SQL Server 2005 Log File Viewer

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System and application log data is essential when troubleshooting a new or complex SQL Server issue.  Unfortunately, in SQL Server 2000 this was a bit cumbersome because critical data had to be reviewed from multiple logs and from different interfaces.  Determining the sequence of events among the multiple logs became tedious when comparing the data across multiple sources and in different formats.  The complexity grows when the logs have thousands or tens of thousands of entries with limited filtering capabilities to only review the needed data for the issue at hand.


With SQL Server 2005 the rules have changed significantly.  Management Studio ships with the Log File Viewer which gives DBAs and Developers insight into the SQL Server 2005 and Windows Event Logs (Application, Security and System) all in one interface.  In this interface each of the needed logs can be selected with the ability to filter the data and export as needed.  In this tip we will answer common questions for those of you that are new to the tool which correspond to the tool's primary functionality.

How do I access the Log File Viewer?

  1. Launch SQL Server Management Studio.
  2. Navigate to your SQL Server 2005 instance.
  3. Expand the instance, then expand the Management folder followed by the SQL Server Logs folder.
  4. Double click on any of the log files.
  5. Below is the default Log File Viewer interface that will be loaded.

LogFileViewer 1

What are the available data sources for the Log File Viewer?

  • Database Mail
  • SQL Server Agent Logs
  • SQL Server Error Logs
  • Windows Event Logs (Application, Security and System)

How can I filter the data?

Just click on the 'Filter' button which will load the interface below.  In this interface it is possible to fine tune the data that is being reviewed.  At the highest level the filtering could be based on the start and end date\time stamp. At the lowest level you could look for the exact error message.

SQLServer2005LogFileViewer FilterSettings

How do I search for an error message?

Just click on the 'Search' button which will load the interface below.  In this interface you can search the results for the specific error message.

SQLServer2005LogFileViewer Search

How can I export data?

Click the 'Export' button which will save the current contents of the Log File Viewer to a *.log, *.csv or *.txt file.   This file can be reviewed later by clicking the 'Load Log' icon and reviewing the file contents in the Log File Viewer.

Does the Log File Viewer work with a SQL Server 2000 instance that I have registered with Management Studio (SQL Server 2005)?

Yes, the compatible SQL Server 2000 logs, such as SQL Server Agent Logs, SQL Server Error Logs and Windows Event Logs, can be viewed. You can consider the Log File Viewer one of those valuable features that Management Studio (SQL Server 2005) offers over Enterprise Manager (SQL Server 2000), so start using it today!

Next Steps
  • The next time one of your SQL Server 2000 or 2005 servers acts up, be sure to make the Log File Viewer your first stop to research the issue.
  • From a best practices perspective the SQL Server and Windows logs should be reviewed regularly to ensure unexpected issues are not occurring.  This review could be on a daily or weekly basis if you do not already have an automated tool that reviews the logs in real time and notifies your team of current issues.
  • Ensure a sufficient number of logs and amount of storage is configured to support your SQL Server and Windows logs for a specified amount of time such as 30, 60 or 90 days.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Jeremy Kadlec Jeremy Kadlec is a Co-Founder, Editor and Author at MSSQLTips.com with more than 300 contributions. He is also the CTO @ Edgewood Solutions and a six-time SQL Server MVP. Jeremy brings 20+ years of SQL Server DBA and Developer experience to the community after earning a bachelor's degree from SSU and master's from UMBC.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Sunday, January 6, 2013 - 6:26:32 AM - hi Back To Top (21276)

userView on sql server 2008 r2 solve this problem

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 1:51:00 PM - Greg Robidoux Back To Top (16397)

Hi Mike, the front end is pretty limited on what you can fliter.

Take a look at these tips to see if they help:


Also, you can use this Trace Flag to stop logging all of the successful backups:


Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 12:39:48 PM - Mike Back To Top (16394)


I'm using SSMS 2008 R2.  Any idea on how to filter out the source "Backup"?  I can't find anything on the web about filter options.  I can specify the source that I want to look for but I can't filter out a specific source.  So my log file viewer is filled with "Backup" source events and I can't find a way to hide those events to focus on the other type events.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011 - 9:02:53 AM - Martin Back To Top (13091)

Hey Jeremy,

Thanks for the reply!!.

That was exaclty what I have observed as well... but I'm still not that sure or actually the word is I'm not that convinced that SQL is taking this for paramater to show/no show the current progress... seems so silly!! :)

I'm not sure how far I can go into this matter.. since as you, I've faced the same things of the jobs steps.

Again, thanks for taking the time for trying/testing and answer back.

Take care!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 8:23:39 PM - Jeremy Kadlec Back To Top (13081)



Thank you for the detailed question.  I have a better understanding of what you mean now.


I took a look at one environment and I was able to see both active jobs with a current status and active jobs without a current status.  The common characteristic between these jobs was the number job steps, but I am not sure if that is the root cause or not.


Based on my observations, when a job had multiple job steps and one or more steps was finished and one or more steps needed to complete, I could see the status for the current job execution and the status for the completed job steps.


Based on my observations, when a job only has one job step, I could not see the status of the current execution.


Please let me know if that is the case for you as well.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 12:45:03 PM - Martin Back To Top (13078)


Thanks for your reply and don't worry about the elapsed time!. This is not urgent but is something I want to figure out.

Let me rephrase my question with more details to put you in the whole picture (since I don't have screen shoot right now). I may have them in the following days. If so, and if it is still needed, I'll add it here.

Situation: when checking at the "Job Activity Monitor" for SQL 2005 I'm able to see a general status of all jobs installed on the sql instance I'm working with. The activity monitor will tell me if any job is currently in "idle" or "executing" status (among other things). The action of right clicking on any of these jobs and choose the "View History" option, will open the "Log File Viewer" screen showing me the history of the right clicked job.

Now my question is.. would you know the reason why when I right click on a job in the activity monitor that is currently in "executing" status (which leads me to the "Log File Viewer" screen) it only sometimes show me the current execution progress (plus all previous execution) and some other times it just show me all previous executions? 

If still this is unclear, please let me know.


Monday, February 28, 2011 - 12:35:07 PM - Jeremy Kadlec Back To Top (13062)


Sorry for my latent response.  Without seeing any screen shots, I assume your are seeing two types of jobs in SQL Server Agent Job Activity Monitor not the Log File Viewer. 

If you are using the SQL Server Agent Job Activity Monitor, then I assume the first set of jobs are actively running while the second set are not running.

Please let me know if this makes sense.

Thank you,
Jeremy Kadlec

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 10:58:21 AM - Martin Back To Top (13017)

I have a question related the "Log File Viewer" (2005 version).

Why some jobs show the current execution status (what step they are into, the elapsed time till the checking moment, etc) and some other dont, instead they just show the last ended execution?.


Friday, April 4, 2008 - 7:06:09 AM - admin Back To Top (821)


Thank you for the post.

This tip relates to the Management Studio tool to review SQL Server, SQL Server Agent, Database Mail and Windows logs, not how truncate or delete statements are logged in a user defined database transaction log.

To the best of my knowledge vendors have tools to review and/or recover data in a user defined database transaction log.

Thank you,
The MSSQLTips.com Team

Thursday, April 3, 2008 - 10:05:22 PM - tushar_kanaujia Back To Top (815)


My query is regarding MS SQL Server Log Files.

As we know one of the difference between Delete and Truncate is after Delete, all the deleted data logs to log file which is not in case of Truncate.

If on Delete date goes to log file how we can retrive from it...

 I can find some software available on internet but is there any way from where we can retrive by sql query.

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