Procedures: Quick Start

 

Updated: October 26, 2016

This section contains simple procedures that you can run to start coming up to speed on Message Analyzer features.

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Go To Procedures
Proceed to the procedures listed immediately below to learn how to use Message Analyzer features and functions to accomplish basic tasks such as the following:
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Displaying Data Quickly From a Saved Trace File
Starting a Live Trace Session with a Built-In Trace Scenario
Starting a Data Retrieval Session
Modifying an Existing Data Retrieval Session
Displaying Different Data Viewers to Change Analysis Perspectives
Creating and Saving a Customized Trace Scenario

System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

Although these procedures demonstrate the use of Message Analyzer capabilities in some basic scenarios, they are only a sampling of what you can accomplish with Message Analyzer, given that you can also apply the methodologies described here to many other scenarios. This is also true of other procedural content in this Operating Guide.

System_CAPS_ICON_important.jpg Important

If you have not logged off from Windows after the first installation of Message Analyzer, please log off and then log back on before performing these procedures. This action ensures that in all subsequent logons following installation, your security token will be updated with the required security credentials from the Message Capture Users Group. Otherwise, you will be unable to capture network traffic in Trace Scenarios that use the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider, Microsoft-Windows-NDIS-PacketCapture provider, or the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider, unless you start Message Analyzer with the right-click Run as administrator option.

The procedure that follows shows you how to use the Message Analyzer Open feature to rapidly access and display data from a saved trace or log file.

To quickly open a saved trace file and display its data

  1. From the Start menu, Start page, or task bar of your computer, click the Microsoft Message Analyzer icon to launch Message Analyzer. Start Message Analyzer with the right-click Run as Administrator option if necessary, as described in the previous Important note.

  2. Click the global Message Analyzer File menu and then click Open to display the Windows Open dialog.

    System_CAPS_ICON_tip.jpg Tip

    If you have already opened files with the Open command, a Recent Files item is available just below the Open command on the File menu that displays a submenu to the right, from where you can select a file and immediately open it in the default data viewer.

  3. In the Open dialog that displays, navigate to a saved trace or log file containing the data you want to display and then click the Open button to exit the dialog.

    The saved data displays in the default data viewer.

System_CAPS_ICON_tip.jpg Tip

You can quickly retrieve data from one or more saved trace files by dragging and dropping them almost anywhere on the Message Analyzer user interface. In drag-and-drop mode, the data retrieved from each file in a selected set is aggregated into a single default session viewer tab. Note that the drag-and-drop function does not work if you are running Message Analyzer as an Administrator, due to varying security contexts that can occur between applications.

You can also drag and drop *.log files to display their data. However, instead of the data immediately displaying in the default data viewer, the New Session dialog opens to the Data Retrieval Session input configuration, with the log file/s that you selected as the data source/s for the session. This gives you the opportunity to specify a Text Log Configuration file, which is required for parsing *.log files (unless you have already specified a default configuration file on the General tab of the Options dialog to use for all *.log files, in which case Message Analyzer immediately begins loading the data).

Note that you can specify other session input configurations that include a Time Filter, Session Filter, or Parsing Level, to define the scope of messages to be retrieved. You can also set the Truncated Parsing mode, add more files to the session as data sources, and specify the data viewer you want to use.

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More Information
To learn more about additional configuration capabilities for a Data Retrieval Session, see Configuring a Data Retrieval Session.
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The procedure that follows shows you how to select the built-in Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC Trace Scenario that uses the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider to focus your live data capture above the Network Layer, while minimizing lower-level network traffic. Although this scenario enables you to capture loopback and unencrypted IPSec traffic, this is not the focus of this example.

System_CAPS_ICON_tip.jpg Tip

To start a Live Trace Session immediately with no further configuration, you can simply click the Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC Trace Scenario in the Favorite Scenarios list on the Start Page, where this scenario is accessible by default. You can also locate it in the submenu of the Favorite Scenarios item in the Message Analyzer File menu to quickly start a Live Trace Session with this scenario. Note that you can set any Trace Scenario to Favorite status at your discretion and it will appear in these locations to enable quick session startup.

