How to use sxstrace.exe – diagnose side-by-side errors

04 June,2014 by Tom Collins

Question: I’m trying to run a binary and getting an error message requesting to use sxstrace.exe . How can I use sxstrace.exe to debug the issue?

Please use sxstrace.exe for detailed diagnosis


Answer: The sxstrace utility assists in diagnosing side-by-side errors. Follow these steps to run sxstrace.exe. These steps will create the trace as a binary file and convert the binary file into a readable format.

The binary is present at location:


Administrative privileges are required to use sxstrace.exe

Step 1 : Open Command Prompt

Step 2: Start Trace

Run  the  command: 

C:\> sxstrace.exe Trace -logfile:tracetest.log

Note: Make sure you run the command on a directory with write permissions. As an alternative, point the –logfile parameter to a directory with write permissions  

Step 3 : Run the program causing the error message. When the error message appears click OK

Step 4: Stop Trace

C:\> sxstrace.exe stoptrace

Step 5 :Convert log to readable format. The tracetest.log from above is a binary formatted file. This command will convert into human readable format by parsing the binary log file and creating a text file

C:\> sxstrace.exe Parse -logfile:tracetest.log -outfile:tracetest.txt

 Read More on diagnosing 

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Author: Tom Collins (


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