Activity Log

When you launch HandBrake, it begins recording information about its operation to an Activity Log. When you open a Source, HandBrake scans it and records what it discovers to the log. Likewise, during encoding, HandBrake records its progress—and any issues it encounters—to the log.

Activity Logs can be a good personal reference for the settings you used to make your videos and whether everything went as you expected.

Should you need technical support, providing an Activity Log is required and is essential for diagnosing the issue you may be experiencing.

Why Activity Logs are required for support

Frequently, people ask the HandBrake Team, “Why should I be required to provide an Activity Log to receive technical support?” Good question!

For starters, most applications log information about their operation. Your operating system keeps countless logs as well. Logs are often used for informational purposes and to diagnose technical problems with a system or application that isn’t behaving as expected.

Here are some questions that may be helpful in diagnosing a problem with HandBrake, that an Activity Log can answer:

Obviously, it would be laborious to ask these questions to thousands of people requesting support for HandBrake.

In contrast, providing an Activity Log is an easy way to explain exactly what is going on in a standardized manner, which helps ensure accuracy and prevent confusion. This speeds up the support process significantly, which saves time for everybody.

Despite this, some people refuse to provide logs even after being given the above reasoning. Often times, these people think their question is simple enough that a log shouldn’t be required. This is almost never the case in practice, and time is wasted asking and answering questions that Activity Logs are designed for.

While it is the HandBrake Team’s goal to help everyone we can, the fact remains that we can’t magically infer what may or may not be happening inside your computer. Without an Activity Log, the HandBrake Team simply cannot provide technical support.

Privacy

Activity Logs are stored only on your computer. HandBrake does not send these logs anywhere else.

If you are concerned about retaining these logs indefinitely, feel free to delete them periodically. Be sure not to delete any other files important to HandBrake’s operation.

To provide an Activity Log for support, you must send us your log(s) manually. If you are concerned about private information an Activity Log may contain and reveal to others, feel free to read through the log and redact the parts that concern you before sharing.

Sharing

To share your Activity Log publicly—for instance, to request technical support for HandBrake—you may wish to do one of the following:

Once your log is available publicly, share its link with your intended recipient(s). When using a free service, be sure to note how long the service intends to store your log (typically 1-7 days).

Activity Logs may also be pasted directly into new support requests on GitHub.

Where to find the logs

Note: When scanning a new source during encoding, log messages from the scan may be intermixed with log messages from your currently running encode.

Activity Logs on Linux

You can access the current log by opening the Activity Log window in HandBrake.

On Linux, logs are stored at Datadir/ghb, where Datadir is the system default data directory (typically $(HOME)/.config).

The full path to the log directory is shown at the top of the Activity Log window.

Inside, you may find the following files:

Activity Logs on Mac

You can access the current log by opening the Activity Log window in HandBrake.

On Mac, logs are stored at ~/Library/Application Support/HandBrake/EncodeLogs, where ~ is your home folder.

You can open this location directly from HandBrake’s Activity Log window.

Inside, you may find the following files:

Activity Logs on Windows

You can access the current log by opening the Activity Log window in HandBrake.

On Windows, logs are stored at the following locations, where Username is your user name:

Inside, you may find the following files:

Activity Logs on the command line

HandBrake’s command line interface outputs to the standard streams stdout and stderr, with encode progress information routed to the former and log messages routed to the latter.

To capture HandBrake’s log messages to a file, simply redirect stderr:

HandBrakeCLI ... 2> my-activity-log.txt