Dealing with a 'full' security log

If you have ever received a 'full' security log error message then you need to read this tip to remedy the problem from here on in.

This tip was submitted to SearchWinSystems.com by contributor John Gormly. Please let other users know how useful it is by rating it below.


When you use an account that is not a member of the Administrators group to try to log onto a computer that is running Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or Microsoft Windows XP, you may receive the following message in the "Log On to Windows" window: "The security log on this system is full. Only administrators can log on to fix the problem."

You can log on to the computer by using an account that is a member of the Administrators group, such as the built-in Administrator account.

However, if you log on to the computer remotely, you may receive the following message: "The security log on this system is full."

This issue occurs because no more events can be logged to the Security log on the computer. When events cannot be written to the Security log, only accounts that are members of the Administrators group can log on to the computer.

Once you have an account that is a member of the Administrators group, follow these five steps to specify that Security log events can be overwritten:

  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Event Viewer.
  2. Right-click Security, and then click Properties.
  3. In the Log Size area of the Security Properties window, click the "Overwrite events as needed" option under when maximum log size is reached.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Close Event Viewer.


John Gormly has worked for a leading public accounting firm for the last 15 years. He is a Regional Technology Director responsible for all aspects of technology including PC support, LAN/WAN infrastructure, telecommunications, project management, training, IT deployments and personnel management.
This was first published in January 2005

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