How to Use Event Viewer in Windows 10

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

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

How to Open Windows 10 Event Viewer

The easiest way to access the Windows 10 Event Viewer 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, to see system logs go to Windows Logs > System.

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

The Level column will tell you what kind of log it is. The most common type is Information, where an Application or service is just logging an event. Some will be listed as Warning or Error and denote that something has gone awry. These labels aren'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 afterward 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 and 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

How to Find Specific Windows 10 Logs

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

  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, 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 many 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 helps you filter by date or time the tool created it. Event Level lets you highlight the type of log event you're looking for, such as Warning, Error, or Information. And the Source enables you to 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 want to start from scratch and remove all existing logs to 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 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. Pick a save location and a name and select Save. Alternatively, if you want to remove them entirely 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.

Was this page helpful?