What is the Purpose of the System Event Log?

Written by Barry Dysert (last updated December 21, 2020)

There are several types of event logs maintained by the Windows operating system. One of these is the System event log. This log file stores record of events written by device drivers. The drivers may be commercial drivers or custom drivers that you've developed yourself. The events written to the System event log can run the gamut from Service Control Manager events to Windows Update Service events to run-time error events.

Like events written to other event logs, some of the important elements written to the System log include the date and time when the event occurred, the event ID, and the event source. You'll also want to note the information stored in the Level column, as that indicates the severity of the event logged. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Partial display of the System event log.

Events can be viewed by the Event Viewer, and by default they are presented in reverse chronological order (i.e., the most recent event is on top). You can, however, sort the events by any of the event columns by clicking the column header.

 This tip (12939) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

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