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What is Event Viewer and what information does it tell me?

One of the biggest frustrations about trying to troubleshoot any computer problems is that the cause of the offending errors are often hard to identify. Computer malfunctions and errors sometimes seem to pop up out of nowhere and with no apparent reason. One minute your computer is working perfectly fine; the next minute it’s taking forever to boot up or programs aren’t functioning smoothly.

Fortunately, Microsoft Windows comes equipped with a helpful program that is little-known among many Windows users. Event Viewer logs every event that occurs on your computer from the moment you first boot it up. Logged events include those related to programs installed on the computer, system performance, and security.

Event Viewer Event Logging
“A variety of information is collected with Event Viewer”

Event Viewer is often used by IT professionals, computer technicians, and programmers. However, Windows users can also use it to get an idea of just what their computer has been doing beneath the surface. In many instances, Event Viewer will provide you with the event and subsequent error that has led to your computer’s malfunction or poor performance.

Event Viewer is available on all recent versions of Windows, however the steps to open the program vary slightly with each version:

  • In Windows XP, follow this path:
    • Start Menu
    • Control Panel
    • Performance and Maintenance
    • Administrative Tools
    • Computer Management
  • In Windows Vista, use the following path:
    • Start Menu
    • Control Panel
    • System and Maintenance
    • Administrative Tools
    • Event Viewer
  • In Windows 7, follow this path:
    • Start Menu
    • Control Panel
    • System and Security
    • Administrative Tools
    • Event Viewer
  • In Windows 8, follow this path:
    • Press the Windows key and “W” at the same time
    • That will bring up a search box, type “EV” or “event view” into the box
    • Click on “View Event Logs”

Event Viewer Windows 8
“Accessing Event Viewer from Windows 8”

When you open the Event Viewer, you may be overwhelmed by the quantity of events and error messages listed. Remember, the program has been logging events since the time the computer was started for the first time. For many computers, that means there have been thousands of events and errors.

Event Viewer Event Logging
“A lot of information is colleted from first boot with Event Viewer”

In Windows 7, and especially in Windows 8, the interface has become more user friendly. The three-pane interface lets you view high-level events in the Overview and Summary section, or dig deeper and examine specific events.

Event Viewer in Windows 8
“The layout of Event Viewer in Windows 8 is considerably cleaner than older versions”

Vista and XP have less refined interfaces and provide a flood of information.

Event Viewer in Windows XP
“Event Viewer in older versions of Windows like XP is a lot harder to navigate”

Some of the errors and events may sound cryptic or critical. Microsoft experts advise users to only worry about errors and events if their computer has a specific problem. More often than not it is unnecessary to worry about resolving every error that is listed.

Given the amount of information presented in Event Viewer, you may not be able to immediately determine which errors relate to your problem. The titles of the errors or events may not be clear, or there may simply be too many to sort through. Event Viewer also displays the date and time that the event happened. It is helpful to think about when your problem started and then to look for errors that occurred in that time range. That will narrow the focus to a handful of errors rather than force you to sift through all of them one by one.

You might find errors and events that you suspect are related to your problem, however the names of the errors in the program may not give you a clear understanding of what happened. Try plugging the errors into the search field of the ReviverSoft Blog or if you have a BSOD, then check out the ReviverSoft Blue Screen Helper. If you don’t have any luck there, try posting a question on ReviverSoft Answers or you can also try your preferred search engine as it’s highly likely that other people have had the same errors and you’ll be able to find information on how the issue was resolved.

Event Viewer is helpful when you’re trying to solve a problem and is a valuable tool to use to gain insight into your computer’s operations. It can help you resolve problems quickly and easily by providing a valid starting point for troubleshooting your own problems.

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