How to tail logs with Windows PowerShell

Paul Hill

October 15, 2020 • 2 min read

    Lately I’ve been needing to watch some logs that are creating by my IIS 10 server. The problem is that they are in TXT format and I can’t see live updates unless I close and open the file.

    Log File Notepad
    Log File Notepad

    I work with Centos 7 (open source Linux OS) and they have a wonder tail command that you can use to get scrolling updates as a file is changed. It is perfect for log files!

    Well…come to find out you can do the same thing with PowerShell:

    Get the last 10 lines of a text file:

    This is a simple command to just get the last 10 lines of text in a file:

    Get-Content [path\to\textfile.txt] -tail 10
    Image 6
    Get the last 10 lines in a text file with PowerShell

    Follow a TXT file with PowerShell

    This command is equivilent to tail -f on Centos Linux. It will output all of the file contents and update each time a new line is added:

    Get-Content [path\to\textfile.txt] -wait
    Get Content Wait 1
    Get Content Wait 1

    Follow TXT file with PowerShell OGV command

    My personal favorite (and even better than the standard -tail command IMO) is piping the output to Out-GridView or OGV:

    get-content [path\to\textfile.txt] -wait | ogv
    Get Content Wait Ogv 1
    Get Content -Wait | OGV

    Out-GridView allows you to filter for specific events. So it will be updated live and you can filter the data. Awesome!

    System AdministratorWindows

    Want to improve your IT skillset? Start with a free account and get access to our IT labs!


    Sign up free and start learning today!

    Practice on REAL servers, learn from our video lessons, interact with the Server Academy community!