A+: Identifying the Problem: Logs and Services

If the client interview alone doesn’t point you in the right direction, check event logs and services.

Event Logs You can view event logs by running the Computer Management Console (Press {Windows+R} to open the Run prompt and type compmgmt.msc). Event logs are stored in branches of the Event Viewer. Look for Error messages (marked with a white X on a red circle) first, then Warnings (yellow triangle). Frequent errors or warnings that point to the same program or device can indicate a serious problem.


Many Windows features, such as printing, wireless networking, and others, depend upon services. To see if a needed service is running, open the Services and Applications node of the Computer Management Console and click Services. Check the Status column for the service needed. To start a stopped service, right-click it and select Start. Alternatively, you could click the Start button on the tool bar, or double-click the service and click the Start button from the Properties window.

The Properties window of the service also allows you to change the startup type. There are three startup types. Sometimes you might need to set a service to Automatic, so that the service will start automatically every time the computer boots; many services are set this way by default. Or, you might want to set a service to Manual so that you have control over it. In other cases, you might want to set it to Disabled, for example, disabling the insecure Telnet service. This service is disabled by default in Windows Vista and XP, but you never know who or what may have enabled it.