To start a Live Trace Session with the Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC trace scenario

  1. Launch Message Analyzer as specified in the previous procedure.

  2. Click the global Message Analyzer File menu and then click the New Session item to display the New Session dialog.

  3. Under Add Data Source in the New Session dialog, click the Live Trace button to display the Live Trace tab along with the associated session configuration features contained in the New Session dialog.

  4. Select the Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC item in the Select Scenario drop-down menu on the ETW Providers toolbar of the Live Trace tab in the New Session dialog.

    The Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider is added to the ETW Providers list on the Live Trace tab of the New Session dialog.

  5. Optionally, select a built-in Session Filter from the centralized Filter Expression Library, such as IPv4Address==<192.168.1.1> to capture messages that are sent to and received from a specific computer only. The IP address in this example filter is a placeholder for an actual IP address that you must provide.

    System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

    A Session Filter enables you to define the scope of the data capture while at the same time improve performance by limiting how much data you collect.

  6. Click the Start With drop-down arrow and select the data viewer in which to display your trace results, or use the default Analysis Grid data viewer setting.

  7. Click the Start button in the New Session dialog to start capturing data in your Live Trace Session.

  8. While the Live Trace Session is running, launch a web browser and click some links to navigate to several web locations. Alternatively, you can start some network application.

    Message Analyzer starts to accumulate messages in the data viewer that you specified.

  9. Stop the trace at a suitable point by clicking the Stop button on the global Message Analyzer toolbar.

    Inspect your trace results in the data viewer that you chose and observe that Message Analyzer has captured a set of messages, including HTTP, as a result of the browser links that you clicked.

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    More Information
    To learn more about how you might analyze HTTP and TCP message data, see the following topics for some examples of how to apply HTTP and TCP view Filters in an Analysis Session:
    To apply an HTTP view Filter to Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC trace results and examine all HTTP-related messages
    To apply TCP view Filters to Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC trace results and expose TCP diagnostics
    To learn more about the configuration capabilities that are available for a Live Trace Session, see Configuring a Live Trace Session.
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System_CAPS_ICON_caution.jpg Caution

Be aware that if you let a trace session run for an extended period, it can consume a large amount of memory.

The procedure in this section shows you how to open the input configuration for a Message Analyzer Data Retrieval Session, from where you can specify one or more saved files that contain the message data you want to load and display in the Analysis Grid viewer. The option to create a filtered view of the loaded data with the use of a Session Filter is also described.

To use a Data Retrieval Session to load saved trace data into Message Analyzer

  1. Launch Message Analyzer as indicated in earlier procedures.

  2. On the Start Page, click the New Session button to display the New Session dialog.

  3. Under Add Data Source in the New Session dialog, click the Files button to display the Files tab along with the associated session configuration features that the dialog contains.

  4. On the Files tab, click the Add Files button to display the Open dialog, from where you can navigate to the trace files that contain the data you want to load into Message Analyzer.

  5. In the Open dialog, select the file/s that contain the data you want to retrieve, then click the Open button to exit the dialog.

    Message Analyzer displays the files you selected in a list on the Files tab that includes columns of data such as Name, file Size, File Type, Message Count, Start Time, End Time, and Text Log Configuration.

    System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

    The data from the files that display in this list is not yet loaded into Message Analyzer. At this point, the files are simply the target data sources from which data will be loaded after you click the Start button in the New Session dialog.

  6. In the files list, ensure that there is a check mark in the check box next to the file/s containing the data you want to load into Message Analyzer. Note that you can select or unselect files in the list to create specific combinations of data sources from which to load data.

  7. In the Start With drop-down menu of the New Session dialog, select a data viewer in which to display the results of your Data Retrieval Session; otherwise, the default data viewer setting will be used.

