Windows Event Log Files Explained – Log Types You Must Monitor

Windows Event Log Files Explained – Log Types You Must Monitor. There’s no way around Windows event log files if you’re an IT specialist or a system admin. After all, knowing what goes on behind the scenes of Windows based systems and networks is essential to troubleshoot problems quickly and efficiently. Which only increases when you start getting into more complex structures like Active Directory domains.

But digging deep into all available logs can be overwhelming! So to make things easier for yourself, why not take this chance to go over the basics: how types of records work within the event logging system in different versions of Windows?

Let’s explore everything from what exactly happens behind the scenes in Windows log events to common problems with them and some best practices that are worth taking note of – whether you’re a beginner just starting your career as an IT professional or already have years of experience under your belt.

Shall we start the article blog about Windows Event Log Files Explained – Log Types You Must Monitor.

What is a Windows Event Log?

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First of all, event logs are technical documents that keep track of significant events on your device, for example, when a user signs in or when an issue occurs in software. So, Windows keeps an event log of such occurrences. The information included in event logs may be useful for users experiencing problems with Windows or other applications.

Microsoft’s events log isn’t a file format like Linux MySQL. Hence you can’t open it in most code editors. Instead, an event log is a file in Microsoft Windows containing unique data called Windows events.

The Event Log System handles log management, event publication settings, and log activities in Windows. The Windows Event Log system provides a unique API for managing and maintaining event logs inside programs.

Initially released in Windows NT 3.1 in 1993, event tracking in Windows has been around for quite some time. The Application event log, the System event log, and the Security information and event log were preinstalled in this Windows version. Newer operating systems have over a hundred different types of Windows records, and additional event logs may be generated by and integrated with Windows logging by third-party apps.

Is There A Way To Look Into Past Events?

The Windows Event Manager or third party Windows activity monitors may be used to examine the system’s event logs. We advise utilizing our Event Log Manager program to manage your event logs effectively.

What is Windows Event Log Service?

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As the name implies, Windows Event Log is a feature built into Windows that handles event logs and other related tasks. It allows for the recording of events, the retrieval of previously recorded events, the subscription to previously recorded events, the storage of previously recorded events, and the administration of event information.

Exhibiting data in both XHTML and text formats is helpful. The default behavior for this service is always to be running. It is not recommended that you turn off or pause this feature. Deactivating the Windows Event Log function might affect system safety and stability.

What is a Windows Application Event Log?

Activities tracked by the software are stored in the Application log. One use of the service log might be for database software to document a file issue. Designers of the software select whether actions warrant being recorded.

Hence, Microsoft SQL Server, for instance, keeps a record of memory related and backup related events. Since events might be recorded to a standalone executable log from various sources, analysing the log based on the event ID would be a mistake. Never disregard the significance of the event ID in combination with the event source. All programs do not use the Windows application event log.

Internet Explorer and PowerShell are two examples of such programs. These logs are indistinguishable from the standard Windows logs and may be seen in Event Manager and Event Log Finder. It is widespread knowledge that application logs are helpful to the service helpdesk.

What is a Windows System Event Log?

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All in all, Logs created by Windows subsystems may be found in the System log. For instance, if a program or other network device fails to load at start-up, this is documented in the security log. Windows predefines the event categories that various systems will record.

Like an Application log, a system event log contains entries for events that originated from many places. Thus while examining the System log, it is essential to consider both the event ID and the origin. System logs are critical to computer programmers and professionals.

What is a Windows Security Event Log?

Login successes and failures, file and object creation, modification and deletion, and other resource management activities are all recorded in the Security log. What goes into the security log is entirely up to the managers’ discretion.

If you have login monitoring turned on, all efforts to log in will be logged. When crafting an audit plan, proceed with caution. For instance, Windows allows auditing NTFS drives, which means that each connection to an NTFS file is recorded as a separate event.

This may cause hundreds of occurrences every second, filling up the event log and slowing down the system. Keep in mind that only the desired files and directories will be audited by fine-tuning the audit authentication scheme. System administrators, security analysts, and investigators would be lost without access to comprehensive security records.

Windows Event Logs Types for Security

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In general, event logs are categorized into a number of primary groups depending on the defective element. Events are recorded for various system elements, including the system itself, its security, the programs it hosts, and more. Some apps have a particular category for recording events rather than the standard Programs class.

1. Security Log:

These logs keep track of activities that may compromise security, such as failed login sessions or removing important files. Administrators choose the activity to record in the security log based on their audit policies. Deleted files, unauthorized access, and incorrect logouts are examples.

2. Application Log:

Any action taken by an application is recorded in this log. This function is hardwired into the program and was decided upon before development began. For example, if the user encounters a problem when launching the app, the information will be logged in the application log.

3. File Replication Service Log:

An event log keeps track of everything that happens during remote access deployment. This log is restricted to network elements exclusively.

