What's My Computer Been Doing?

Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to tell if someone else has been using your computer? For example, to find out the last time it was booted?

Windows XP has an Event Viewer to help you keep track of what your computer is doing. An event is anything noteworthy that happens to your computer. To bring up the Event Viewer, go to Start/Run and type the following:

eventvwr.msc

Events are stored in three log files: Application, Security and System. These logs can be reviewed and archived.

For our purposes, we want the System log. Click on "System" in the left-hand column for a list of events. Look for a date and time when you weren't home and your computer should have been off.

By double-clicking the event, you can get more details on what the event was. Just click on the link that says, "For more information." You can also use this log to see how long someone was on the computer. Just look at the time the computer was turned on and off for that day. Oh look, Junior was on for six hours! No wonder the yard work wasn't done.

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