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  1. #1
    Ady
    Ady is offline Beginner
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    Default setupapi.app.log size large - can i delete setupapi.app.log

    Hello,

    I'm using Vista Home Basic x86.

    I would like to know what would happen if I delete setupapi.app.log (in c:\windows\inf\).

    Is *Vista* going to use this log for sth?

    Or is this log just for the user (and only the user, not Vista) to use in case there is some apps problem?

    Is Vista going to need/use the content of this log for troubleshooting? (like, for example, in "control panel" -> "System and Maintenance" -> "Problem Reports and Solutions")

    Is Vista using the *previous* content of this log when uninstalling/reinstalling an application?

    What consequences I could expect if I delete setupapi.app.log?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    HappyAndyK's Avatar
    HappyAndyK is offline Site Administrator
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    C:\WINDOWS\INF\setupapi.app.log contains information about application installation.

    The log file is used to trace the cause of problems should they arise after an installation of a device or drivers.

    You can restrict the size of setupapi.app.log by lowering the value of LogLevel in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\Setup\LogLevel” registry key.

    If your computer is runing fine I dont think it would cause any problems.

    However I do do suggest you wait a few days for a second opinion here.

    Addl reads:
    Running out of disk space? How?s your logs? - Tales from the Crypto
    Setting SetupAPI Logging Levels

  3. #3
    Ady
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    Thank you for your post.

    I hope somebody could be more specific, since I already searched for this issue elsewhere and found contradict answers. That's why I came here to find the *actual* consequences of deleting it.

    Until know, all the articles/posts I found say just that this log is related to applications. Some articles say it's ok to delete it, and some others recommend not to touch the "inf" folder.

    AFAIK, changing the log level as you suggested, does not limit the size of the log, but the amount/kind of detailed info which will be added. So even if I limit the kind of logging, I don't know how to limit the file from keep growing and growing.

    The other option I know of, is not logging at all. Then the log won't be growing, but also no info at all will be added.

    I want the logging, but not the file to keep growing with no limit at all. So what I would like to do is to (backup and) delete old info, or the whole file, just every once in a while.

    If setupapi.app.log is supposed to be used *only* by the user in case there is some problem, I would tend to think it's ok to delete it.

    But, if this log, or its content, is used/needed by Vista in any way, then I want to know actually how, so to decide if it's ok or not to (backup and) delete it.

    An *example*. Let's say I install an app today. There should be some logging. Then after a while, suddenly there is a problem with this app, and Vista shows the "Problem Reports" dialog. Does Vista use setupapi.app.log to search for info and send it so to find a potential solution? Or let's say after a year of using this app I decide to uninstall (or reintall) it. Does the previous content of setupapi.app.log matters? Does Vista use the previous content of this log for something?

    Again, if this log is just "for the user", it's one thing. If Vista uses/needs it for some function other than the actual first moment when it is writing the info, then it's another thing.

    Microsoft considers more than 5 MB to be a big log's size. Mine is more than 100 MB. So if someone has any concrete info about the use of this log and/or the consequences of deleting it, then I'll really appreciate.

    Thank you in advance.

  4. #4
    Pavankumar is offline Microsoft MVP
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    Found these links check whether these are useful to you

    Setting SetupAPI Logging Levels: Setting SetupAPI Logging Levels

    Windows Vista setup log file: Windows Vista setup log file locations

    Controling setupapi.app.log: Running out of disk space? How?s your logs? - Tales from the Crypto

    Hope these may help you


    Regards
    Pavan Kumar Paruchuri
    MS-MVP
    Welcome to - 9-zone
    welcome to 9-zone

  5. #5
    Ady
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    Thank you for your post.

    Unfortunately, I've already read those articules before starting this topic here.

    All I have found is the *level* of logging.

    As I said before, there is no actual explanation about what this log does or if Vista itself uses its content.

    I still hope someone could answer this questions.

    Thank you in advance.

  6. #6
    Pavankumar is offline Microsoft MVP
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    Well, there are two log files in Vista device installation; text log (SetupAPI.dev.log) and an application installation text log (SetupAPI.app.log). The Plug and Play (PnP) manager and SetupAPI write entries to the device installation text log to provide information about operations that install devices and drivers.

    The PnP manager and SetupAPI write entries to the application installation text log that provide information about installation operations other than those that pertain specifically to device and driver installations.

    In short setupapi.app.log contains logs of all software/hotfix/service pack and other application installations .

    As far as i know These 2 log files are used for pure troubleshooting purposes. Like gathering the errors of application installation/uninstallation etc.

    For example here is an article on removing/installing errors of microsoft money
    How to troubleshoot issues that you may experience when you try to install or removing Money. There you can see the errors recorded in the app log file.

