Deleting Events in Your Event Logs

by Barry Dysert
(last updated June 6, 2016)

Event logs do take up some space on your hard drive, but they don't grow forever. By default, every event log has a retention policy that indicates old events are to be overwritten by new events whenever the event log gets full. For various reasons, though, you may want to delete events from your event logs. Unfortunately, you cannot delete specific events. You can, however, clear the entire log.

If you want to totally clear a log so that it's empty, start the Event Viewer by using the search capabilities of Windows to look for "Event Viewer" (without the quote marks). Once the program is started, use the left pane to navigate to the log you want to clear. Right-click on the log and select Properties. Windows displays the Log Properties dialog box. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Viewing an event log's properties.

By clicking the Clear Log button in the lower-right corner, you can totally clear that event log.

Even though you can't delete specific events from a log, it may be useful to create a custom view so that you're only looking at the events of interest instead of everything. To create a custom view, click the log for which you want to create the view, then on the right pane, click the "Create Custom View" link. Unless/until Microsoft gives us the ability to delete specific events, views are probably as close as we're going to get.

 This tip (11722) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 30 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer.  He is currently a senior software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. ...

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