Responding to New Event Log Entries (Part 1)

by Dec 13, 2018

If you’d like to respond to new event log entries in real time, here is how your PowerShell code can be notified the moment a new event entry is written:

# set the event log name you want to subscribe to
# (use Get-EventLog -AsString for a list of available event log names)
$Name = 'Application'

# get an instance
$Log = [System.Diagnostics.EventLog]$Name

# determine what to do when an event occurs
$Action = {
    # get the original event entry that triggered the event
    $entry = $event.SourceEventArgs.Entry

    # do something based on the event
    if ($entry.EventId -eq 1 -and $entry.Source -eq 'WinLogon') 
        Write-Host "Test event was received!"


# subscribe to its "EntryWritten" event
$job = Register-ObjectEvent -InputObject $log -EventName EntryWritten -SourceIdentifier 'NewEventHandler' -Action $Action

This code snippet installs a background event listener which responds whenever the event log emits a “EntryWritten” event. When that occurs, the code in $Action executes. It gets the event that triggered the action by querying the $event variable, and in our example, when the EventId equals 1, and the event source is “WinLogon”, a message is written. Of course, you could as well send off an email, write a log, or do whatever else is useful.

To see the event handler in action, simply write a test event entry that meets the criteria:

# write a fake test event to trigger
Write-EventLog -LogName Application -Source WinLogon -EntryType Information -Message test -EventId 1

Once you run this line, the event handler executes and writes its message to the console.

Note that this example installs an asynchronous handler that works in the background whenever PowerShell is not busy, and for as long as PowerShell runs. You can’t keep the script busy by running Start-Sleep or a loop (because then PowerShell would be busy, and unable to process the event handler in the background). To keep this event handler responsive, you could start the script with the -noexit parameter:

Powershell.exe -noprofile -noexit -file “c:\yourpath.ps1”

To remove the event handler, run this:

PS> Unregister-Event -SourceIdentifier NewEventHandler 
PS> Remove-Job -Name NewEventHandler 

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