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Export Windows event logs

The entirety of the C:\Windows\System32\winevt\Logs directory can be copied to export all the Windows event logs EVTX hives. The event logs can also be exported through the Windows GUI Event Viewer (eventvwr.msc) application and the CLI wevtutil utilities. The PowerShell cmdlet Get-WinEvent does not provide a way to export logs in the EVTX format.

To be able to view some event logs, notably the Security event logs, the Manage auditing and security log (SeSecurityPrivilege) right is required. Note that this right also grant the ability to clear the event logs. Additionally, in order to remotely copy the C:\Windows\System32\winevt\Logs directory, Administrator privileges are required to access the C$ share.

The following commands can be used to unitary export a event logs hive in the evtx format:


The following batch script can be used to retrieve all Windows event logs from a remote specified target.


export_logs.bat "<HOSTNAME | IP>" "<OUTPUTDIR_PATH>"
@echo off

REM GetEventLogs.cmd by Malcolm McCaffery

SET remotePC=%1
SET OutputDir=%2

IF "%remotePC%" EQU "" set remotePC=%computername%

IF NOT EXIST %OutputDir% MD %OutputDir%

pushd "%OutputDir%"

echo Get Event Logs on System %remotePC%
for /F "delims=\" %%i IN ('wevtutil el /r:%remotePC%') DO (
echo Retreving Log %%i
for /F "tokens=1,2 delims=/" %%j IN ("%%i") DO (
   IF "%%k" EQU "" (
    SET OUTPUTFILE=%computername%-%%j.evtx
   ) ELSE (
   SET OUTPUTFILE=%computername%-%%j-%%k.evtx
wevtutil epl "%%i" "!OUTPUTFILE!" /ow:true /r:%remotePC%

REM cleanup by deleting any empty event files…
for /R %%i IN (*.evtx) DO (
  echo Processing %%i
  REM if file is 69,632 bytes or less then delete it – don't want empty files
  IF %%~zi LEQ 69632 (
    echo empty event file…deleting…
    del "%%i" /q

echo Completed - events stored in %OutputDir%

List and query Windows event logs

GUI event logs viewers

The Windows Event Viewer built-in application and the Event Log Explorer application can be used to analyze event logs through graphical application.

Event Log Explorer offers the possibility to separate loaded hives by system, parametrize and save advance filters and consolidate event logs hives from different systems.

CLI utilities

The PowerShell cmdlet Get-WinEvent and the wevtutil utility can be used to list available event log hives and filter event log, from both local or remote system.

The following commands can be used to enumerate the available event logs hives:

wevtutil el

Get-WinEvent -ListLog * | Where-Object { $_.RecordCount }
Get-WinEvent -Computer <HOSTNAME | IP> -Credential <PSCredential> -ListLog * | Where-Object { $_.RecordCount }

The following commands can be used to retrieve information and metadata about the specified event logs hives:

# Display configuration information: enabled, DACL, hive path, etc.
wevtutil gl <LOGNAME>

# Display metadata information: creation time, last access / write time, number of events logged, hive size, etc.
wevtutil gli <LOGNAME>

# Both configuration and metadata information at once
Get-WinEvent -ListLog <LOGNAME> | Format-List -Property *
Get-WinEvent -Computer <HOSTNAME | IP> -Credential <PSCredential> -ListLog <LOGNAME> | Format-List -Property *

The following commands can be used to filter the event logs.

The wevtutil utility supports only XPath queries. The Windows Event Viewer can be used to define a filter query through the GUI and export the filter in a XPath format.

wevtutil qe <LOGNAME> /q:"<XPATH_QUERY>"

# Example query to find events matching the specified Event ID between two dates
wevtutil qe <LOGNAME> /q:"*[System[(EventID=<EVENT_ID>) and TimeCreated[@SystemTime>='<DATETIME>' and @SystemTime<'<DATETIME>']]]"

The PowerShell cmdlet Get-WinEvent can be used to filter the event logs on the following attributes:

  • LogName (<String[]>)