    System_CAPS_ICON_tip.jpg Tip

    You have the option to change the default data viewer from the Profiles tab of the Options dialog, which is accessible from the global Message Analyzer Tools menu. Note that Message Analyzer ships with the Analysis Grid viewer as the default setting, as specified in the Default Profile pane of the Profiles tab.

  8. Optionally, select a Session Filter from the Filter Expression Library in the New Session dialog, or configure a Time Filter from the Files tab in the dialog to define the scope of data retrieval or to narrow the window of time in which to view data, respectively.

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    More Information
    To learn more about applying a Session Filter and/or a Time Filter, see Selecting Data to Retrieve.
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  9. Click the Start button in the New Session dialog to begin loading the data into Message Analyzer.

    After the data is loaded, it displays in the default or selected data viewer.

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    More Information
    To learn more about how to manipulate and analyze saved trace data that you have loaded into the Message Analyzer Analysis Grid viewer, see the following sections:
    Analysis Grid Viewer
    Common Data Viewer Features
    Tool Windows
    Filtering Live Trace Session Results


If you want to modify an existing Data Retrieval Session so that you can load additional data from one or more files, for example saved traces and logs, or if you want to specify other configurations that include a Session Filter, perform the steps of the following procedure.

To modify an existing Data Retrieval Session

  1. Load data into Message Analyzer through a Data Retrieval Session, as described in the previous procedure.

  2. On the global Message Analyzer toolbar, click the Edit Session button to return to the original configuration of the currently in-focus Data Retrieval Session. If you have data for more than one session displaying, ensure that you select a viewer tab for the Data Retrieval Session that you want to modify before you click Edit Session.

  3. On the Files tab of the New Session dialog, click Add Files to add one or more saved trace files to the files list and then select the check box next to each file containing the data you want to load into Message Analyzer.

    System_CAPS_ICON_important.jpg Important

    When you click the Edit Session button on the global Message Analyzer toolbar, by default your Data Retrieval Session opens in Restricted Edit mode. This mode enables you to add saved files as new data sources, but it disables other configuration capabilities, such as setting a Time Filter, choosing a Session Filter, or setting the Parsing Level.

    The advantage of the Restricted Edit mode is that you can add the new data files without triggering a reload of all data and incurring a performance hit. However, if you want to enable the indicated configuration features to specify changes, you can select the Full Edit mode, although you should be aware that a reload of all data will be required if you Apply the changes.

  4. When you are done with reconfiguring the session, click the Apply button to load and display the new data in the Analysis Grid viewer.

    System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

    When you load data from additional files in an edited Data Retrieval Session, the messages from these files are interlaced with the existing messages in the Analysis Grid viewer in chronological order.

Configuring a Session Filter
When loading data from saved files into Message Analyzer, you can select a built-in Filter Expression from the Library drop-down list above the Session Filter text box, or you can manually configure one in the same text box. This results in filtering the input messages to specific criteria.

For example, you might add a simple expression such as *Port != IANA.Port.LDAP from the Library drop-down list to remove LDAP traffic on TCP and UDP transports, if you don't want to view this data. Note that if you manually configure a Filter Expression and it is invalid, you may receive a Compile query error message after you click the Apply button in the New Session dialog.

System_CAPS_ICON_tip.jpg Tip

After loading a collection of messages from specified files and displaying the data in a selected viewer, you have the option to add a built-in or manually-configured view Filter to further isolate specific data of interest. The centralized Filter Expression Library for selecting built-in Filters is available on the Filtering toolbar that appears above every session viewer.

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More Information
To learn more about how to manually configure your own Filter Expressions, see Writing Filter Expressions.
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The procedure that follows runs a the Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC Trace Scenario in a Live Trace Session and then loads a message collection to create initial data views in separate Analysis Grid viewer tabs. You will then select several different data viewers that provide high-level data summaries and statistics, some in graphic formats.

