The hidden tool – MSDTC Transaction Tracing

If you deal with MSDTC frequently, you might have noticed an option to toggle the tracing options for transactions in the MSDTC settings but I am not sure how many are really aware of what information is logged inside the trace file and how the trace file can be converted from a binary format to a text format. The built in transaction tracing is one of the least famous (but yet a very powerful) feature of MSDTC diagnostics. This tracing logs information about various stages of transaction propagation and gives you enough information about the various outcomes of a transaction. Using this tracing, you can not only determine the various transaction managers or resource managers involved in a transaction but you can also determine the cause of a transaction abort.


The transaction tracing becomes a powerful tool when the transactions are either taking too long to run or they are getting aborted intermittently and nothing inside your application is giving you any hint around why the transaction is getting aborted. If you observe one of the following errors inside your application, I recommend using the MSDTC transaction tracing to figure out more details about your transaction

  • The Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (MS DTC) has cancelled the Distributed Transaction
  • The transaction has been implicitly committed or aborted


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