Python Windows Event Log Parser: python-evtx

ID N0WHERE:116645
Type n0where
Reporter N0where
Modified 2016-09-16T02:47:19


Python Windows Event Log Parser

python-evtx is a pure Python parser for recent Windows Event Log files (those with the file extension “.evtx”). The module provides programmatic access to the File and Chunk headers, record templates, and event entries. For example, you can use python-evtx to review the event logs of Windows 7 systems from a Mac or Linux workstation. The structure definitions and parsing strategies were heavily inspired by the work of Andreas Schuster and his Perl implementation “Parse-Evtx”.


With the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft introduced an updated event log file format. The format used in Windows XP was a circular buffer of record structures that each contained a list of strings. A viewer resolved templates hosted in system library files and inserted the strings into appropriate positions. The newer event log format is proprietary binary XML. Unpacking chunks from an event log file from Windows 7 results in a complete XML document with a variable schema. The changes helped Microsoft tune the file format to real-world uses of event logs, such as long running logs with hundreds of megabytes of data, and system independent template resolution.


python-evtx was developed using the 2.7 tag of the Python programming language. As it is purely Python, the module works equally well across platforms. The code does not depend on any modules that require separate compilation. python-evtx is not yet Python 3 compatible.

python-evtx operates on event log files from Windows operating systems newer than Windows Vista. These files typically have the file extension .evtx. Version 5.09 of the file utility identifies such a file as “MS Vista Windows Event Log”. To manual confirm the file type, look for the ASCII string “ElfFile” in the first seven bytes:

willi/evtx  » xxd -l 32 Security.evtx 
0000000: 456c 6646 696c 6500 0000 0000 0000 0000  ElfFile.........
0000010: d300 0000 0000 0000 375e 0000 0000 0000  ........7^......


Provided with the parsing module Evtx are three scripts that mimic the tools distributed with Parse-Evtx. prints metadata about the event log and verifies the checksums of each chunk. builds and prints the templates used throughout the event log. Finally, parses the event log and transforms the binary XML into a human readable ASCII XML format.

Note the length of the script: its only 20 lines. Now, review the contents and notice the complete implementation of the logic:

print "<?xml version=\"1.0\" encoding=\"utf-8\" standalone=\"yes\" ?>"
print "<Events>"
for chunk in fh.chunks():
    for record in chunk.records():
        print record.root().xml([])
print "</Events>"

Working with python-evtx is really easy!


Updates to python-evtx are pushed to PyPi, so you can install the module using either easy_install or pip . For example, you can use pip like so:

pip install python-evtx

Python Windows Event Log Parser: python-evtx Download