To determine what happened, review the event log which is WIndows' list of recent events, errors, and problems. It may not solve the problem, but it will lead you in the right direction.
- [Instructor] To discover what's happening, or has happened in your computer, you can review the Windows Event Log. The Event Log, is a chronicle of the computer's activities. It may reveal the source of trouble, confirm your suspicions, or point you in the right direction, when you just don't know what the heck is going on. To peruse those events, run the Event Viewer program. Tap the Windows key, and type Event, Space, Viewer. And there it is. Choose the program from the top of the list.
The Event Viewer window is organized in a hierarchical structure, shown on the left side of the window. The center pane shows details. The right pane lists actions. I recommend that you maximize the window, as shown here, to take in all the information. Choose a log file to view. For example, if you just experienced something odd, or if the computer has experienced something odd, say a program has crashed, or you saw an error message about the PC's hardware, you choose, the System Log. Open Windows logs, and choose System.
It may take a few moments for the log to populate, so be patient. When the log appears, you may have to adjust the panes, so that you can see the detailed information. Log entries are sorted by date, and time. The source, indicates which program, or process, generated the message. These are informational items. A yellow triangle indicates a warning. A red circle, shows an error. To glean more information, select an item. The bottom part of the window lists relevant information.
In this case, it looks like permissions weren't granted for something to run, which for some reason, generated an error. The key point to this description, is to see if the message is relevant to the issue you're experiencing. It may confirm what's to blame, such as a failing network adapter, or perhaps, a corrupt file. Now, don't be alarmed at the warnings and errors. A lot of them are routine, and Windows recovers. Also, not every incident is flagged by an error. For example, recently, my PC reset in the middle of a game.
When I checked the logs, I found nothing, other than an unexpected shutdown message, which was recorded after the fact. I can only assume that the PC got too hot, or perhaps the game software simply crashed. That happens. And it didn't happen again, so the cause is anyone's guess. The custom views part of the Event Viewer, contains specific information, based on filters. You can create your own filter, to specifically monitor certain items in the logs. For example, if you want to monitor all hardware errors in one place, choose create custom view from the list of actions.
Choose only the more serious error types. Select the hardware Events Log. The rest of the settings look okay. And you can further customize the view later. Click okay. Type a name for the new view, such as Hardware Errors. Click okay. Here is the custom view as empty. Later, I can come back and check the view, which pulls the filtered information, from all of the logs. When reviewing the logs, keep in mind that the warning, errors, and other entries, aren't necessarily a signal of impending doom in your computer.
If you view the logs frequently, you'll find a lot of items flagged, that haven't interrupted your work, or altered the computer's behavior. The bottom line, is not to be alarmed, or overreact to the warnings and errors. In most cases, Windows deals with a problem, so you don't need to do anything. But when you're having trouble, checking the Event Viewer can help you pinpoint the source, or at least better understand what's going on.
- Diagnosing the causes of PC issues
- Troubleshooting hardware and software
- Performing startup and system restore steps
- Accessing the Task Manager
- Using the Registry Editor
- Fixing Windows
- Maintaining storage drives
- Restoring network connectivity