SBS 2011 Essentials Log Collector RTM

sbsessThe SBS 2011 Essentials Log Collector tool has finished its beta test and is now available as an RTM Download.

The download is available as an MSI, or as an Add-in for SBS Essentials in WSSX format. The cool thing about using the Add-in on the server is it will automatically push out the Log Collector out to any client machine you have connected on the network.

The Log Collector is really simple to use, and will take a lot of the hassle out of collecting the logs for troubleshooting issues with your clients or server.


Running the tool will present a screen asking you where to save the collected log files, the default when running on a server will be \\SERVER\Logs the logs are stored in the familiar c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\WindowsServer\Logs folder. That folder, on an SBS Essentials server will contain approximately 57 log files.


The log collector tool is going to save you some time, perhaps not a great deal of time, but being lazy, any kind of automation is a win for me. Assuming you are also passing these logs onto someone else to view for you, to aid troubleshooting or maybe if you are just trying to get them from a clients server to your own desktop to view them, this tool is really going to help.

I am trying not to sound too enthusiastic about this process, as really it is just a tool to automate zipping a folder, but whatever i say i think i am coming off as a bit of a fan boy…. which is not so cool.


3.Log Collection

Once the logs have been collected up and zipped, you will get the chance to either open that folder containing the ZIP file, or just close the wizard. logs

If you choose to open up that folder you can see you will have a set of log files which are dated with the date and time they were collected, you will also see a folder which is named Latest.

Every time you run the Log Collector tool, as you may expect given those folder names, the ‘Latest’ ZIP is overwritten with the latest, or newest log files, as well as those files being collected into their own, dated, ZIP file.

5.Logs Zipped

6.Logs Zipped Again

You can see above from the date and times of the folders, the ‘Latest’ folder is overwritten when we ran the Collector again at 15:53.

If you dive into one of the ZIP files you can see that the Collector has not only zipped up the logs from the Logs folder, it has also exported and included the Event Logs, IIS Logs and also the Setup logs for the server installation.

7.all logs

I also said the Log Collector would push out to your client computers?

Switch to the Dashboard, then the Add-ins Tab.


Right click on the Log Collector Add-In to see your options. Click on the ‘Install the add-in on computers on the network’ option.


Are you sure? Yes i am sure, i wouldn’t be doing it otherwise…right?


Don’t expect a long delay here.


That is it, the Add-in will now be pushed out to any system that is on the network and connected to the server.

I don’t know for 100% what magic is used to push out the software, it is not done by GPO (as we need to allow for clients running a Home OS, or a MAC, for that matter i don’t know if this will push out to a MAC)

However on a Connected client if you open up the Services console you will see a service called Windows Server Download Service, whose job, according to the description is to manage downloading Add-ins from the server.


A safe bet then, that telling the server to push this out to the clients, sets a flag that tells any Client to download this at their next poll interval.

I did this, and switched straight to a connected client and it was already there waiting for me. It doesn’t appear to just be a shortcut to a network file either, as it is installed under Programs and Features.


My advice would be to add the log collector to your standard ‘build’ and also make sure that you also put this on to a client PC before you attempt to join it up to a network.

At this point i thought this post was finished, and was congratulating myself on a job well done, when i wondered, What happens when you run the Log Collector on a client?

Since i like making screen shots so much i decided to give it a try.


So above you can see that when run from a client you also get the choice of collecting the logs for the client (This Computer) as well as those of the server.

You will need to provide an Administrator level username and password to collect the server logs.



Set your collection location.


The log collector will go off and do it’s thing…


The first time i tried this on a client, i hit an error.


The server logs had been collected, but not those of the client. However the cool thing here is it exposed the User Manual, which i didn’t know existed. You can find that here C:\Program Files\Windows Server Solutions Log Collector\Log Collector User Manual.RTF

I tried the collector again, and this time it was successful. logs

You can then use the Open location option, or browse to your destination and see the collected logs.


Client logs are saved in a folder named as Client_COMPUTERNAME_DATE

The client logs are just as detailed and contain the Event Logs, as well as any of the SBS Essentials logs that have been created. I say that because if this was a client that was not yet joined to the network you may only have collected the CSetup.log files as opposed to the full range of logs available to a fully connected client.

The log collector is available for use on SBS Essentials, Windows Home Server v2 and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials and if you missed the link above you can download the Log Collector as an Add-in or Standalone MSI, from here: RTM Download.

Hope this was useful.

About Robert Pearman
Robert Pearman is a UK based Small Business Server enthusiast. He has been working within the SMB IT Industry for what feels like forever. Robert likes Piña colada and taking walks in the rain, on occasion he also enjoys writing about Small Business Technology like Windows Server Essentials or more recently writing PowerShell Scripts. If you're in trouble, and you can find him, maybe you can ask him a question.

2 Responses to SBS 2011 Essentials Log Collector RTM

  1. lararened says:

    SOOO so so so frustrated! I’ve got a W7 64 bit client that was once joined to the domain. The computer was erroneously deleted from AD, and I am trying to rejoin the client. I have uninstalled the SBS join client software, and joined it to a workgroup. Made sure there was no entries in AD for it…even flushed DNS. Fails every time at assigning user “cannot find cname”. HELP!!!

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