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Log File

A log file is a file that contains a list of events, which have been "logged" by a computer. Log files are often generated during software installations and are created by Web servers, but they can be used for many other purposes as well. Most log files are saved in a plain text format, which minimizes their file size and allows them to be viewed in a basic text editor.

Log files created by software installers typically contain a list of files that were added or copied to the hard drive during the installation process. They may also include the date and time the files were installed, as well as the directory where each file was placed. Installer log files allow users to see exactly what files were installed on their system by a specific program. This may be useful when troubleshooting program crashes or when uninstalling a program.

Web servers use log files to record data about website visitors. This information typically includes the IP address of each visitor, the time of the visit, and the pages visited. The log file may also keep track of what resources were loaded during each visit, such as images, JavaScript, or CSS files. This data can be processed by website statistics software, which can display the information in a user-friendly format. For example, a user may be able to view a graph of daily visitors during the past month and click on each day to view more detailed information.

Log files may also be generated by software utilities, FTP programs, and operating systems. For example, Mac OS X saves a log of all program and system crashes, which can be viewed using the built-in Console application. Windows records application, security, and system logs, which can all be viewed using the included Event Viewer program. Most log files have a ".log" file extension, but many use the standard ".txt" extension or another proprietary extension instead.

File Extension: .LOG

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Updated: April 14, 2010
Category: Software Terms