How to Review Events in Windows XP - dummies

By Dan Gookin

Windows keeps track of event details in log files. Just about anything that goes on in the computer — from a user logging in to programs crashing to routine tasks being scheduled — is noted in a log somewhere. The first place to check for your PC’s recent activities and happenings is the Event Viewer. In Windows XP, obey these steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Open the Administrative Tools icon.

  3. Open the Event Viewer icon.

    Not every event is a nasty one; most are informational, which means that something happened and was noted in the log.

  4. Double-click an event to view its details.

  5. Close the Event Viewer window when you’re done.

Event Categories
Log Type of Events That Are Monitored
Application Third-party programs; anything that’s not Windows
Internet Explorer Problems with Internet Explorer
Security Logon/logoff events, file deletions, and events pertaining to
Setup Events relating to application setup and configuration
System Things that go on in Windows itself, such as start-up events
and device driver failure
Event Types
Type Description
Error Something bad happened, such as a service failed or data was
Failure Audit Something was attempted that didn’t work, such as an
illegal login or an attempt by a non-administrator to access
administrator-level features.
Information Something happened successfully.
Success Audit Something was attempted and worked out, such as logging in to a
remote PC; the opposite of a failure audit.
Warning An event occurred that is worth noting but isn’t
specifically an error.