September 27

Windows: How to delete corrupt event viewer log files

When you launch Windows Event Viewer, one of the following error messages may occur if one of the *.evt files is corrupt:

The handle is invalid
Dr. Watson Services.exe
Exception: Access Violation (0xc0000005), Address: 0x76e073d4

When you click OK or cancel on the Dr. Watson error message, you may also receive the following error message:

Event Viewer
Remote Procedure Call failed

The services.exe process may consume a high percentage of CPU utilization.


The Event Viewer Log files (Sysevent.evt, Appevent.evt, Secevent.evt) are always in use by the system, preventing the files from being deleted or renamed. The EventLog service cannot be stopped because it is required by other services, thus the files are always open. This article describes a method to rename or move these files for troubleshooting purposes.


ImportantThis section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

322756  How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
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NTFS Partition

  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Services.
  2. Select the EventLog service and click Startup. Change the Startup Type to Disabled, and then click OK. If you are unable to log on to the computer but can access the registry remotely, you can change the Startup value in the following registry key to 0x4:
  3. Restart Windows.NOTE: When the system starts up, several services may fail; a message informing the user to use Event Viewer to review errors may appear.
  4. Rename or move the corrupt *.evt file from the following location:
  5. In Control Panel Services tool, re-enable the EventLog service by setting it back to the default of Automatic startup, or change the registry Startup value back to 0x2.
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FAT partition (Alternative method)

  1. Boot to a MS-DOS prompt using a DOS bootable disk.
  2. Rename or move the corrupt *.evt file from the following location:
  3. Remove the disk and restart Windows.

When Windows is restarted, the Event Log file will be recreated.

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Posted September 27, 2011 by Timothy Conrad in category "Windows

About the Author

If I were to describe myself with one word it would be, creative. I am interested in almost everything which keeps me rather busy. Here you will find some of my technical musings. Securely email me using - PGP: 4CB8 91EB 0C0A A530 3BE9 6D76 B076 96F1 6135 0A1B