For many Windows 10 users, the relatively rapid changes to the OS have been a frustrating experience — especially with major upgrades such as the Anniversary Update.
Fortunately Win10 has extensive administrative tools that are virtually unchanged from Win7 and Win8.1.
Some of these tools are too deep for the average Windows user. But others such as Event Viewer are both excellent and approachable. Here’s a quick review of how to use the app.
Also, unless you’re a full-time Windows tech, it can be difficult to recall needed diagnostics tools when the unexpected crops up. At the bottom of this column, look for a summary of past Windows Secrets articles on built-in and downloadable troubleshooting tools from Microsoft.
Digging into Windows’ logs of significant events
Event Viewer is used to examine Windows’ many event logs — it doesn’t actually create the logs, it’s simply used to view and filter log information. (System logs are typically stored in the C:\Windows\System32\winevt folder. If you click one of the logs directly, Event Viewer opens.)
It’s important to note that logged events have different levels of “significance”; In truth, many of the items marked “Warning” or “Error” can be and should be ignored — they are minor system errors that don’t really affect the function of Windows or your apps. Of course, there can be logged events that are critical and reflect some sort of obviously bad System behavior. In other words, you’ve turned to Event Viewer because something has clearly broken.
Ironically, Event Viewer’s propensity to log minor problems has involved the tool in tech-support scams. As we’ve reported before, nefarious “support techs” have used Event Viewer to trick PC users into unneeded repairs. The “tech” has the user open the tool; he then claims that the many warnings and errors listed (ones that almost always show up in Event Viewer) are “proof” that the system is in dire need of fixing.