I'm a developer, and I generate big log files. I've tried several log viewer applications (free or not), so far mtail I like the most. But, it lacks features.

I would like from my log viewer to:

  • handle files > than 10MB
  • filtering
  • highlight search queries
  • behave like a log viewer - do all of these in real time, and fast

The question is:

Which log viewer would you recommend on Windows?

  • try ReflectInsight. I handles everything the requester asked. DISCLAIMER: I'm one of the developers for ReflectInsight. insightextensions.codeplex.com
    – code5
    Nov 4, 2013 at 19:27
  • I saw we ban slhck for closing this thread, this thread is EXTREMELY constructive.
    – John
    Aug 23, 2015 at 11:15
  • @slhck Why the **** is this thread not constructive??
    – rustyx
    Jul 5, 2016 at 9:27
  • @rustyx In the meantime we've revamped the reasons for closure — "not constructive" perhaps does not sound right. We do not allow software recommendation questions on this site (see FAQ). But the underlying reason is the same: questions like "plrease recommend me" are very subjective in nature. They are open-ended and it only comes down to "I like this more than this". There is no right answer there, and the questions do not solve a real problem. It'd be better to ask about what you want to do and how to solve that issue.
    – slhck
    Jul 6, 2016 at 7:03
  • It's too bad there is not a way to migrate old and useful questions like this to the SW Recs site. Meanwhile there are some similar posts there, but with lower quality.
    – Ben Voigt
    Apr 19, 2017 at 16:14

6 Answers 6


BareTail, which has a free version, works pretty well for us for years.


  • I've seen this tool used in many places. Jul 19, 2009 at 16:32
  • BareTail is awesome. We use this all the time
    – pavsaund
    Aug 8, 2009 at 7:21
  • Found this answer by a search. Very cool product to recommend.
    – T. Stone
    Dec 8, 2009 at 21:02
  • I also use this too, but running it on server 2008 R2 causes somekind of memory-leak with wmiprvse.exe
    – maxlego
    Mar 27, 2012 at 11:19
  • 1
    2021 and I'm still using Baretail... lags some useful features, but basically still the best tool
    – Adrian
    Apr 26, 2021 at 7:23

My new favorite log viewer is glogg. It makes finding stuff in noisy log files very easy. It could use a few more features but does 95% of everything I need it to do, it is open source, written in C++ using Qt and runs on Linux/Windows/Mac. Give it a try.

Glogg screenshot on Windows

From the glogg description page:

glogg enables you to use regular expressions to search for interesting events in your log files. It presents a results window which, together with complex regular expressions allows easy isolation of the meaningful lines amongst the noise.

glogg has been primarily developed to help spot and understand problems in huge logs generated by embedded systems. It can be equally useful to a sysadmin digging through logs from databases or web servers.

The main design goals for glogg are:

  • it should be fast
  • it does not have any limit on the size of files it can handle
  • it provides a clear view of the matches even in heavily cluttered files.

If you think it does not do that, it is a bug and it should be fixed!

  • 3
    No UNICODE / UTF8 support Dec 6, 2012 at 11:00
  • 2
    Way too slow to load SQL queries log (266MB).
    – John
    Oct 16, 2015 at 19:34
  • 1
    UTF8 supported since version 1.1.1 (November 2016) Jan 30, 2017 at 8:06
  • 1
    For what it is worth: I've been evaluating glogg for a while, and have run into a number of somewhat serious issues such as 1) Locking the log file during loading so that the owning application is unable to write to the log file. 2) Freezing with 100% CPU usage when autorefreshing with the latest content. 3) Distribution of unsigned binaries over HTTP. 4) Auto-update notifications that cannot be disabled. ...
    – Zero3
    Jul 2, 2018 at 11:30
  • 1
    I love glogg except that it keeps files open. So if you forget to close glogg and your server goes to roll log files... This alone is causing me to look for another log viewer. Which is too bad. It's simple and does everything I need.
    – MikeJansen
    Feb 17, 2020 at 12:42

Log Expert http://logexpert.codeplex.com/


  • highlighting (regex, etc.)
  • filtering (regex, etc.)
  • custom columnizer (columnizer parses lines into columns)
  • multi-file support
  • + some common features

Log Expert screenshot

  • 8
    It crashes all the time on my machine (Windows 7 x64)
    – payala
    Feb 20, 2013 at 20:17
  • 3
    Way too slow to load SQL queries log (266MB).
    – John
    Oct 16, 2015 at 19:34

Take a look a logview4net it's free and has a different take on viewing log files.

A free (open source) log monitor / log viewer for:

* Files and folders
* Incomming UDP traffic
* EventLogs
* SQL- Server tables
* Atom and RSS feeds
* StdOut and StdErr
  • 2
    Wanted money before doing anything useful.
    – John
    Oct 16, 2015 at 19:34
  • 1
    There's a big download button on the page and NO money needed to use it. The source code is available from here: sourceforge.net/projects/logview4net
    – idstam
    Oct 17, 2015 at 7:13
  • 1
    ... and now the source is here: github.com/idstam/logview4net
    – idstam
    Feb 19, 2018 at 12:52
  • 1
    This is amazing. I've been using Baretail for years and been waiting for something that competes. I've played around with it on a few folder listeners and memory is steady at 30MB and CPU never spikes. Very happy and also open-source so I can modify little things if I want and use my own build... perfect replacement... for just Windows though.
    – ScottN
    Feb 22, 2019 at 16:42
  • 1
    @henrik I'll make one and link to it from the readme.
    – idstam
    Nov 18, 2019 at 11:44

Installing MSYS gives you a close version to a Unix environment on Windows, you get all the main binaries. Using these tools you can achieve all the functionality you request using standard commands like tail, grep, less, etc.

  • 1
    +1. tail -f mylogfile.log (and you won't have to 'unlearn' it once you move past Windows ;)
    – rustyx
    Jul 5, 2016 at 9:33

I wrote my own little logviewer just because of that, its really raw at the moment, but would be an ok starting point if anyone wanted to extend it.

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