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If you’re troubleshooting a problem in Windows XP, you can
turn to the Event Viewer to gather information about hardware, software, and
system problems. By default, Event Viewer provides you with three kinds of
logs: Application, Security, and System. In each of these logs, you’ll find any
of the following types of events: Error, Warning, Information, Success Audit,
and Failure Audit.

When you open an event, you’ll see a dialog box that
contains basic information about the event such as the date and time on which
it occurred, the source of the problem, and the Event ID. In the description
field, you’ll find additional information about the event. Unfortunately, the
Event ID descriptions are often very cryptic–especially those related to the
Error and Warning events.

One way to get more detailed information about the Event ID
is to click the link in the description field that goes to the Microsoft Online
Help and Support Center. Many users are wary about using this link because
information is reported across the Internet to Microsoft. However, there’s
nothing to fear.

When you click the Microsoft Online Help and Support Center
link, you’ll see a dialog box that shows you exactly what information will be
sent and prompts you to confirm. Once you click the OK button, the information
is sent to a database and a special Help And Support
Center window appears that contains more detailed information about the Event
ID. In many cases, you’ll find links to related information in the Knowledge

If you still don’t like the idea of reporting to a Microsoft
database, once you’re armed with the Source and the Event ID, you can get the
same information that you would if you clicked the Microsoft Online Help and
Support Center link by visiting the
Events and Errors Message Center on the Microsoft TechNet Web site