out whether the website is down because the server was overloaded. If the problem is that someone has uploaded a file that shouldn’t be there, you’ll be able to find that file easily. You can generally track when someone logs into the server as well, so you’ll be able to sort out who logged in to upload the offending file.
Since most log files aren’t normally in plain English, log analysis may seem difficult at first. However, with practice it gets easier to understand what is going on with the program or service that is creating the log file. Once you know what you’re looking for, it can be fairly simple to find the information you need.
One thing that many people forget when looking at a log file is that they also need to perform log management. You must be sure that you track the number and size of the various log files on your hard drive. When someone is careless with the number of log files and size of each log file, the hard drive will run out of room. When a hard drive gets low on space, the system will become slow and unstable.