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MS Access

Posted Mar 1, 2004

MS Access for the Business Environment: Analyze and Report from the Windows Event Log, Part I

By William Pearson

About the Series ...

This article continues the series, MS Access for the Business Environment. The primary focus of this series is an examination of business uses for the MS Access relational database management system. The series is designed to provide guidance in the practical application of data and database concepts to meet specific needs in the business world. The majority of the procedures I demonstrate in this article and going forward will be undertaken within MS Access 2003, although most of the concepts that we explore in the series will apply to earlier versions of MS Access, as well.

NOTE: To derive the most benefit from this article, obtain Elogdmp.exe, from the Windows 2000 Resource Kit (it works for Server or Professional). The file is also available from other sources, the CD can be ordered from Microsoft, and many files can be downloaded from the Microsoft (and other) ftp sites. We will discuss the details of accessing the utility within the article at the appropriate time.

For more information on the series, as well as the hardware / software requirements to prepare for the tutorials we will undertake, please see Tutorial 1: Create a Calculated Field with the Expression Builder.

Introduction to this Tutorial

The objective of this two-part article is to discuss the creation and loading of an MS Access database with Event Log data. Most of us have used the Event Viewer to view and manipulate the sometimes-critical messages that accumulate in the Event Log, regarding many aspects of our Windows 2000 network and machine operations. While the Viewer is suitable for online follow-up of a specific event, as well as a great starting point for troubleshooting of errors, system messages that take us unawares, and any number of other daily as well as infrequent, occurrences, it doesn't lend itself to easy analysis, or to the collection and reporting of statistics.

In this article, we will examine one approach for moving the potentially valuable storehouse of data in the Event Log to a data source from which we can report upon it or perform in-depth analysis from a number of dimensions. As in all the articles within our series, our intent is to examine ways that we can use MS Access to provide sophisticated results to organizational information consumers. While we will be diverting from our typical focus of financial information, it is easy to understand how operational statistics can be useful to the organization as well. Our article will address a means to this end, and accomplish the following:

  •   Discuss the usefulness of manipulating Event Log data within a database;
  •   Discuss the Elogdmp.exe utility as an easy-to-use option for exporting Event Log data to an MS Access database;
  •   Perform a hands-on exercise using the utility to dump an Event Log in preparation for its import into MS Access for Analysis and Reporting.

We will perform the steps involved in the creation of an Event Log database, along with the import of the file we have prepared in Part I, in Part II of this lesson.

There are, as many of us know, several ways to accomplish the objectives we are setting for Parts I and II of this article. We will be using a straightforward approach that can certainly be automated. The main idea is to gain an appreciation for the concepts involved, after which the mechanics can be managed with the relevance and finesse that only local customization can bring.



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