Visual Studio and .NET Log Collection Utility

Heath Stewart

Setup and deployment is a tricky business. Machines can be in many different and often unforeseen states that cause setup to fail. But rarely will setup actually crash, and that is why setup logs are vital to diagnose install, repair, and uninstall problems.

Setup applications for Visual Studio and .NET may write to many different logs because the products are actually comprised of many different packages. Aaron Stebner had documented several log file names for Visual Studio 2008, but with our new and improved patch wrapper we may write even more log files. As we onboard new CTPs for great new features in Visual Studio the list of log files may also grow.

So our QA team has written a tool to collect all these logs for VS 2005 and 2008, and .NET 2.0 through 3.5 aptly named, collect.exe. The link below is an updated version of the old collect.exe that you should use when reporting bugs with setup.

Using the Collect Utility

If you encounter any setup issues, we will need all relevant logs. Please follow the instructions below to collect all those logs.

  1. Download collect.exe from the linkĀ  below.
  2. You may choose to save the tool for later use, or to run directly.
  3. The utility creates a compressed cabinet of all the VS and .NET logs to

Reporting Setup Errors

There are several options for reporting setup errors, but you might consider first checking to see if the issue is a known issue. This will save you time and provide more immediate results. In most scenarios, there will be a link on the error page after setup completes. Clicking on this should provide a smaller log that highlights the errors encountered. To dig deeper, check out some of the tips provided on Aaron’s blog and on my blog.

If you would like to report an error, be sure to collect logs as described above and choose from the options below.

  1. Search or post on MSDN Forums in .NET Framework Setup or Visual Studio Setup and Installation. This is a community-driven web site on which Microsoft employees also participate.
  2. Report installation issues or provide feedback for Visual Studio on Microsoft Connect. You may upload logs using Connect. This allows us to view and manage bugs, and customers to vote or provide additional details in a consistent manner.
  3. Upload logs using Windows Error Reporting. Both the MSDN Forums and Microsoft Connect will most often provide faster help.


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