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It looks like there are several methodologies for "tailing" on Windows. This question was first asked on sakai-dev. A summary of responses follows:

Original question

Carol Dippel:

Does anyone know how to set-up WinXP to do the equivalent of tailing a log?
For example, I have Sakai running on a laptop and want to use Windows cmd
(or something else) to watch catalina.out during test execution.  I've heard
this is possible but haven't found anyone who has successfully done it yet.
Data is currently written to catalina.out ONLY upon Tomcat startup
(catalina.bat start).  No other activity is being written to that log.  So I
need to know 2 things:

- How to get Sakai event activity to write to catalina.out?
- How to tail catalina.out?

Suggestions for tail software

Comments on getting catalina.out to capture activity

Andrew Poland:

I think Tomcat 5 will write logs to catalina.out if you install it as an NT service.  
The GUI installer should do this for you or refer to this doc:
Mark Norton:

I don't have my notes with me at the moment (being out of the country), 
but I believe that if you use the "catalina" command instead of "startup", 
Tomcat's output will be written to the current window, which means you can 
re-direct it to a file.  You need to give a start option, however.  
Shutdown is a bit different, too.  I have used this to capture tomcat logs 

Chuck Severance responds:

This does work but you only retain the window's scroll buffer cause it is 
not going to disk.

This great and quite convienent for quick stuff where you want to watch 
without storing the whole log..
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  1. Doesn't Windows do a tail already, whether you want it to or not? I have a harder time figuring out where to find catalina.out after the fact - after shutdown. The normal logs seem to be missing large chunks of information.

    1. True, provided you use the *.bat files. I noticed some folks using the Windows service manager instead, which would not display any "standard out".

      I recall several suggestions floating around one of the lists several months ago and wanted to find and capture them here. Cygwin is a viable option, but a bit overkill and a lot of work for this one piece of functionality. That said, every self-respecting Windows user should have Cygwin installed. (smile)

      I'm going digging in my archive of dev to find it.

  2. You don't have to have Cygwin if you don't have a need for the whole thing; tail (and lots of other good one-off Unix tools) have been ported to standalone Windows exes in this project:

    They haven't been updated in years, but they work just fine. Tail.exe can be found in the file. Grep, Find, Diff, Gzip, Cut, Which, Sort, etc etc etc. There's even zsh in the supplemental zip file.