4. System Log:

The system software keeps a record of what happens in this kind. For instance, if a disk fails to boot up, such information will be stored in the System Logs.

5. DNS Server Log:

This log documents actions taken by the DNS server and name processing. This log is exclusively accessible by DNS servers.

6. Directory Service Log:

Activity logs are used to record instances of AD. This log is only accessible by DNS servers.

Up next we have Windows Event Logs use cases.

Applications/Use Cases of Windows Event Logs

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Account Utilization

Many people will access your server network. You may monitor for suspicious activity on your account and your virtual machine using these event kinds and IDs. Using Windows Virtual Desktop, unauthorized users may make changes to restricted systems. When alternative options, such as Windows Admin Console, etc., are available, clients shouldn’t bother signing in to your server through Remote Connection.

Domain Controller accounts with elevated privileges, like the domain admins and corporate controllers, need specific monitoring. In addition, you need to be certain that unauthorized users aren’t being added or removed from these categories in your system.

There should be a system in place to keep track of account bans. Brute force attacks are a common indicator of bad intent. It’s possible that these evil guys are attempting to predict a user’s password.

Limiting Access to Certain Programs

You need to have a set of authorized services and software. You should consider suspecting anything that doesn’t present on your list. As a result, the newest versions of Windows have two distinct mechanisms for managing programs:

These methods may function alone or in concert with one another. Device Guard is often regarded as the most complex to set up but also the safest. Due to this, it may be preferred by administrators over AppLocker. If you can compromise the Windows NT Kernel, you can easily get around AppLocker. When compared to other methods of protecting the Windows NT Kernel versus vulnerabilities, Device Guard is far superior.

Group Policy Failures

Your company relies on Group Policy Objects to set and implement its security standards. As a result, your system is at risk if the group rules you’ve established aren’t strictly adhered to. If this happens, it might be because an attacker is trying to block your system from implementing its rules so that they can replace them with their own.

It might, however, be a completely harmless event. It’s possible, for instance, that problems are occurring with the group policy server. No matter what, it is smart to keep an eye on your network regulations in case they reveal suspicious activity.

Randomized Approved Events and Audit Logs

If you find that any of your activities have mysteriously vanished, malicious actors have probably gained access to systems or devices. On the other hand, it’s possible that the bad people are attempting to cover up their nefarious actions by erasing occurrences. It’s worth noting right now that, under usual conditions, files are not deleted.

Upgrades to Windows

Similar to the client OS, Windows Server has to be kept up-to-date. These upgrades are necessary since they frequently include critical bug fixes for the system. In the event that Windows updates perform poorly to install, your machine may become susceptible.

Therefore, you must examine the providers of the System network’s Window Update Client and Maintenance event. You can also construct a controlled view based on these event triggers if you choose. First, however, you should check that there aren’t any warnings or informational events that point to failed Windows Updates.

Software and Service Setup

It’s also possible that your server often receives new versions of its operating system, applications, and services. Yet, new setups happen on a daily basis. This is dependent on the server’s lifespan and level of activity.

Installs, upgrades, and upgrades might be requested every day for newly commissioned systems. However, harmful behaviour conducted by a malicious attacker may be indicated by unusual software and provider events.

Internet Protection Service for Windows

Windows Firewall is turned on by standard. With this security measure in place, you can be certain that your servers and customers are safe inside your own private network.

As a result, it’s as critical to your network’s security as any firewalls you may have. This means you need to make sure your firewall is operational and verify whether or not any changes or updates have been made to the condition or the regulations.

Interruption in Application

Most software eventually malfunctions. On the other hand, they might be a sign of a malicious assault in which a hacker attempts to cause the system to shut down without user intervention. The Windows Error Notification, Application Failure, and Pause events may all be found in the event logs, so users or their network manager should check them often.

Thank you for reading Windows Event Log Files Explained – Log Types You Must Monitor. We shall conclude this article blog. 

Windows Event Log Files Explained - Log Types You Must Monitor Conclusion

In addition to the  popular log types, there are a plenty of other business systems and security technologies that generate logs. There might be security implications for all of them. However, it is crucial to classify logs for analytical tracking since many businesses have minimal security personnel.

Events like alerts, faults, and malfunctions should be of particular importance. That there is an issue is suggested by all of these factors. In extreme cases, they might indicate an assault or data breach.

You have to have a plan for analysing and auditing events in your event logs, including how to decide which events to set, how important they are, when to get notifications, and how those notifications should be sent.

To read more about our monitoring section, please navigate to our blog here. 

Avatar for Farhan Yousuf
Farhan Yousuf

I am a content writer with more than five years of experience in the field. I have written for a variety of industries, and I am highly interested in learning new things. I have a knack for writing engaging copy that captures the reader's attention. In my spare time, I like to read and travel.

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