To display different data viewers

  1. Follow the guidelines of the second procedure in this section to start a Live Trace Session with the Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC Trace Scenario.

  2. Capture SMB traffic by performing file access activities while your Live Trace Session is running.

    Note that the Microsoft-PEF-WFP-MessageProvider in the Loopback and Unencrypted IPSEC Trace Scenario captures data above the IP/Network Layer, which makes it a good choice for capturing SMB traffic at the Application Layer while minimizing lower layer noise.

    System_CAPS_ICON_tip.jpg Tip

    You might consider using the SMB2 Client Full Payloads Trace Scenario to capture SMB traffic unencrypted.

  3. Stop the Live Trace Session at a suitable point by clicking the Stop button on the global Message Analyzer toolbar.

  4. Load messages from one or more saved trace files (preferably related SMB data, if you have it) into Message Analyzer through a Data Retrieval Session by following the guidelines of the third procedure in this section.

    The trace results and loaded data display in separate Analysis Grid viewer tabs, assuming that you specified the Analysis Grid as your data viewer in the New Session dialog for your Live Trace Session and Data Retrieval Session configurations.

  5. If the Session Explorer Tool Window is hidden, click the global Message Analyzer Tools menu, select the Windows submenu, and then click the Session Explorer item to restore it to the default location.

  6. To create different views of the live trace results data (in addition to the existing Analysis Grid viewer instance), right-click the live trace session node in Session Explorer, highlight New Viewer, select Chart in the drop-down list, and then select the SMB File Stats view Layout so that you can analyze file access duration times, bytes transferred, and data transmission rate for each file name in a set of trace results.

    You might also display the SMB Top Commands view Layout to obtain a high-level overview of message volume per file access operation, as an indication of the SMB operations consuming the most bandwidth.

    Note that each viewer in the same session is identified by a unique color code. Therefore, the color code for each viewer in the Live Trace Session will be the same, while at the same time different from that of the viewer for the Data Retrieval Session in which you loaded data from saved files into Message Analyzer.

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    More Information
    To learn more about the Layouts that are available for the Chart viewer, see the Chart Viewer Layouts topic.
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  7. Double-click any bar element in the SMB Top Commands Bar graph visualizer component Layout to display the corresponding SMB messages in a separate Analysis Grid session viewer tab for further analysis.

  8. Repeat step 6 and select the SMB Reads and Writes Layout for the Chart viewer to display SMB statistics in the Timeline visualizer component.

    System_CAPS_ICON_important.jpg Important

    These viewers will display data only if SMB, SMB2, or SMB3 protocol packets were captured in the Live Trace Session that you ran.

  9. Right-click the node for the Data Retrieval Session in Session Explorer, highlight New Viewer, select the Grouping viewer, and then select the Process Name and Conversations view Layout in the drop-down list that appears.

    Note that the hierarchy of message groups that display for this Layout isolate trace data into nested groups consisting of ProcessName, ProcessId, Network (IP conversations), and Transport (ports that carried the IP conversations), to enable a focused analytical perspective. By clicking any Group in the hierarchy, you can drive the display of Group messages into the Analysis Grid viewer for inspection of associated message data. If you are a Microsoft Network Monitor user, you might notice that this particular Layout is similar to the Network Conversation Tree.

  10. While the Grouping viewer has focus, click the Layout drop-down list on the Grouping viewer toolbar and select the File Sharing SMB/SMB2 view Layout from the File Sharing category, to isolate the data by SMB SessionIdName, TreeIdName, and FileName.

    This will enable you to drill down into the hierarchically organized Group display to analyze the messages associated with each file, as nested under the SMB session and tree IDs. for example to search for diagnostic errors. Note that when you select any Group node under the Group Values column of the Grouping viewer, you will display the messages associated with the selected Group node in the Analysis Grid viewer for further analysis, provided that the Filtering Mode is enabled on the Grouping viewer toolbar. If the Selection Mode is enabled, selecting a Group will only highlight the associated messages in the Analysis Grid viewer.

