Fixing "The Event Log is Full" Error on Windows XP

By Lowell Heddings on December 9th, 2008

I was working on a project for work when I suddenly got the strangest error: “The Event Log is Full”. Seriously? What I didn’t remember is that Windows XP doesn’t automatically overwrite events less than 7 days old from the event log, so when it’s full, most applications that try and write to the event log are going to break.

You can easily fix this problem by changing the event logs to overwrite old events regardless of the date, or just increase the size that the log is allowed to grow to.

Note: If your event log is so huge within 7 days that you are getting this error, there’s probably something seriously wrong. You should inspect your event log to understand what is causing all of the errors… more on that in a future article.

Increasing Event Log Size

Open up Event Viewer by typing in eventvwr into the Start \ Run box, or you can find it under Administrative tools section of Control Panel.

You’ll notice over on the right-hand side of the window that the current size of my Application and System Event Logs are 512 KB…

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Now you can right-click on one of the Event Logs in the list, and choose Properties from the menu.

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In this dialog you can do a number of things… you could clear the log, increase the size, or just set the system to overwrite events as needed.

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I chose to increase the maximum size of the event log, and then also to overwrite events as needed. 

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For those of you using Windows Vista, you’ll notice that the default settings in Vista are to overwrite as needed, and the maximum size is way bigger. Guess my setting choices make sense then…

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Again, if your Application or System event logs are growing so gigantic that you are getting this error, you should really look into the root cause by carefully examining the entries in the logs.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/9/08
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