Windows 7 : Detecting and Resolving Computer Problems (part 2) - Tracking Errors in the Event Logs

2/21/2011 11:01:08 AM

2. Tracking Errors in the Event Logs

Windows 7 stores errors generated by processes, services, applications, and hardware devices in logfiles. Two general types of logfiles are used:

Windows logs

Logs that the operating system uses to record general system events related to applications, security, setup, and system components

Applications and services logs

Logs that specific applications or services use to record application-specific or service-specific events

You can access event logs using the Event Viewer node in Computer Management. To open Computer Management, click the Start button, right-click on the Computer icon, and then select Manage from the context menu provided.

You can access the event logs by completing the following steps:

  1. Open Computer Management. You are connected to the local computer by default. If you want to view logs on a remote computer, right-click the Computer Management entry in the console tree (left pane) and then select Connect to Another Computer. Then, in the Select Computer dialog box, enter the name of the computer that you want to access and click OK.

  2. Expand the Event Viewer node and then expand the Windows Logs node, the Applications and Services Logs node, or both to view the available logs.

  3. Select the log that you want to view.

As shown in Figure 2, Windows 7 records entries in log files according to the activity date, time, and warning level. The various warning levels you’ll see are as follows:


An informational event, which is generally related to a successful action

Audit Success

An event related to the successful execution of an action

Audit Failure

An event related to the failed execution of an action


A warning about a component, service, or application that can be useful in resolving current problems or preventing future problems


A noncritical error that you should examine


An error for which there is no recovery

Figure 2. Tracking and reviewing errors and warnings in the event logs

In addition to the date, time, and warning level, the summary and detailed event entries provide the following information:


The application, service, or component that logged the event

Event ID

An identifier for the specific event

Task Category

The category of the event, which is sometimes used to further describe the related action


The user account or system process that was logged on when the event occurred or that caused the event to occur


The name of the computer where the event occurred


A text description of the event followed by any related data or error output

You can examine events by double-clicking the entry to view the detailed event description. Use the information provided to help you resolve problems. To learn more about the error or warning, click the link provided in the error description or search the Microsoft Knowledge Base for the event ID or part of the event description.

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