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Is there tool available for Windows to view and monitor text files? Basically, it will display the content of a text file and update the content if the file changes.

I tried to search for it in Microsoft Windows Sytinternals but I can not find one. I could not find one from CodePlex site neither. Maybe there is something there or other places. Any recommendations?

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Are you looking for something like "tail"? The answers given so far are also text editors. If it's just for viewing and monitoring text files, there's this SO question with many recommendations: stackoverflow.com/questions/187587/… –  Isxek Sep 16 '10 at 18:00

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Have you tried Notepad++? I use it a lot, and if a file changes, it prompts you and asks if you want to update the content? http://notepad-plus-plus.org/

But if you want this functionality for Log file viewing (similar to the Linux tail -f command, you could try Tail for Win32 ( http://tailforwin32.sourceforge.net/) or Baretail ( http://www.baremetalsoft.com/baretail).

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I like tail. Only thing is missing is that there is no way to clear the view if I want to see new changes. Anyway, it works great. Thanks! –  David.Chu.ca Sep 16 '10 at 19:23
@David.Chu.ca - you can write a script to do this. Depending on what you have available (cygwin, powershell) a simple loop to display the file, wait a couple seconds, clear the screen, and display again would suffice. –  Buggabill Sep 16 '10 at 19:35
@David.Chu.ca - If that's worked for you, could you tick the answer? Thanks. –  misterjaytee Sep 16 '10 at 21:12
I'll do it if I don't see any solution with the feature I like to have: clear view. –  David.Chu.ca Sep 16 '10 at 22:05
@David.Chu.ca - fine, no problem, although it does cover what you asked for in your question. clear view was a later stipulation. Maybe @JNK was right? –  misterjaytee Sep 17 '10 at 6:33

Vim is another option. It will not lock the file, and should the file change while you're editing it, it will pop up with a notice of the change, and ask whether you wish to update the contents of the buffer with the file contents.

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I don't like prompt, but I use Vim. Not sure if there is any option to make Vim as log viewer. –  David.Chu.ca Sep 16 '10 at 19:06
@David.Chu.ca - What do you mean under "I don't like prompt". You can use gVim for example, if you prefer a more graphical Vim. Vim comes in many flavours. Vim is also very nice for viewing large files, as log files usually tend to get. –  Rook Sep 16 '10 at 19:11
prompt: notify changes, "pop up with a notice of the change" as your saying. –  David.Chu.ca Sep 16 '10 at 19:26
@David.Chu.ca - yeah, well ... it has to notify you of the file change somehow. –  Rook Sep 16 '10 at 21:44

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