Using Event Viewer To Get Details About System Events

When you have a problem with the system (whenever a system error message pops up), or when the system does something strange, and you want to ask for help, start by finding any relevant entries in the System Event Log.

Under Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Event Viewer, you will find lists of all recorded system events. There are three standard logs - Application, Security, and System. Some applications, like your AntiVirus, may add an additional one - my antivirus program added an additional log called Antivirus.

Look in the appropriate log for an event recorded at the time you observed an error or event. Double click on any log entry to view details.

When you find an entry corresponding to the time and maybe the symptoms, extract the details.

  • Look for the clipboard button in the detail window - on the right, below the Up and Down arrows (used for viewing Next and Previous event details).
  • Hit the clipboard button to Copy the details.
  • Go to whatever communications tool that you use (browser, email, usenet, whatever) and Paste the details into the message that you're creating.

Note that Event Viewer, like some other Windows Management applets, provides network access. When logged in under an account with administrative access to other computers:

  • Start Event Viewer.
  • Go to Action - Connect to another computer.
  • Select Another computer, and type the name of the other computer, or use the Select Computer applet to identify and select another computer.
  • Hit OK.

Now you can peruse the Event Log of another computer, as if you were right there logged in.

For interpretation of specific errors, see

For more information about the Event Viewer, see Microsoft: (KB308427): How To View and Manage Event Logs in Event Viewer in Windows XP.

>> Top