How to delete corrupt Event Viewer Log files

This article describes a method to rename or move these files for troubleshooting purposes.

Applies to:   Windows Server 2012 R2
Original KB number:   172156


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 select 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 can't be stopped because it's required by other services, thus the files are always open.



This 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, see How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

NTFS Partition

  1. Select the Start button, point to Settings, select Control Panel, and then double-click Services.

  2. Select the EventLog service and select Startup. Change the Startup Type to Disabled, and then select OK. If you're unable to sign in the computer but can access the registry remotely, you can change the Startup value in the following registry key to 0x4: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Eventlog

  3. Restart Windows.


    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: %SystemRoot%\System32\Config

  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.

FAT partition (Alternative method)

  1. Boot to an MS-DOS prompt using a DOS bootable disk.

  2. Rename or move the corrupt *.evt file from the following location: %SystemRoot%\System32\Config

  3. Remove the disk and restart Windows.

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