    Windows XP also had a similar log file called setupapi.log. The file may contain serial numbers of the devices connected to Windows machine. By studying setupapi.log it may be possible to tell if a particular device has been connected to the computer during OS installation #-199 message –newsetup or connected at a later stage incl. date and time when it was connected.

    The file is located in %windir%\ directory for Windows XP machines.
    This file is later divided into 2 in vista as setupapi.app.log and setupapi.dev.log

    These log files are also used by computer forensic professionals also like u can see an article in computer forensic book about the same:-
    Windows Forensic Analysis DVD Toolkit - Google Books

    This is the information i could collect for u till now ... :d

    Regards
    Pavan Kumar Paruchuri
    MS-MVP
    Welcome to - 9-zone
    welcome to 9-zone

  7. #7
    Ady
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    Thank you for the info.

    Before posting here I searched for info about setupapi.log in XP, and both setupapi.app.log and setupapi.dev.log in Vista.

    As the example of troubleshooting MS Money, I read about those logs being "related" to devices, drivers and other apps.

    As you can read in the MS Money example, the logs are there for *the user* to read them. What is not clear, or at least I couldn't find any reference about it, is if Vista itself is using the log and its content to some extent.

    For example, is Vista showing some dialogs about problems installing/uninstalling/reinstalling by using what is already written in the logs?

    When Vista shows a message saying "there is an error numbered < xxxx > ", is Vista using the previous content of the log to know about the error?

    I understand Vista is logging info about installing/uninstalling/reinstalling. But is *Vista* using this info for any kind of function?

    Or the setupapi.app.log file is only for *the user* (and only the user, not Vista) to use this info?

    As a possible example, maybe Vista is using this log when performing a "Problem Report Check"? Or for any other function/tool for the matter.

    One option for me is to just simply (backup and) delete this log and "see what happen"?

    It wont work that way, if Vista is using the content of this log for future operations. Let me explain. If I delete setupapi.app.log and after 6 month I decide to uninstall some app that had been previously installed and logged before deleting the log file, I (or Vista) might encounter a problem and I would have no idea that the problem comes from deleting this log 6 months before. Or Vista might need the previous content of this log to perform some function, but the info would not be there anymore.

    Since the possible consequences of deleting this log might not be so clear immediately, the classic "try and error" troubleshooting technique is not a valid one in this case.

    So, again, what I would like to know is the purpose of this log *in the eyes of Vista*. Obviously, it is for troubleshooting purposes, but if Vista (not only the user) is going to use the content of the log some time in the future, then I want to know what are those uses/needs.

    Knowing that, would let me decide if I can (backup and) delete this setupapi.app.log once it gets to over 5 MB (since MS says that more than 5 MB is already a "big" log, and mine is already more than 100 MB now).

    For what I find searching for this issue, I'm not the only one with a "big" setupapi.app.log file.

    I hope I'm being clear enough, and also to find someone who can help me.

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by Ady; 09-14-2009 at 07:54 AM.

  8. #8
    iMav's Avatar
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    From what I know, NO log file explicitly influences the OS prompts/behavior. Log files are purely for the user/admin to figure out what went wrong where.

  9. #9
    Ady
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    iMav, I hope that's true.

    The thing is, I can't find specific info about it. Every post I have seen about this log and its size has an inconclusive "last" post. Some posts recommend not to touch the "inf" folder. Others says deleting the log is not a problem.

    There is no *actual* explanation or reference in *any* of those cases, and no feedback about what happened after deleting the log. This means that, for a simple user like me, there is no way to know which of those contradict "recommendations" was the correct one.

    Let's say you are right and all logs are just "for the user". Then what's the point of having logs distributed over several (completely different) folders? (for example, inside the Windows folder, there is panther, logs, tracing, windowsupdate, security folders..., just to mention some locations). Ah, before I forget, an example would be the PerfLogs folder, which is for Vista to use, not for the user.

    I'm sure there *is* a reason for each log to be in several different folders (like permissions for example), and that's no the issue, at least not for me.

    Moreover, it seems like MS knows about setupapi.app.log and setupapi.dev.log frequently growing over 5 MB, specially in cases where Vista installation is 1 or 2 years old and several apps and devices were installed/uninstalled/reinstalled. But MS does not provide us users any method to limit the size of these logs (just the logging level), and no *real* info about it. If I knew about some method(like a registry key), I would have used it instead of questioning about this issue again and again.

    iMav, if you or anyone else could point me to a (MS) reference about what you have stated, I'll really appreciate.

    Thank you in advance.

  10. #10
    iMav's Avatar
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    Log files are just program step logs and are simple text files. Try cleaning your system drive and select delete log files. See if it deletes the file or is there any change in the file size.

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