How to configure Active Directory and LDS diagnostic event logging

Applies to: Windows Server 2019Windows Server 2016Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard


This step-by-step article describes how to configure Active Directory diagnostic event logging in Microsoft Windows Server operating systems.

Active Directory records events to the Directory Services or LDS Instance log in Event Viewer. You can use the information that is collected in the log to help you diagnose and resolve possible problems or monitor the activity of Active Directory-related events on your server.

By default, Active Directory records only critical events and error events in the Directory Service log. To configure Active Directory to record other events, you must increase the logging level by editing the registry.

Active Directory Diagnostic Event Logging

The registry entries that manage diagnostic logging for Active Directory are stored in the following registry subkeys.  

Domain controller: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTDS\Diagnostics
LDS: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\<LDS instance name>\Diagnostics
Each of the following REG_DWORD values under the Diagnostics subkey represents a type of event that can be written to the event log:
1 Knowledge Consistency Checker (KCC)
2 Security Events
3 ExDS Interface Events
4 MAPI Interface Events
5 Replication Events
6 Garbage Collection
7 Internal Configuration
8 Directory Access
9 Internal Processing
10 Performance Counters
11 Initialization/Termination
12 Service Control
13 Name Resolution
14 Backup
15 Field Engineering
16 LDAP Interface Events
17 Setup
18 Global Catalog
19 Inter-site Messaging

New to Windows Server 2003:

20 Group Caching
21 Linked-Value Replication
22 DS RPC Client
23 DS RPC Server
24 DS Schema

New to Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8:
25 Transformation Engine
26 Claims-Based Access Control

Logging levels

Each entry can be assigned a value from 0 through 5, and this value determines the level of detail of the events that are logged. The logging levels are described as:
  • 0 (None): Only critical events and error events are logged at this level. This is the default setting for all entries, and it should be modified only if a problem occurs that you want to investigate.
  • 1 (Minimal): Very high-level events are recorded in the event log at this setting. Events may include one message for each major task that is performed by the service. Use this setting to start an investigation when you do not know the location of the problem.
  • 2 (Basic)
  • 3 (Extensive): This level records more detailed information than the lower levels, such as steps that are performed to complete a task. Use this setting when you have narrowed the problem to a service or a group of categories.
  • 4 (Verbose)
  • 5 (Internal): This level logs all events, including debug strings and configuration changes. A complete log of the service is recorded. Use this setting when you have traced the problem to a particular category of a small set of categories.

How to configure Active Directory diagnostic event logging

To configure Active Directory diagnostic event logging, follow these steps.

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
  3. Locate and click the following registry keys. 
    Domain controllerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTDS\Diagnostics
    LDSHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\<LDS instance name>\Diagnostics 
    Each entry that's displayed in the right pane of the Registry Editor window represents a type of event that Active Directory can log. All entries are set to the default value of 0 (None).
  4. Configure event logging for the appropriate component:
    1. In the right pane of Registry Editor, double-click the entry that represents the type of event for which you want to log. For example, Security Events.
    2. Type the logging level that you want (for example, 2) in the Value data box, and then click OK.
  5. Repeat step 4 for each component that you want to log.
  6. On the Registry menu, click Exit to quit Registry Editor.
  • Logging levels should be set to the default value of 0 (None) unless you are investigating an issue.
  • When you increase the logging level, the detail of each message and the number of messages that are written to the event log also increase. A diagnostic level of 3 or greater is not recommended, because logging at these levels requires more system resources and can degrade the performance of your server. Make sure that you reset the entries to 0 after you finish investigating the problem.