I am using SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise. I want to know how to find error logs when I met with something wrong?

For example, when I am using SharePoint Designer 2007 to import a list to a web page by using Data View -> Insert Dataview, there is error message like as follows:

The server returned a non-specific error when trying to get data from the data source.     
Check the format and content of your query and try again. 
If the problem persists, contact the server administrator.

How to find more details logs?

  • 1
    if you think this post is answered, please mark as answer. Jan 3, 2010 at 15:07

3 Answers 3


Beside the ULS log that Jaap mentions, you will also find relevant information in the "Application" Event Log.

You can find Event Viewer in Administrative Tools or simply write eventvwr.exe in Run.

Theres also alot of projects on Codeplex that is helpful for managing the ULS log file. Just search for ULS on Codeplex.com

Finally i can recommend using SPTraceView by Hristo Pavlov which gives you ULS events as they happen in real time. Especially powerfull when doing production debugging. It can also be combined with DebugView.

EDIT: A good blog post on all the logs of SharePoint: How do i troubleshoot SharePoint? So many logs!

  • ULS is short for?
    – George2
    Dec 28, 2009 at 5:56
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    Unified Logging Service Dec 28, 2009 at 7:26
  • What is Unified Logging Service? Something specific to SharePoint Server? Do you have any more documents to read?
    – George2
    Dec 28, 2009 at 9:11
  • ULS logs is trace logs that SharePoint write data into when executing its API's. You can set up trace levels for ULS and Event Logs individually for different categories in CA > Operations > Diagnostics Logging. Be aware though that it can affect both performance and storage if you set log levels too high. In the case of debugging a problem you can set them to Verbose and set them back to Medium afterwards. Read more: technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc288649.aspx weblogs.asp.net/erobillard/archive/2008/07/31/… Dec 28, 2009 at 12:12

ULS logs are generated by the server in the following folder:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\LOGS

You can modify the level of logging through Central Admin e.g. more verbose or less verbose.

It's a good idea to add a "12 hive" toolbar to the start bar so you can easily access logs and all the rest of SharePoint that resides in the 12 hive.

There are also open source tools out there that allow you to view the logs through a user friendly interface. One example is WSS / MOSS Log File Reader, developed by Stuart Starrs.

  • 2
    Its also a good idea to move those log files away from C: and into your data drive :-) You can determine both diagnostics and trace log file paths in Central Administration Dec 27, 2009 at 15:02
  • When I view the lastest file log, I met with error -- the file is being user by other process. Any ideas what is wrong?
    – George2
    Dec 28, 2009 at 10:44
  • that is because the trace log is continiously being written to by sharepoint Dec 28, 2009 at 20:07
  • MS also released their ULS Viewer tool here code.msdn.microsoft.com/ULSViewer
    – Alex Angas
    Dec 28, 2009 at 22:46
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    @BGM Now re-released here: microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44020 . Weird timing...
    – Alex Angas
    Aug 28, 2014 at 4:22

"The server returned a non-specific error when trying to get data from the data source. Check the format and content of your query and try again. If the problem persists, contact the server administrator." error is a SharePoint Designer error and you are unlikely to see anything in the logs about this.

If you are only doing Data View -> Insert Dataview and getting this error, I'd be surprised. Are you doing anything else before you get the error? It could be that you are trying to insert the Dataview in a part of the page where it cannot be, such as inside another control.

  • Hi Marc, I am dragging Dataview into a WebPart layout page (I create a new blank webpart page based on the layout). Could I drag Dataview into a WebPart?
    – George2
    Dec 28, 2009 at 3:23
  • you should probably create a new topic if you want an answer to what the error could be. The Question was about logging in general. Dec 28, 2009 at 20:09
  • 1
    I've gotten this one in such cases - usually involves adding a lookup field to a list that already has a lot of items and workflows and other fun - there's some odd combination that SP doesn't like. Removing the test items sets everything right in the world.
    – Cory M
    May 23, 2012 at 19:28

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