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    More Information
    To learn more about the Grouping viewer, including the Filtering Mode and Selection Mode of operation, refer to the Grouping Viewer topic.
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  11. Next, right-click the node for the Data Retrieval Session in Session Explorer, highlight New Viewer, and then select Pattern Match to display the Pattern Match viewer.

    To start the Pattern matching process, specify a built-in Pattern expression in the AVAILABLE PATTERNS list of the Pattern Match viewer, by selecting the check box of a chosen Pattern expression. For example, you might select the TCP Retransmit Pairs or TCP Three-Way Handshake Pattern expression to identify these types of sequential pattern matches across the retrieved message set, possibly to expose network or connectivity issues, respectively.


    More Information
    To learn more about Pattern matching, refer to the Pattern Match Viewer topic.


  12. To quickly vary your analysis perspectives, poll through the various views of data by clicking the viewer nodes under each session name in Session Explorer, or select different viewer tabs in the Message Analyzer main analysis surface.

    As you select viewer nodes in Session Explorer, the data for each of the selected viewer nodes displays in separate viewer tabs in the main analysis surface. As you poll the data views, you obtain unique perspectives that enhances your analysis of the data.

  13. Optionally, to obtain alternate but integrated views of the saved message data, select the Message Stack Tool Window from the Windows submenu of the global Message Analyzer Tools menu, if the window is not already open, to expose the underlying message stack that supported top-level transactions. Also select the Diagnostics Tool Window from the same menu location to display summary groups of the different types of diagnosis errors that occurred in the retrieved data.

    System_CAPS_ICON_important.jpg Important

    The Diagnostics window is currently a preview feature. To use this tool, you must enable it on the Features tab of the Options dialog, which is accessible from the global Message Analyzer Tools menu, and you must then restart Message Analyzer.

System_CAPS_ICON_tip.jpg Tip

You can compare Live Trace Session results with related data that is loaded into Message Analyzer from a Data Retrieval Session. This provides a convenient method for analyzing current and historical data side-by-side. To learn how to display data viewer tabs side by side, see Redocking Data Viewers and Tool Windows.

In the procedure that follows, you will create and save a Trace Scenario to serve as a trace template with predefined tracing functionality that you can run on demand. The Trace Scenario specified in this simple example enables you to isolate traffic to a specific IP address, where you can use two different methods of filtering to achieve that result.

To create and save a Trace Scenario

  1. From the Start menu, Start page, or task bar of your computer, click the Microsoft Message Analyzer icon to launch Message Analyzer.

  2. On the Message Analyzer Start Page, click the New Session button to display the New Session dialog.

  3. Under Add Data Source in the New Session dialog, click the Live Trace button to display the Live Trace tab along with the associated session configuration features that the New Session dialog provides.

  4. Select the Local Network Interfaces Trace Scenario in the Select Scenario drop-down list on the ETW Providers toolbar of the New Session dialog.

    System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

    If you are running the Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows Server 2012 operating system, the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture is added to the ETW Providers list on the Live Trace tab of the New Session dialog. Otherwise, for later operating systems, the Microsoft-Windows-NDIS-PacketCapture provider (with remote capabilities) is added to the list.

  5. In the earlier operating system scenario, click the Configure link to the right of the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider in the ETW Providers list to display the Advanced Settings - Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture dialog. Select the Provider tab in the dialog and then specify the configurations that follow:

    • In the Name column under System Network, expand the Machine node, and then under Adapters, make sure that the In and Out check boxes for the Ethernet network adapter are selected. This ensures that the Trace Scenario will capture both inbound and outbound traffic on the Ethernet adapter. Deselect these check boxes for all other listed adapters.

    • In the Fast Filters pane of the Advanced Settings - Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture dialog, click the black arrow next to the Filter 1 designator in Group 1 and select the IPv4Address option from the drop-down menu that displays.

