Is there some other way other than the logs to check that ongoing geoprocessing is working correctly?

I am running the Buffer tool with dissolve type ALL on ArcCatalog 10.1. I was expecting the the task would take a long time so I left it running and went home for the weekend. It has now been running for 5 days and I want to find out if it has crashed or not.

Task Manager says the process (RuntimeLocalServer.exe) is still running, and the using between 900 MB and 3.8 GB or memory (it changes over time) and one core of my processor is working flat out, with the others running at about 10%. I have no other applications running.

ArcCatalog displays the hourglass symbol and no error messages in the results pane. I've also checked the log files which just say that the task was started and contain no error messages.

Extra Details

I'm creating a 3m buffer around about 1.5 million polygons in a feature class of a file geodatabase. Many of them are overlapping and so are being dissolved together when they overlap.

I have ArcGIS 10.1 for Desktop on Windows 7 64 Bit.

  • 3
    if the hourglass is in the results tab, it is still running
    – Moggy
    Aug 28, 2013 at 14:17
  • I know that normally that is true, my concern is that is may have crashed and left the hourglass up.
    – falcs
    Aug 28, 2013 at 15:10
  • 2
    Just a suggestion - if the output file is created when you start running the tool can you check to see if it is increasing in size (presumably the processing can't all be done in memory)? If there are temporary files being created you can check the ArcGIS temp folder for changes in size over time.
    – Radar
    Aug 28, 2013 at 15:56
  • 2
    Sounds like it has hit some wall to me if running for 5 days. As you are running on a 64 bit machine it make be worth while installing 64 bit background geo-processing (blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/2012/10/31/…)
    – Hornbydd
    Aug 28, 2013 at 16:43
  • I already have installed the 64 bit geoprocessing
    – falcs
    Aug 28, 2013 at 16:55

3 Answers 3


If you create a model in the model builder function, you can see the % completed bar. I like to do this when processing large amounts of data so I can monitor the progress. Results Window should do the same thing but doesn't.


At both v10 and 10.1 ArcCatalog seems to, by default, have what ESRI call background processing. Change this through Geoprocessing-->Geoprocessing Options and uncheck the background processing box. It will mean that that session of ArcCatalog won't be useful for much else until the process is done, but it will give you a clearer idea of where your task is at.


All your GP tool results can be found at %APPDATA%\ESRI\Desktop10.1\ArcToolbox\History, stored as XML. If you look at the newest file in here, you can see if geoprocessing messages are still being written out.

For example, in my History folder, there is a file called H12172015_080518.xml. The filename is a datestamp, so it was created on 12/17/2015 at 08:05:18. The last entry is something like:

    <ResultView Tool='Calculate Field'>

    <CommandLine>CalculateField_management TEST futuretime &quot;datetime.datetime.strptime(!date!,&apos;%d/%m/%Y %H:%M:%S&apos;) + datetime.timedelta(seconds=!seconds!)&quot; PYTHON_9.3 </CommandLine>

    <ToolSource>c:\program files (x86)\arcgis\desktop10.3\ArcToolbox\Toolboxes\Data Management Tools.tbx\Fields\CalculateField</ToolSource>

    <StartTime>Thu Dec 17 08:19:10 2015</StartTime>



            <Parameter Label='Input Table' Type='TableView'>TEST</Parameter>

            <Parameter Label='Field Name' Type='Scalar'>futuretime</Parameter>

            <Parameter Label='Expression' Type='Scalar'>datetime.datetime.strptime(!date!,&apos;%d/%m/%Y %H:%M:%S&apos;) + datetime.timedelta(seconds=!seconds!)</Parameter>

            <Parameter Label='Expression Type' Type='Scalar'>PYTHON_9.3</Parameter>



            <Parameter Label='Output Feature Class' Type='Dataset'>TEST</Parameter>



            <TableView Name='TEST'>C:\Users\jpm\Documents\ArcGIS\Default.gdb\TEST</TableView>






    <EndTime>Thu Dec 17 08:19:10 2015</EndTime>

    <EndTime>0.02 seconds</EndTime>


If the tool is still running, more results will be added to the file. Keep an eye on the StartTime and EndTime parameters to check that the results are being updated.

  • A little late to this but exact location of that file depends on your PC's configuration - e.g. on mine it is located here: C:\Users\XXX\AppData\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.X\ArcToolbox\History
    – user23715
    Dec 8, 2017 at 17:02

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