Processing Event Logs in PowerShell

PowerShell Team

PowerShell V2 ships with two sets of cmdlets for processing event logs, one is *-EventLog set and other is Get-WinEvent.

PS > gcm *EventLog -CommandType cmdlet

CommandType     Name                 Definition

———–              —-                                       ———-

Cmdlet                 Clear-EventLog                 Clear-EventLog [-LogName] <String[]> [[-Computer…

Cmdlet                 Get-EventLog                   Get-EventLog [-LogName] <String> [[-InstanceId] …

Cmdlet                 Limit-EventLog                 Limit-EventLog [-LogName] <String[]> [-ComputerN…

Cmdlet                 New-EventLog                 New-EventLog [-LogName] <String> [-Source] <Stri…

Cmdlet                 Remove-EventLog          Remove-EventLog [-LogName] <String[]> [[-Compute…

Cmdlet                 Show-EventLog               Show-EventLog [[-ComputerName] <String>] [-Verbo…

Cmdlet                 Write-EventLog               Write-EventLog [-LogName] <String> [-Source] <St…


Reading Events:

As you can see there are two cmdlets to GET events from event logs , Get-WinEvent and Get-EventLog. Having two cmdlets to do the same thing seems to be counter-intuitive and I will explain the difference between the two to remove the confusion. 


Windows Event Logs (Crimson)

Classical event logs

Etl,evt, evtx files



Yes-Only on Vista and above






As we can see, Get-WinEvent can handle a lot more that Get-EventLog does. If you are on Vista and above, Get-WinEvent is the recommend way to read the event logs, use Get-EventLog on XP and Win2k3. A quick check on the number of logs that these cmdlets can read (on Win7 RC)

PS > (Get-WinEvent -ListLog *).Count


PS > (Get-EventLog -List ).Count


 Writing Events:

Write-EventLog will write to a classical event log. You will first register the event source for the eventlog (needs elevation)

PS > new-eventlog -LogName Application -Source MySource

PS > write-eventLog -LogName Application -Message “Hello Eventing World” -Source MySource -id 1234

PS > get-eventlog -LogName Application -Source MySource


   Index                 Time                     EntryType            Source             InstanceID               Message

   —–                    —-                        ———                 ——                 ———-                   ——-

    5153                 May 20 22:01  Information           MySource    1234                             Hello Eventing World


PS > Get-Winevent -ProviderName MySource


TimeCreated                                     ProviderName                                   Id          Message

———–                                            ————                                                      ——-

5/20/2009 10:01:52 PM                 MySource3                                         1234     Hello Eventing World


You can also use new-eventlog to create custom event log.

PS >new-eventlog -LogName “MyLog” -Source “MySource”

 Caution: Remove-EventLog

If you want to remove event log created by new-eventlog, Remove-EventLog will do that. However you should be extremely cautious in using this cmdlet as it can also delete event logs owned by operation system like Application and System. Although elevation is required to run this cmdlet but beware that you can’t undo the removal.


Further Reading about *-EventLog


Hope it helps,

Osama Sajid, Program Manager



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