Changing How Event Log Overruns are Handled

by Barry Dysert
(last updated August 29, 2016)

The system's event logs don't grow forever. By default, when they hit their maximum allowable size Windows deletes the oldest log file entries and continue to write new ones. You can change this default behavior if you wish.

For example, let's say that I want to change how the System event log's overruns are handled. I can do so by following these steps:

  1. Display the Event Viewer. (The easiest way to do this is to use the search capabilities of Windows to look for "Event Viewer", without the quote marks.)
  2. In the Navigation pane (left side of the Event Viewer), expand the Windows Logs node and click on System.
  3. In the right pane, click Properties. Windows displays the Log Properties dialog box for the System event log. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. Changing how log overruns are handled.

  5. Using the three radio buttons at the bottom of the dialog box, specify what you want to happen when the maximum log file size is reached.
  6. Click OK.

The three options for handling large log files may need a bit of explaining. Windows provides these options:

  • Overwrite Events as Needed. This is the default behavior, i.e., the oldest events are deleted to make room for the new events.
  • Archive the Log when Full. The event log is automatically archived and a new one is created. No events are lost. This is a good choice if you think that there may be some events occur on your system which result in a rapid escalation in the number of events being logged.
  • Do Not Overwrite Events. The event log is cleared and new ones get written to the empty log file. It is unclear how this choice could ever be desirable, but there you have it.

 This tip (12749) 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. ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Using Your Own Picture as an Account Picture

You can easily customize your computing experience by using your own picture as your account picture. This tip explains how.

Discover More

Displaying All the Files in a Folder using the Command Prompt

Displaying all the files a folder contains is an easy task in Windows. One way you can display the files is using command ...

Discover More

Using Process Monitor

A very useful tool in diagnosing what is going on with processes and/or files is the Process Monitor tool from Sysinternals. ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Deleting Events in Your Event Logs

You don't need to worry about event logs filling up your disk, but you still may want to clean them out eventually. This tip ...

Discover More

What is the Purpose of the Security Event Log?

The Security event log captures success and failure audit events when auditing is turned on. This tip explains a bit more ...

Discover More

Filtering Event Logs

Filtering a log in the Event Viewer allows you quick access to those events you're interested in watching over time. This tip ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 1?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.