The Hardware System Event Log (SEL) - Introduction
The hardware SEL is a function of most server motherboards. The baseboard management controller (BMC) records hardware events, including most health events, into an area of the motherboard non-volatile memory. In other words, this event log can be retrieved even after the system has been cold booted. A CMOS clear is likely to delete all of the events.
The hardware SEL should not be confused with the Windows System event log, which records Windows events. The hardware SEL will record things such as power events (power on, power off/loss of power, power redundancy events etc.) and faults such as fan issues, memory ECC events, or some motherboard errors such as PCI Express bus faults.
Choosing the right method of retrieving the SEL information
Motherboard manufacturers such as Intel provide utilities to display or save the SEL log. Utilities available depend on the motherboard model. Use the DOS or EFI mode version when Windows is not operating. For most models, a Windows version is available which allows SEL events to be retrieved while Windows is running, after the installation of an IPMI management driver.
While DOS mode tools are available for some platforms, use of EFI tools is preferred as you do not need to prepare a Windows 98SE DOS bootable pen drive.
Methods available for retrieving the SEL information
You will need to download the SEL viewer utility for either EFI, DOS or Windows. Download links are provided below; these are correct as of May 2014. Always consult the motherboard or platform download pages for updated downloads.
Tip: In addition to the SEL Viewer utilities for EFI or Windows, the S1400, S1600, S2400 and S2600 range of boards and systems from Intel now also support the SysInfo tool. The Sysinfo tool works in a very similar way but records even more information, at the cost of taking slighly longer to run.
On all Windows systems you need to install the correct package (32-bit / 64-bit) in order to install the correct IPMI driver. The IPMI drivers are included in the distributions. Note that the latest platforms (S1400/S2400/S2600) Window's SEL log utility requires Java to be installed if you want the GUI displayed. Using the command line option to save the log does not require Java.
Note: If you install the Windows 64-bit version on a 64-bit capable system but the SEL viewer GUI fails to run, it may be because you either dont have any Java installed, or you only have 32-bit Java installed. It is possible to install the 64-bit IPMI driver and then use the 32-bit SELVIEWER utility with 32-bit Java installed.
The S1200BTL above has an older version of the SEL utility for Windows that does not require Java at all. We recommend however that you use the newest version where possible as it will understand more hardware events and give more useful information.