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Debugging and troubleshooting issues with the winget tool

When Windows Package Manager is installing, searching or listing applications, sometimes it is necessary to look at the log files to better understand the behavior.

WinGet Logs

Windows Package Manager by default creates log files when executing commands. These logs contain information that can aid in debugging issues with WinGet. There is no maximum size for the log files. They are typically only a few KB in size. When the number of log files in the directory exceeds 100, the oldest log files will begin being deleted. There is no time-based removal of logs and these settings are not configurable. If you have reached the 100 file log capacity, just move any WinGet logs that you wish to preserve into a different directory.

Use the command winget --info to find the directory path to your WinGet log files. The default path for WinGet log files is:

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages\Microsoft.DesktopAppInstaller_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState\DiagOutputDir

You can include the --logs or --open-logs option to any command to open the logs directory after the command completes. Here are some examples of using the --logs option:

> winget list --logs
> winget source update --open-logs

--verbose-logs

If you need more comprehensive log files, that provide the complete communication with the CDNs and sources, include --verbose or --verbose-logs on the command line as well. Here are some examples of using the --verbose-logs option:

> winget install vscode --verbose-logs
> winget search -n visual --verbose-logs
> winget source add -n mysource -t Microsoft.REST -a https://www.contoso.org --verbose

Known issues

A list of known issues with sources and behaviors is kept up to date in the Windows Package Manager Client repository. If you encounter issues when using the winget tool, go here for troubleshooting.

Exit codes

The winget tool returns exit codes to indicate success or failure of the command. Find a table of exit codes and their meanings in the "Return codes" file of the Windows Package Manager Client repository.

Scope for specific user vs machine-wide

Not all installers support installing in “user” scope vs. “machine” scope consistently.

  • MSIX-based packages: Reliable WinGet behavior.
  • MSI-based packages typically support reliable WinGet configurations, but in some cases, are nested inside an .exe-based installer so there may be more variability.
  • EXE-based installers behavior around scope is not necessarily deterministic. In some cases the arguments to specify scope are not available, and in other cases the installer may make the determination based on whether the user is a member of the local administrators group. Packages installed in user scope may still require UAC (User Account Control) authorization from an administrator.

See more details on scope-related issues in the WinGet product repository on GitHub.