Reading the end of a log file with PowerShell

PowerShell logo I needed to read the last line of a log file.  PowerShell made it very, very, easy.

All you need to do is Get-Content the file, and then pipe it to Select-Object with the –last parameter set to 1.

Here is the code snippet which does that:

$failure_reason = (Get-Content $file_txt | Select-Object -last 1)

And here is a (simple) version of the PowerShell script I wrote to read though a list of computers, and dump the last line to the screen:

$windows2000_PCs = (Get-Content c:\temp\pc-list.txt)
foreach ($computer in $windows2000_PCs)
$file_txt = "\\"+ $computer + "\c$\log\install.txt"
$install_result = (Get-Content $file_txt | Select-Object -last 1)
Write-Host $computer has install result of: $install_result
Write-Host Done!

Which outputs:

BROOMFONDLE has install result of: Program installed successfully on 21 DEC 2010 – 1000hrs
MAGICTHIGHS1 has install result of: Program failed to install – Error code 1603 on 11 DEC 2010 - 1321hrs

Things to note:

  • c:\temp\pc-list.txt contains the list of computer names you wish to scan.
  • the script is not idiot-proofed error-trapped.
    ie. in a production version of this you would check that the computer being scanned is online, the install.txt file exists, and so on.
  • the Get-Content cmdlet will read though the entire file.  Select-Object will retain the –last x lines you asked for.  (for the technically minded, on my Windows 7 system, it opened the file with the following options “Desired Access: Generic Read, Disposition: Open, Options: Synchronous IO Non-Alert, Open No Recall, ShareMode: Read, Write”

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