  • Path (<String[]>)

  • ID (<Int32[]>)

  • StartTime (<DateTime>)

  • EndTime (<DateTime>)

  • UserID (<SID>)

  • Data (<String[]>)

# Filter by event ID
Get-WinEvent -FilterHashtable @{Path="<HIVE_PATH>"; ID=<EVENT_ID | LIST_EVENT_IDs>} | Fl
Get-WinEvent -Computer <HOSTNAME | IP> -Credential <PSCredential> -FilterHashtable @{Path="<HIVE_PATH>"; ID=<EVENT_ID | LIST_EVENT_IDs>} | Fl

# Search the specified string in event data
Get-WinEvent -FilterHashtable @{Path="<HIVE_PATH>"; data="<STRING | LIST_STRINGs>"} | Fl
Get-WinEvent -Computer <HOSTNAME | IP> -Credential <PSCredential> -FilterHashtable @{Path="<HIVE_PATH>"; data="<STRING | LIST_STRINGs>"} | Fl

Convert Windows evtx to text / csv format

The Python utilities suite python-evtx can be used to parse and export to a text format Windows event log hives. The EvtxECmd utility can also be used to parse Windows event log hives into a CSV format.

It can notably be used to take advantage of Linux utilities such as grep and awk.

EvtxECmd.exe [-f '<FILE>' | -d '<DIRECTORY>']  --csv '<OUTPUT_DIRECTORY_CSV>'

EvtxECmd.exe [-f '<FILE>' | -d '<DIRECTORY>'] [--inc <LIST_EVENT_IDs> | --exc <LIST_EVENT_IDs>] --csv '<OUTPUT_DIRECTORY_CSV>'

# apt-get install python-evtx - Unoptimized
evtx_dump.py <EVTX> > <DUMP_FILE>

CSV searching

The Linux sort utility can be used to sort CSV fields:


q is a command line tool that allows direct execution of SQL-like queries on CSV files.

# -H: indicate that the CSV file has an header

# Query example
q -d "," -H "SELECT TimeCreated,EventId,Provider,Channel,Computer,UserId,MapDescription,ChunkNumber,UserName,RemoteHost,PayloadData1 FROM <CSV_FILE> WHERE TimeCreated LIKE '2020-04-07%' AND (Provider='Microsoft-Windows-Security-Auditing' OR Provider='Microsoft-Windows-TaskScheduler' OR Provider='Microsoft-Windows-TerminalServices-RemoteConnectionManager')"

Automated analysis


hayabusa is a tool written in Rust that leverage Sigma-based rule, converted in the "hayabusa" YML format as well as custom detection rules to generate a timeline of notable events from Windows EVTX logs. The resulting timeline is exported in CSV format.

hayabusa currently supports most the Sigma rule specification and delivers better results on default Windows events (without Sysmon notably) than Chainsaw.

# Updates the Sigma and hayabusa rules from GitHub.
hayabusa.exe -u

# Generates a CSV-timeline from the specified EVTX file or EVTX in the specified folder.
hayabusa.exe --utc --rfc-3339 -o <OUTPUT_CSV> -d <EVTX_FOLDER>


The DeepBlueCLI PowerShell script can be used to automate a basic analysis of Windows events logs. A number of detection cases are implemented, related to:

  • Suspicious account behavior (user creation and group membership operations, bruteforce attempts, etc.)

  • Command line / Sysmon / PowerShell auditing (long command line, PowerShell obfuscated command or download one-liner, etc.)

  • Service operations (suspicious service creation, Windows Event Log service stating / stopping, etc.)

The following Windows event logs / providers are supported:

  • Windows Security (Security.evtx)

  • Windows System (System.evtx)

  • Windows Application (Application.evtx)

  • Windows PowerShell

  • Sysmon

# Process the specified EVTX file.
.\DeepBlue.ps1 <EVTX_PATH>

# Process logs of the current system (must be executed with sufficient privileges to access the logs).
.\DeepBlue.ps1 [-log Security | System | Application | Powershell | Sysmon]

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