Background Tracing

Applies To: Windows Server 2008

You can use the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MS DTC) to select from three types of background tracing, depending on your needs and performance considerations. The following table describes the three tracing options.


For information about how to enable or disable these tracing options, see the Help for the Component Services administrative tool on your computer.

Tracing option Description

Trace All Transactions

Because this tracing option is the most comprehensive, it is not enabled by default. Enabling this option can affect system performance.

Trace Aborted Transactions

For performance reasons, you can choose to trace only those transactions that have aborted or stopped. This tracing option is enabled by default.

Trace Long-Lived Transactions

This tracing option traces transactions that live beyond a certain time interval, indicating that the transaction might be hung. The system-defined timeout interval is one minute plus the timeout period for the transaction. This tracing option is enabled by default.

When you enable background tracing, the DTC writes the trace data to a binary log file on the local system. This binary file is located in %systemroot%\system32\msdtc\trace\dtctrace.log. The maximum size of the log file is 10 megabytes (MB).

If you want to delete the log file for background tracing, you must first stop the current tracing session. For more information, see Control Background Tracing. You might also want to delete the trace log file to reclaim disk space or to force a backup of the current log file.

Because only one log file for background trace data can exist on a computer, the file is circular. When the file reaches its maximum size, log file data is replaced with new data. The oldest transaction entries are overwritten with newer entries. Before it overwrites the log file, the DTC makes a backup copy of the file, renames it, and stores it in the same directory as the active log file.