Performing a Live Capture

This topic describes several methods that you can use to perform a live capture with Message Analyzer. It also describes how to stop, pause, resume, or restart a Live Trace Session.

Methods for Starting a Live Trace Session

The first two methods in the list that follows require no initial configuration, which allows you to start a Live Trace Session with as little as a single click. The third method allows you to create a custom capture configuration before you start a Live Trace Session, which is a little more involved.

  • Start Local Trace — click the Start Local Trace button on the Message Analyzer Start Page. Use this method to instantly start a trace that runs on your local computer and captures packets from the network with the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider or the Microsoft-Windows-NDIS-PacketCapture provider, depending on the operating system that is running on the local computer, as described by the table in Built-In Trace Scenarios.

  • Favorite Scenarios — click a Favorite Scenario on the Message Analyzer Start Page. Use this method to select one of the following default Favorite Scenarios and instantly start capturing data at the Data Link Layer, Transport Layer, or Application Layer, respectively:

    • Local Network Interfaces — uses the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider on computers running the Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows Server 2012 operating system. Uses the Microsoft-Windows-NDIS-PacketCapture provider on computers running the Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows 10 operating system.

    • Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC — uses the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider for any supported operating system that is running on the local computer.

    • Pre-Encryption for HTTPS — uses the Microsoft-Pef-WebProxy and Fiddler providers for any supported operating system that is running on the local computer.

    You will find each of the above Trace Scenario Favorites by performing any of the following actions:

    • Click the Message Analyzer File menu, point to the Favorite Scenarios item, and then select one of the above scenarios in the submenu that appears.

    • Click the Favorite Scenarios drop-down list on the Message Analyzer global toolbar, and then select one of the above scenarios.

    • Click one of the scenarios in the Favorite Scenarios list on the Start Page.

      Tip

      To add more scenarios to the Favorite Scenarios list, which includes other built-in Trace Scenarios and any custom scenarios that you have created, click Edit Favorites on the Start Page to display the Edit Favorites dialog. From this dialog, configure a Trace Scenario as a Favorite and add it to the Favorite Scenarios list by clicking the white star next to a Trace Scenario, at which time the white star changes to the color yellow and the Favorite Scenarios list is updated to include the new Favorite that you are adding. The update is then reflected in the previously indicated locations where you can access the Favorite Scenarios list.

  • New Session dialog — click the Start button in the New Session dialog. Use this method to create the capture configuration for a Live Trace Session prior to starting it. You could configure a session simply by selecting a particular Trace Scenario and then starting the session. Optionally, you can customize the capture configuration first with selected system ETW providers; with filtering configurations that can include a Fast Filter, Session Filter, Parsing Level, and an event Keyword bitmask or error Level filter; with advanced host adapter and/or switch adapter filters; by specifying a data viewer; and so on. If you want to create unique capture configurations that are tailored to your environment or other requirements, this is the method you will use most often.

    Note

    After you create a custom capture configuration for a Live Trace Session, you can save the configuration as a new user Trace Scenario. It will then appear in the My Items category of the Select Scenario drop-down list on the ETW Providers toolbar in the New Session dialog, as described in Saving Trace Scenarios. You can then run the scenario on demand. Note that you can fully edit or delete any Trace Scenarios that you created, whereas, this is not possible for any of the built-in Trace Scenarios that install with Message Analyzer.


More Information
To learn more about how to create a unique capture configuration for a Live Trace Session, see Configuring a Live Trace Session.


Managing Session Stop, Pause, Resume, and Restart

While a Live Trace Session is in progress, you have the option to Pause the session by clicking the Pause/Resume button on the global Message Analyzer toolbar. You might do this at a point in time where you need to manually trigger some process, application, or event for which you want to capture messages. Immediately after you initiate such a trigger, you can resume the Live Trace Session by clicking the Pause/Resume button again.

When your data capture is complete, you can Stop the Live Trace Session by clicking the Stop button on the global Message Analyzer toolbar. In addition, for any Live Trace Session that is Stopped, you can Restart the session by clicking the Restart button on the global Message Analyzer toolbar. Note that you cannot Restart a session that is in the Paused state, as you can only Resume or Stop a session that is Paused. Also be aware that when you Restart a Live Trace Session, all existing captured data will be lost unless you save it before restarting.