How to Find Out the Last Time a Computer Was Used

By Nick Davis

Computers keep track of everything. From the websites you visit on the Internet to the date and time of when you installed that new game, your computer doesn't forget anything. Your computer even keeps track of the last time it was turned on and off. This information is useful if you need to know when the last time someone used the computer. To find out the last time your computer was used, the Windows operating system has an application that logs both the date and time of when the system was turned on.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Windows or Mac operating system

Windows Operating System

Step 1

Click “Start,” then “Run.”

Step 2

Type “eventvwr.msc” in the box next to the heading “Open:” If running Windows Vista, type “eventvwr.msc” in the “Search Box.”

Step 3

Click “OK.” The “Event Viewer” dialog box will appear on your screen.

Step 4

Click on “System” in the left-hand pane of the Event Viewer dialog box. If using Windows Vista, double-click on “Windows Logs” in the left sidebar and then “System.”

Step 5

Look at the list of entries in the right-hand pane and look for an entry that is not today's date and current time. The entry under today's date and current time is the last time the computer was used.

Step 6

Click on any of the “Information” entries to see what specific task was completed on that specific date/time on the computer.

Step 7

Click the “X” in the upper right-hand corner to close the Event Viewer dialog box.

Mac Operating System

Step 1

Click on your computer's hard drive icon located on the Mac “Desktop.”

Step 2

Click on the “Applications” folder.

Step 3

Click on the “Utilities” folder.

Step 4

Click on the “Console” application. The Console application dialog box will appear on your screen.

Step 5

Click on “/var/log/system.log”” located in the left pane of the Console application dialog box.

Step 6

Locate the first entry that contains a date and time other than the current date and time. This is the last time your Mac computer was used. Note: On Mac systems, log files are large and may take some time to search through to locate the previous date and time entry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Event Viewer also keeps track of any errors and problems with your computer's hardware. That information will be in an entry labeled “Error.”
  • The Console application is present in Mac operating systems X and higher. There are also third-party applications available for the Mac platform that make tracking the last time your Mac computer was used easier.