Log file

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At some point during your foray into XBMC, you will likely come up against a problem that isn't made 100% clear from errors in the GUI. This is where the log file comes into play. XBMC writes all sorts of useful stuff to its log, which is why it should be included with every bug/problem report. Don't be afraid of its contents! Often a quick glance through the log will turn up a simple typo or missing file which you can easily fix on your own.

Log Files

  • xbmc.log - This is the log file of most recent (or currently running) XBMC session.
  • xbmc.old.log - This is the log file from the last XBMC session. If XBMC crashes AND you have restarted it before viewing the log, this is the one you want.


xbmc.log and xbmc.old.log are located here, depending on your platform:

OSX/ATV /Users/<username>/Library/Logs/
Linux /home/<username>/.xbmc/temp/
Xbox Q:\


Each event is logged to one line of the XBMC log file which is formatted as follows...

  • TIMESTAMP - The wall time at which the event occurred.
  • THREADID - The thread identification number of the thread in which the event occurred.
  • FREEMEM - The amount of memory (in bytes) free at the time of the event.
  • LEVEL - The severity of the event.
  • MESSAGE - A brief description and/or important information about the event.

Log Levels

There are two different types levels when talking about the XBMC log. The first is the severity of event that has occurred. The second controls which severity levels are actually printed out to the log.

Severity Levels

In order from least to most severe...

  • DEBUG - In depth information about the status of XBMC. This information can pretty much only be deciphered by a developer or long time XBMC power user.
  • INFO - Something has happened. It's not a problem, we just thought you might want to know. Fairly excessive output that most people won't care about.
  • NOTICE - Similar to INFO but the average Joe might want to know about these events. This level and above are logged by default.
  • WARNING - Something potentially bad has happened. If XBMC did something you didn't expect, this is probably why. Watch for errors to follow.
  • ERROR - This event is bad. Something has failed. You likely noticed problems with the application be it skin artifacts, failure of playback a crash, etc.
  • FATAL - We're screwed. XBMC is about to crash.

Log File Control Levels

In order from least to most information provided...

  • None - No logging will occur. xbmc.log will likely be created but should remain empty.
  • Normal - The default loglevel. Events with a severity of NOTICE or greater will be logged.
  • Debug - All events are logged. This level (or higher) is all that you should bother someone else with.
  • Debug w/ Visuals - Same printed log as Debug, but free memory and CPU usage are rendered on the screen as well.
  • SMB Debug - Same as Debug w/ Visuals with the addition of ridiculous amounts of Samba debugging info. Use this only if asked.

Enable Debugging

There are two ways to control log output.

GUI Setting

In Settings > System > Debugging there is a setting Enable debug logging. This lets you toggle between Normal and Debug w/ visuals on the fly.
NOTE: This option is hidden if you have set the log level in advancedsettings.xml.


You can set any of the five log levels using the <loglevel> tag in advancedsettings.xml. See here for details. Setting debug level like this will hide the GUI setting.

So what do I do with this thing?

Whatever you do, please DO NOT paste it directly into IRC, a forum post or ticket on the bug tracker. This not only clutters said text, but the log is nearly impossible to read like this. If your log file is too big for the following methods, please restart XBMC to truncate the file, recreate the problem in as few steps as possible, then stop XBMC and try again. If it is still too large, try disabling features such as "scan library on startup", which spams a lot of info to the log (unless of course this is where the problem is ;)). The last resort would be to break the file up across multiple posts.

Note: Only a log with debugging enabled is useful to others (especially developers!). Please ensure your log is a debug log when you are inquiring about problems or creating bug reports. We're just going to ask you for another one if you don't.

In The Forums and IRC

Use a pastesite such as pastebin.com or pastebin.ca on when posting on the forums. Simply visit one of these sites, paste or upload your log and hit submit. After a few seconds you'll have a nice short URL to paste in your post. Be sure to select an appropriate time to keep your paste around when submitting!

On The Bug Tracker

Just upload the log to your ticket as an attachment. DO NOT archive (zip,rar,tar,etc) it in anyway! Trac will let us view it right on the site without downloading. It's great.