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I've just installed SQL Server 2008 R2 Express for local development, and it's flooding the Application Event Log with a seemingly endless barrage of trivia and drivel ("SQL Server is now ready for client connections. This is an informational message; no user action is required.").

MSSQL$SQLEXPRESS has pushed over 157 of these kind of messages into my event log in the past ten minutes and I'm getting a little tired of them overpowering the events that actually have something important they need to tell me.

Is there any way to turn off this firehose? Or at least slow it down to the point where SQL Server is only telling me about things I really need to know about instead of "starting up database 'tempdb'"?

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I really need to know about Who knows what you really need to know about? You do. Make a custom event log view or filter. – Apr 26 '13 at 22:29

In the right hand pane of the Event Viewer, click on Create Custom View, and in the window that pops up, click on the Event Levels that you want. For example, you may want Critical, Error, and possibly Warning logs. Then, you can filter out the sources that you want as well.

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SQL Server has a number of startup options.

Option "-n":
Does not use the Windows application log to record SQL Server events. If you start an instance of SQL Server with -n, we recommend that you also use the -e startup option. Otherwise, SQL Server events are not logged.

See Using the SQL Server Service Startup Options
See How to: Configure Server Startup Options (SQL Server Configuration Manager)

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