      System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

      With a low-level IPv4 address Fast Filter, the Trace Scenario will deliver messages to the PEF Runtime that transited to or from a specified IPv4 address only, as the Trace Scenario is running. This avoids the additional parsing that would normally be required if you specify a similar Session Filter instead, thereby improving Message Analyzer performance.

    • Specify an IPv4 address value in the format 192.168.1.1 in the text box adjacent to the drop-down menu, to isolate traffic to the specified IPv4 address. Make sure to substitute appropriately for the IP address placeholder italics value specified in this example.

    • Highlight the row in which the Ethernet adapter exists in the System Network tree grid of the Advanced Settings - Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture dialog, and then click the Apply to Highlighted button in Group 1.

      The name of the Ethernet adapter displays as the Target of the filter Group. Click OK to exit.

      System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

      Instead of configuring a Fast Filter, you can optionally specify a Session Filter such as IPv4.Address == 192.168.1.1 in the Session Filter text box of the New Session dialog. However, you should note that a Session Filter requires more processing time, as indicated earlier. If you choose to use a Session Filter, you can remove the previously set Fast Filter configuration.

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    More Information
    To learn more about the filtering configurations that you can specify for the Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture provider, see Using the Advanced Settings - Microsoft-PEF-NDIS-PacketCapture Dialog.
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  6. In later operating system scenarios, click the Configure link to the right of the Microsoft-Windows-NDIS-PacketCapture provider in the ETW Providers list to display the Advanced Settings - Microsoft-Windows-NDIS-PacketCapture dialog. Select the Provider tab in the dialog and then specify an IP Address filtering configuration.

    You can do this by first selecting the Ethernet adapter in the Adapters list of the dialog and then specifying an IP address in the IP Addresses text box in the Filters pane of the dialog. Make sure that the selected Ethernet adapter is the only one with a check mark in the corresponding Enabled check box; all others should be removed. Note that you could specify a MAC address for the Ethernet adapter instead of, or in addition to, an IP address.

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    More Information
    To learn more about special filtering configurations that you can specify for the Microsoft-Windows-NDIS-PacketCapture provider, see Using the Advanced Settings - Microsoft-Windows-NDIS-PacketCapture Dialog.
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  7. Click the Save Scenario button on the ETW Providers toolbar to display the Edit Trace Scenario dialog and then specify values for the Name, Description, and Category fields.

    System_CAPS_ICON_note.jpg Note

    When you run your customized Trace Scenario, the trace results will display in the default data viewer that is specified in the Default Profile pane on the Profiles tab of the Options dialog, which is accessible from the global Message Analyzer Tools menu. If you want to change the default viewer from this location, simply click the Default Viewer drop-down list and choose a viewer that you want as the default.

  8. When your Trace Scenario configuration is complete, click the Save button to exit the Edit Trace Scenario dialog.

Running the Custom Trace Scenario
When you save a customized Trace Scenario, it becomes a new item in the Trace Scenario user Library in the Category that you specified. This Category will be located under the My Items top-level category of the Library, from where you can select and run it at any time. It also becomes part of the Message Analyzer Sharing Infrastructure, which enables you to mutually share the scenarios in the Trace Scenario user Library with others.

System_CAPS_ICON_tip.jpg Tip

After you run a custom Trace Scenario template from the New Session dialog, you have the option to reopen the session configuration by clicking the Edit Session button on the global Message Analyzer toolbar. Thereafter, you can reconfigure the Trace Scenario as required and save the new template configuration again by clicking Save Scenario.

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More Information
To learn more about creating Trace Scenario templates, see Creating and Managing Custom Trace Scenarios.
To learn more about managing the Trace Scenarios Library as part of the Message Analyzer Sharing Infrastructure, see Managing Trace Scenarios.
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Capturing Message Data
Retrieving Message Data
Data Viewers

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