How to Get Back Windows XP’s Fast Event Viewer in Windows 7

One of the first things I noticed about Windows Vista and immediatelay disliked was the new event viewer. The user interface is too cluttered, but more importantly, it is just so very sloooow. It is so slow that I think twice before starting it. And when I do, I almost feel physical pain watching it initialize. Unfortunately Windows 7 brought no improvements in this area. Just when I thought I was doomed to use this fattened-up Garfield version of an event viewer for years to come, Twitter buddy Kimmo Jernstrom described how to get back the good old “classic” event viewer on modern versions of Windows.

Classic Event Viewer Still Included

The good news is that all modern versions of Windows (Windows 7, Server 2008 [R2] and Vista) still have the good old superfast lean-and-mean event viewer from the days of XP and Server 2003. It is just not enabled by default. But that is easy to change: open an elevated (!) command prompt and type the following to register the classic event viewer MMC plugin sitting uselessly on your hard disk:

regsvr32 els.dll

Now you can add classic event viewer to any MMC console like this: start mmc.exe and press CTRL+M. In the dialog “Add or Remove Snap-ins” select the snapi-in “Classic Event Viewer” and add it to your console:

That’s it! Your console should now look similar to this:


There are several alternatives to Microsoft’s event viewer implementations. Here is a list of graphical tools I have found, both free and commercial (please note that this is just a listing, not an endorsement):

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3 Responses to How to Get Back Windows XP’s Fast Event Viewer in Windows 7

  1. Les June 25, 2012 at 04:39 #

    *Thank* you!

  2. Steve January 6, 2014 at 22:04 #

    AGREED, 100% thank you. I don’t know what ms is thinking. They have this great, high performance XP style system but default to the slow, dead dog win 7 event viewer. Someone needs to be fired asap.

  3. j7n August 19, 2016 at 01:31 #

    I have the Source column blank on two different systems, and some events do not have associated text (The description for eventid X cannot be found…) only in the “classic” console. NirSoft MyEventViewer is my preferred choice, since it works the same on any system, shows all data and is small and fast. All views of the MMC were much more responsive in Windows 2000/XP/2003, not just the event log. I’m not sure of the underlying cause. I heard it’s .NET, but that could be wrong.

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