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Windows 7

Monitoring and Maintaining Windows 7 : Using Event Viewer

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Event Viewer, shown in Figure 1, enables you to view event logs that are created by the operating system. This utility is useful when troubleshooting problems that occur on your computer.
Figure 1. Windows 7 Event Viewer

Whenever an error occurs, an event is usually placed in one or more event logs. To open Event Viewer, click Start => Control Panel => System and Security => Administrative Tools => View Event Logs.

Whereas o!d versions of Event Viewer contained only the Application, Security, and System logs, the Windows 7 version of Event Viewer contains the following Windows logs:

  • Application

  • Security

  • Setup

  • System

  • Forwarded Events

The Application tog is used to log events telating to applications, such as whether an application, driver, or service fails. The Security log is used to log security events, such as successful or failed logon events. The Setup log is used only by domain controllers, so it doesn't have much practical use in Windows 7. The System log is used to log events related to the operating system and related services. The Forwarded Events log is used to collect events that have been forwarded from other computers.

To configure log settings, right-click the log that you want to configure and select Properties. The Log Properties dialog box appears. The Application log properties are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Event Viewer Application log properties

The Log Properties dialog box shows the following information:

  • The full name of the log

  • Where the log is stored

  • The size of the log

  • When the log was created, modified, and accessed

  • Whether logging is enabled for the log

  • The maximum log size in KB

  • The action that occurs when the log reaches the maximum size

The left pane of Event Viewer is where you find the Windows logs noted previously, but it also contains other logs and views that can be helpful when troubleshooting a specific application. The Custom Views section can be used to create a view that contains only the information you want to see, such as only events in a particular log or only Critical events. One custom view, Administrative Events, is created for you by default, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Event Viewer Custom Views: Administrative Events

The Administrative Events view contains Critical, Error, and Warning events from all logs, enabling you to easily view only the most important events. Another section in the left pane contains logs that relate to Applications and Services^ as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Event Viewer Application and Services log

The Microsoft folder within the Application and Services log contains many other logs related to specific Microsoft components and applications.

The Subscription folder enables you to receive event logs from other computers. Having other machines send events to one machine is useful to us as it gives us one central repository to view events from multiple locations. To use subscriptions, you must start the Windows Event Collector Service.

The center pane of Event Viewer displays the events and information that relates to those events. You can also view a summary of your administrative events, which contains a count of Critical, Error, Warning, Information, Audit Success, and Audit Failure events. A count of these events is displayed for the last hour, day, and week, and the total number of events is also provided. Each event is assigned an event level of Critical, Error, Warning, Information, or Verbose.

The right pane of Event Viewer enables you to perform actions related to items you have selected in the left and center panes. You can save logs, open saved logs, create or import views, clear logs, filter logs, and find logs with certain keywords. You can also attach a task to an event. Clicking Attach Task To This Event opens the Create Basic Task Wizard in Task Scheduler so you can easily create a task related to the selected event.

Perform Exercise 1 to view events in Event Viewer and set log properties.

Exercise 1: Viewing Events in Event Viewer

  1. Choose Start => Control Panel => System And Security => Administrative Tools => View Event Logs, or type Event Viewer into the Windows 7 search box.

  2. Open Windows Logs and click System in the left pane of the Event Viewer window to display the System tog events.

  3. Double-click the first event in the center pane of the Event Viewer window to see its Event Properties dialog box.

  4. After you view the Event Properties, click the Close button to close the dialog box.

  5. Right-click System in the left pane of the Event Viewer window and select Properties.

  6. Configure the System log to archive the log file when it is full by clicking Archive The Log File When Full; Do Not Overwrite Events; click OK to close the dialog box.

  7. Right-click System in the left pane of the Event Viewer window and select Filter Current Log.

  8. Select the check boxes next to Critical and Error boxes; then click OK (you will see only Critical and Error events listed in the System log).

  9. Right-click System and select Clear Log.

  10. A dialog box appears that asks whether you want to save the System log before you clear it; click the Save And Clear button.

  11. Specify the path and filename for the log file, and then click the Save button (the events will be saved in an .evtx file, and the events will be cleared from the System log).


When you are investigating a Windows 7 problem, Event Viewer is one of the first places that you should look.

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