Windows Vista setup log file locations

Windows Vista setup log file locations

Article ID : 927521
Last Review : March 15, 2007
Revision : 1.2
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INTRODUCTION

Windows Vista setup log files are in different locations on the hard disk. These locations depend on the setup phase. This article describes where to locate these log files and which log files are most useful for troubleshooting each setup phase.

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MORE INFORMATION

Downlevel phase

The downlevel phase is the Windows Vista setup phase that is run within the previous operating system. The following table lists important log files in this setup phase.

Log file Description
C: WINDOWS setupapi.log Contains information about device changes, driver changes, and major system changes, such as service pack installations and hotfix installations.

Note This log file is used only by Microsoft Windows XP and earlier versions.

C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther setupact.log Contains information about setup actions during the installation.
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther setuperr.log Contains information about setup errors during the installation.
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther miglog.xml Contains information about the user directory structure. This information includes security identifiers (SIDs).
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther PreGatherPnPList.log Contains information about the initial capture of devices that are on the system during the downlevel phase.

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Windows Preinstallation Environment phase

The Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE or WinPE) phase is the Windows Vista setup phase that occurs after the restart at the end of the downlevel phase, or when you start the computer by using the Windows Vista installation media. The following table lists important log files in this setup phase.

Log file Description
X: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther setupact.log Contains information about setup actions during the installation.
X: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther setuperr.log Contains information about setup errors during the installation.
X: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther miglog.xml Contains information about the user directory structure. This information includes security identifiers (SIDs).
X: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther PreGatherPnPList.log Contains information about the initial capture of devices that are on the system during the downlevel phase.
or
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther setupact.log Contains information about setup actions during the installation.
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther setuperr.log Contains information about setup errors during the installation.
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther miglog.xml Contains information about the user directory structure. This information includes security identifiers (SIDs).
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther PreGatherPnPList.log Contains information about the initial capture of devices that are on the system during the downlevel phase.

Note You may also see a log file in the X: WINDOWS directory. The Setupact.log file in this directory contains information about the progress of the initial options that are selected on the Windows Vista installation screen. The Windows Vista installation screen appears when you start the computer by using the Windows Vista installation media. After you click Install now from the Windows Vista installation screen, the Setup.exe file starts, and this log file is no longer used.

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Online configuration phase

The online configuration phase (the first boot phase) starts when you receive the following message:

Please wait a moment while Windows prepares to start for the first time.

During this phase, basic hardware support is installed. If this is an upgrade installation, data and programs are also migrated. The following table lists important log files in this setup phase.

Log file Description
C: WINDOWS PANTHER setupact.log Contains information about setup actions during the installation.
C: WINDOWS PANTHER setuperr.log Contains information about setup errors during the installation.
C: WINDOWS PANTHER miglog.xml Contains information about the user directory structure. This information includes security identifiers (SIDs).
C: WINDOWS INF setupapi.dev.log Contains information about Plug and Play devices and driver installation.
C: WINDOWS INF setupapi.app.log Contains information about application installation.
C: WINDOWS Panther PostGatherPnPList.log Contains information about the capture of devices that are on the system after the online configuration phase.
C: WINDOWS Panther PreGatherPnPList.log Contains information about the initial capture of devices that are on the system during the downlevel phase.

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Windows Welcome phase

The Windows Welcome phase includes the following options and events:

• It provides the options to create user accounts.
• It provides the option to specify a name for the computer.
• The Windows System Assessment Tool (Winsat.exe) finishes performance testing to determine the Windows Experience Index rating.

The Windows Welcome phase is the final setup phase before a user logs in. The following table lists important log files in this setup phase.

Log file Description
C: WINDOWS PANTHER setupact.log Contains information about setup actions during the installation.
C: WINDOWS PANTHER setuperr.log Contains information about setup errors during the installation.
C: WINDOWS PANTHER miglog.xml Contains information about the user directory structure. This information includes security identifiers (SIDs).
C: WINDOWS INF setupapi.dev.log Contains information about Plug and Play devices and driver installation.
C: WINDOWS INF setupapi.app.log Contains information about application installation.
C: WINDOWS Panther PostGatherPnPList.log Contains information about the capture of devices that are on the system after the online configuration phase.
C: WINDOWS Panther PreGatherPnPList.log Contains information about the initial capture of devices that are on the system during the downlevel phase.
C: WINDOWS Performance Winsat winsat.log Contains information about the Windows System Assessment Tool performance testing results.

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Rollback to Windows XP phase

If a Windows Vista upgrade installation fails, and you have successfully rolled back the installation to the Windows XP desktop, there are several log files that you can use for troubleshooting. The following table lists important log files in this phase.

Log file Description
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther setupact.log Contains information about setup actions during the installation.
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther miglog.xml Contains information about the user directory structure. This information includes security identifiers (SIDs).
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther setupapi setupapi.dev.log Contains information about Plug and Play devices and driver installation.
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther setupapi setupapi.app.log Contains information about application installation.
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther PreGatherPnPList.log Contains information about the initial capture of devices that are on the system during the downlevel phase.
C: $WINDOWS.~BT Sources Panther PostGatherPnPList.log Contains information about the capture of devices that are on the system after the online configuration phase.

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APPLIES TO
• Windows Vista Business
• Windows Vista Enterprise
• Windows Vista Home Premium
• Windows Vista Home Basic
• Windows Vista Ultimate
• Windows Vista Business 64-bit edition
• Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit edition
• Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition
• Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit edition
• Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition

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Keywords: 
kbexpertiseinter kbhowto kbinfo KB927521

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