You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps. If you aren't logged on as an administrator, you can change only settings that apply to your user account, and some event logs might not be accessible.

Event logs are special files that record significant events on your computer, such as when a user logs on to the computer or when a program encounters an error. Whenever these types of events occur, Windows records the event in an event log that you can read by using Event Viewer. Advanced users might find the details in event logs helpful when troubleshooting problems with Windows and other programs.

Event Viewer tracks information in several different logs. Windows Logs include:

  • Application (program) events. Events are classified as error, warning, or information, depending on the severity of the event. An error is a significant problem, such as loss of data. A warning is an event that isn't necessarily significant, but might indicate a possible future problem. An information event describes the successful operation of a program, driver, or service.

  • Security-related events. These events are called audits and are described as successful or failed depending on the event, such as whether a user trying to log on to Windows was successful.

  • Setup events. Computers that are configured as domain controllers will have additional logs displayed here.

  • System events. System events are logged by Windows and Windows system services, and are classified as error, warning, or information.

  • Forwarded events. These events are forwarded to this log by other computers.

Applications and Services Logs vary. They include separate logs about the programs that run on your computer, as well as more detailed logs that pertain to specific Windows services.

  1. Open Event Viewer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, clicking Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Event Viewer. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  2. Click an event log in the left pane.

  3. Double-click an event to view the details of the event.

Note

  • For detailed information about event logs, click the Help menu, and then click Help Topics.