If you have more than one Windows Server then I recommend this free utility
from SolarWinds. It will help you to
track down errors in the Windows system, security and application logs. My killer use for the
Event Log Consolidator (ELC) is for practising a neglected
troubleshooting technique, namely using a second server for comparison.
Give the ELC a try it's free.
Whenever there is a problem with a Windows server I like to start by examining errors in the system and application event logs.
If the problem is not self-evident, then one my favorite techniques for
finding the root cause is to compare the sickly
server with a similar one which is working normally. In these circumstances,
the ability to view side-by-side settings in the this free event log
viewer saves time in
pin-pointing the problem.
Most of the times when I review any computer logs I need a filter to narrow the
search, with the ELC I
like to filter both on time (see Last Hour box) and the event ID (see
All Logs box). At first the results for event ID are disappointing - not enough
filters, but fortunately SolarWinds have incorporated the ability to
create your own filters, and this is what speeds up research. Indeed,
custom filters are what turn an average utility into a highly efficient
Tip: Seek out the Settings menu: Custom Filters tab.
Appriase the Event Alerts & Silencing
In addition to creating your own filters ELC offers a tab for
suppressing Event IDs appearing in the consolidator. You could
also use Event Alerts & Silencing in a positive manner by creating
alerts for events under investigation.
You do need a Windows Server to install the ELC. It won't
work on a client such as Windows 7, alternatively, if you want to
monitor Linux servers than download a 30 trial of SolarWinds
Extract the ELC zip file, and then double-click
Follow the prompts and install your Event Log Consolidator in: C:\Program Files (x86)\SolarWinds\SolarWindsEventLogConsolidator\
I found the only tricky part of the setup was remembering to
supply the username in the format of: YourDom\AdminTypeUser, for
Think back to that name 'Consolidator'? Remember that it
means that you can add up to 5 servers.
When I told my old friend 'Mad' Mick about the ELC he reminded me of
a tale from his time working at a well-known pharmaceutical company.
In common with most new network managers, Mick's boss wanted to stamp his
mark on the IT department. His idea of cutting down the errors on
the servers was sound, but his method caused a revolt amongst the
workforce. The carrot for the team was a $100 bonus per
the stick was they lost $1 for each error in the system event log.
Despite Mick and his co-workers best effort,
when the new manager inspected the logs at the end of the month he found 335 errors. Worse still, the
payroll was programmed to pay them basic wage + server bonus (+$100), but
less the errors (-$335). Hence the techies' revolt at an instant
pay cut of $225!
I am sure that you haven't got the boss from hell, and you will be
impressed with the way SolarWinds ELC displays the Windows server logs.
Thwack User Forum for ELC
My review of SolarWinds Event Log Consolidator would not be complete
with a word about the Thwack forum. I discovered that if you
right-click on the SolarWinds ELC icon a shortcut menu appears,
from which you can select a hyper-link directly to the
Thwack user forum. This is a good place to ask questions, and also
see how other techies are using ELC.
If you want to log more than 5 Windows servers, or you wish to monitor Linux
servers then take a free trial of SolarWinds Log & Event Manager.
I recommend that you use the little brother Event Log Consolidator for a
week and then download LEM to maximize your time with its free
There are three aspects to LEM: a) Keeping your network running
smoothly b) Computer security c) Compliance to industry standards.
The two extra features of Log & Event Manager are analysis of router
logs, and the ability to take corrective action based on events
registered in the logs.
SolarWinds Event Log Consolidator
The built-in Windows event logs contain all the information you
need to understand what is happening, and what is going wrong on your
servers. The only problem is there is so much information, and
this is multiplied if you have 4 or 5 servers. The solution is
install this free utility; the keyword is Consolidator, which
enables side-by-side analysis of the event logs.
Here are my reviews of tried and tested applications to monitor your network. Most of these
utilities are free, while the others
are the full program, but time restricted.
SolarWinds are a great source of free specialist tools. A constant
theme is a free gadget for testing, backed-up with a comprehensive suite for
programs for larger organizations. I like the way that big companies
subsidise their smaller brethren... until they become large companies!