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Is there some convenient alternative to this on Windows? I always miss this away from Linux. And no I don't consider Cygwin or some other bash port to be "convenient". :)

Either a small app that'll do it from the command line or will have it open in a window. I need to be able to essentially pause it too, which won't affect the log file, but will allow me to scroll up through the buffer.

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10 Answers 10

BareTail has a great balance of features and light weight. The highlighting has saved me countless hours.


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  1. unxtools includes a port of tail, including -f.

  2. PowerShell's get-content includes an extra option -wait when using the file system which performs the same function (see help filesystem for this and other cmdlet extensions from the filesystem provider).

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Using PowerShell:

Get-Content C:\LogFile.txt -Wait

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What refresh interval? For a reason I ignore, it lags behind BareTail. –  Nicolas Raoul Sep 26 '13 at 6:14

I'd recommend the GnuWin32 port of tail. GnuWin32 is similar to Cygwin in that it's a Windows port of Unix tools but it is completely different in intent.

Instead of trying to turn your Windows system in to a Unix Workstation, each GnuWin32 binary is compiled so it can run as an independent tool. There are separate downloads so you can just download the tools you want. (This makes GnuWin32 preferable to the MinGW ports as well, as the MinGW utilities require all the MinGW libraries to be in place.)

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I was looking for something like that, since I try to run away from cygwin... –  Daniel Mošmondor Jan 8 '12 at 19:22

LogExpert is the one FMPOV: tabs, local file tail, but also accross network using SFTP (SSH) or CIFS (UNC-based), versatile highlighters and more

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mTail - http://ophilipp.free.fr/op_tail.htm

It's an alternative to tail -f combined with grep.

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I'd recommend any of the alternatives over mTail, it's a buggy and unintuitive application that is completely unfinished. –  Jordy Boom Feb 9 '12 at 18:58
I'll second that! –  tony roth Apr 5 '12 at 16:44

Another great Tail utility is Tail for Win32: http://tailforwin32.sourceforge.net/ It is pretty fast and can be used to show you real-time tail on a file which is very convenient when troubleshooting web logs or security logs in production. I also used it to determine what user activity is like at any given time on web servers.

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I would recommend PowerShell Community extension.
Get-FileTail -f FileName
I think this is the best combination of Unix tail flair on Windows.

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Take a look at the excellent TraceTool. Amongst many other features, it supports tail with pause/resume.

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SnakeTail is a Windows tail program that can monitor and search log files.

Log Expert is another good alternative.

Here is a good list of other alternatives

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