Fix Event Log Service Error 4201 The Instance Name Passed Was Not Recognized

One of our readers faced a problem where the Windows Event Log failed to start, and as a result, a couple of other services failed as well. Attempting to start the Windows Event Log service manually via the Services MMC resulted in error 4201. The complete error message is provided below:

Windows could not start the Windows Event Log service on Local Computer.

Error 4201: The instance name passed was not recognized as valid by a WMI data provider.

And the following errors popped up when opening the Event Viewer and Task Scheduler.

Event Log service is unavailable. Verify that the service is running.

Task Scheduler service is not available. Task Scheduler will attempt to reconnect to it.

Upon checking the Event Log service registry key and values, they were intact. Eventually the problem turned out to be the incorrect permissions for the C:\Windows\System32\LogFiles\WMI\RtBackup directory. The SYSTEM group needs full control permissions for the directory only then the Windows Event Log service would start. Thanks to Alexzhu for sharing the solution here. Note that we didn’t have to rename or delete the RtBackup directory.

Fixing the Permissions for RtBackup Folder in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

1. Start Windows in Safe mode

2. Open the "C:\Windows\System32\LogFiles\WMI" folder

3. Right-click on the RtBackup folder and choose Properties

4. Click the Security tab, and click the Edit button.

5. Click Add

6. Type SYSTEM and hit ENTER

7. Enable "Full control" Permission to "Allow"

8. Click OK, and then click Yes when asked for confirmation.

9. Restart Windows (in Normal mode), and verify if the Windows Event Service has started.

Unable to assign permissions for the RtBackup folder?

If you’re unable to assign permissions for the RtBackup folder, try taking ownership of the folder, and then repeat the steps 1-9 above.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

26 thoughts on “Fix Event Log Service Error 4201 The Instance Name Passed Was Not Recognized

  1. I had this same issue “Error 4201: The instance name passed was not recognized as valid by a WMI data provider.”

    The problem was the incorrect permissions. Solved thanx!

  2. I worked on Normal mode itself…. I applied the premission through normal mode only…. Its is working fine

  3. This worked but messed up some of my files and i can’t access windows explorer… please help. I need to undo this!!

  4. Tks for that – tried a few other solutions posted elsewhere and none proved effective for various reasons but your solution immediately worked. Brilliant!

  5. After trying to install Office 2013 Pro Plus many, many times and each time getting a very generic error of:
    Microsoft Office Professional Plus has encountered an error during setup.
    Then getting the message:
    Microsoft Setup Bootstrapper has stopped working.
    I tried a lot of remedies proffered by various websites

    I was about to throw in the towel when I came across your suggestion.
    Voilà – Office 2013 installed flawlessly!

    Many thanks, very much appreciated.

    Windows 7 Ultimate N Service Pack 1

  6. Well, I think Occam said it already, no need for me to repeat it. Excellent, intuitive and perfectly effective. If only this process would catch on in the entire programming world!…

  7. “Most Excellent”! Myself and my customers deeply appreciate your recommendation…Problem is “fixed”!

  8. Thanks! Simple, effective, and probably the most “correct” fix. No screwy backdoor registry renaming deletion foolishness. If you must do all that, fine, but why not fix the problem instead of playing hide and seek with an unknown? Followed your directions exactly, worked perfectly. Windows 7 64bit.

  9. Eyy! Tahnks man I fix me issue, I had been loking a lot web sites tos fix the problem and dindnt work any topic, your solution runn well, thanks one time more.

  10. thank you this worked perfectly for us on a windows 2008 server. Fortunately we didn’t go through with the instructions found elsewhere to reset the permissions of ALL registry keys!!

  11. Well, its realy a nice post, you cover advance troubleshooting and provide very unique things, thanks

  12. Hmmm… I see an improvement in your blog, Ramesh. No more any of those “How disable …” Instead, you are actually posting very useful topics. Very nice.

    Still, I wonder how that one of your readers managed to get himself into this trouble…

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