How to Debug Your System: Use the Event Viewer

Posted September 13, 2004 by MickeyMouse in Windows

The Event Viewer will give you insight into the health of your system. If your system is not functioning properly, the Event Viewer can be a good place to start when trying to locate the problem.


When a system is not functioning correctly, users often do not know what to do. Spyware and viruses are the most common causes. However, driver, memory, and other errors are typically missed. Often these missed errors are what causes a system to slow down over time. The Event Viewer can help troubleshoot problems such as these.

The Event Viewer also allows the user to Google for an answer to a problem more easily and specifically. Googling for “icons flash” or “explorer crash” is too broad to be useful. However, Googling for the event error number when these events occur can be very helpful.

Opening the Event Viewer:

    1. Open the Control Panel.
    2. Click Administrative Tools (classic view).
    3. Click Computer Management.
    4. Click Event Viewer.
    5. Click the application, security, and system logs and explore each error. The errors are timed, so look at the one timed closest to your worrisome event.

Icons disappearing and reappearing or Explorer randomly hanging are errors that users typically encounter. When these happen, go the the Event Viewer and see why they occurred.

If you do not understand the error, look it up at the Microsoft’s Events and Errors Message Center.

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