Intel System Debugger, System Trace usage – Export & Compare trace logs


Intel System Debugger also provides System Trace feature (abbr. ISD-ST) which is implemented as an eclipse plug-in. This feature is to support Intel Trace Hub feature to help collect logs generated by SW/FW/HW etc. Currently, the latest ISD-ST release supports traces from ME, BIOS & ETW (Event Trace for Windows). This is an episode 2 of the series articles about how to use System Trace Tool. You are recommended to read the first article about overview of System Trace feature and the HW requirements if you don’t hear about Intel System debugger - System Trace at all.

This article is to share the idea how to use Intel System Debugger - System Trace feature to help system boot-up issues.

Usage case for comparing two trace logs while booting.

Imaging that your customers meet an unknown system boot-up issue on their design product but Intel reference platform just works fine. This is exact the situation System Trace Tool may help on with. ISS-ST can be used for such kind of issues debugging by simply comparing two traces logs during system boot-up. The following sections explain the steps how you can do it.


Quick steps to export trace logs in plain text format files.

We can easily export system trace log to a TXT format file or (.CSV format is basically TXT format) in system trace eclipse UI. Check the following illustration and steps below to see how to export traces as a TXT file.


1. Right click on "FORMATTED GTS" field to open context menu

2. Check this to hide GTS column

3. click Export Traces (pops up a "Export" dialog window)

4. Select TXT_TAB format then check logs line options to make sure full logs will be exported.


Right now, you can export two logs. One is the reference log which can normally boot up on Intel reference platform and the other is the problematic log collected during booting up of actual target platform.

how to export system trace log


Compare the trace logs to identify suspect issues

There are also several open source tools like WinMerge(for windows), KDiff3(for linux) to support TXT files comparison. After you extracted two logs in TXT format by previous steps and do the comparision, you can find the major difference and look into the suspect points in corresponding components.  Check the figure below. It’s an example showing the difference between two logs in WinMerge this application.

winmerge comparing

See also

Intel® System Debugger 2015 User and Reference Guide

Intel System Debugger - System Trace feature overview