How to Use Event Viewer in Windows 10

Troublesome app? Here's a great way to find out what's wrong

What to Know

  • Search for Event Viewer in Windows search to find your Windows 10 event logs.
  • You can use it to check application activity and look for errors or warnings.
  • Robust filters help you find specific logs if you need to check something.

In this guide we'll walk you through using the Windows 10 Event Viewer to help troubleshoot problems with applications, or just to see what your PC has been doing most recently.

How to Open Windows 10 Event Viewer

To access the Windows 10 Event Viewer, the easiest way is to search for it. Type Event Viewer in the Windows 10 search box and select the relevant result. It will open a new window for the Event Viewer, giving you access to its range of options and Windows 10 event logs.

Windows 10 Search for Event Viewer

Using Windows Event Viewer To Read Logs

If you want to see what an application has been doing, their specific Windows 10 event logs give you a whole host of information to work from. To access them, select Windows Logs > Application in the left-hand panel.

Windows 10 Event Viewer.

Alternatively, if you want to view Security logs, select Windows Logs > Security, or system logs, Windows Logs > System.

The central window will then show all the recent logs that Windows itself and any third-party applications have logged. You'll be able to find out which application each log corresponds to, by looking in the Source column.

The Level column will tell you what kind of log it is. Most will be listed as Information where an Application or service is just logging an event in its normal service. Some will be listed as Warning
or Error and denote that something has gone awry. This isn't typically catastrophic, with some merely highlighting that a service couldn't contact a server – even if it could on the next try – or an application crashed – even if you opened it again afterwards and it worked just fine.

The Date and Time column lets you know exactly when an event took place, helping you pin down what it might have been. Additionally, if you select an event, you can get more information in the bottom pane about what it was, as well as additional notes to help explain further.

Event Details in Event Viewer in Windows 10.

If you require more information, take note of the Event ID. Searching for it online can yield you further information that could be actionable if you think the event suggests a problem needs
solving.

How to Find Specific Windows 10 Logs

If you're looking for a log in particular, the Windows Event Viewer has a robust search tool that you can take advantage of.

  1. Right click or tap and hold on a particular log category and select Find.

    Event Viewer Pop Up Menu in Windows 10.
  2. In the Find box, simply search for whatever it is you're looking for. It can be an
    application name, event ID, event level, or anything else besides.

    Event Viewer Find Tool in Windows 10.

How to Use the Filter System to Find Windows 10 Logs

For a more detailed search function that gives you a lot more parameters, you want to use the Filter system instead.

  1. Right click, or tap and hold on a particular log category (Application, Security, Setup, System, or Forwarded Events) and select Filter Current Log. Alternatively, select Filter Current Log from the right-hand Actions pane.

    Event Viewer Pop Up menu in Windows 10.
  2. Select the Filter tab if it isn't already.

    Event Viewer Filter Menu in Windows 10.
  3. Use the available options to fine tune your event viewer logs. The Logged menu will help you filter by date or time the log was created; Event Level lets you highlight the type of log event you're looking for, such as Warning, Error, or Information; the Source lets you filter by specific application or service, and you can also filter by Keyword, specific Users, or Computer devices.

How to Clear Your Windows 10 Event Log History

If you wat to start from scratch and remove all existing logs so that you can focus on the new ones that come in, then clearing your Event Viewer logs is a great way to do it.

  1. Right click or tap and hold on the event group that you want to clear in the left-hand pane.

  2. Select Clear Log.

    Event Viewer Pop Up Menu in Windows 10.
  3. To make a backup of your existing logs before you remove them, select Save and Clear. You'll be asked to choose a save location; Pick one, and a name for your logs, and select Save. Alternatively, if you just want to remove them completely without any form of backup, select Clear.

    Clear Event Viewer Logs Menu
  4. Repeat as necessary for any other categories of logs that you wish to clear.

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