Step 4: Load the index template in Elasticsearch

In Elasticsearch, index templates are used to define settings and mappings that determine how fields should be analyzed.

The recommended index template file for Winlogbeat is installed by the Winlogbeat packages. If you accept the default configuration in the winlogbeat.yml config file, Winlogbeat loads the template automatically after successfully connecting to Elasticsearch. If the template already exists, it’s not overwritten unless you configure Winlogbeat to do so.

You can disable automatic template loading, or load your own template, by configuring template loading options in the Winlogbeat configuration file.

You can also set options to change the name of the index and index template.

A connection to Elasticsearch is required to load the index template. If the output is not Elasticsearch, you must load the template manually.

For more information, see:

Configure template loading

By default, Winlogbeat automatically loads the recommended template file, fields.yml, if the Elasticsearch output is enabled. You can change the defaults in the winlogbeat.yml config file to:

  • Load a different template "your_template_name"
    setup.template.fields: "path/to/fields.yml"

    If the template already exists, it’s not overwritten unless you configure Winlogbeat to do so.

  • Overwrite an existing template

    setup.template.overwrite: true
  • Disable automatic template loading

    setup.template.enabled: false

    If you disable automatic template loading, you need to load the template manually.

  • Change the index name

    By default, Winlogbeat writes events to indices named winlogbeat-6.4.3-yyyy.MM.dd, where yyyy.MM.dd is the date when the events were indexed. To use a different name, you set the index option in the Elasticsearch output. The value that you specify should include the root name of the index plus version and date information. You also need to configure the and setup.template.pattern options to match the new name. For example:

    output.elasticsearch.index: "customname-%{[beat.version]}-%{+yyyy.MM.dd}" "customname"
    setup.template.pattern: "customname-*"
    setup.dashboards.index: "customname-*" 

If you plan to set up the Kibana dashboards, also set this option to overwrite the index name defined in the dashboards and index pattern.

See Load the Elasticsearch index template for the full list of configuration options.

Load the template manually

To load the template manually, run the setup command. A connection to Elasticsearch is required. If another output is enabled, you need to temporarily disable that output and enable Elasticsearch by using the -E option. The examples here assume that Logstash output is enabled. You can omit the -E flags if Elasticsearch output is already enabled.

If you are connecting to a secured Elasticsearch cluster, make sure you’ve configured credentials as described in Step 2: Configure Winlogbeat.

If the host running Winlogbeat does not have direct connectivity to Elasticsearch, see Load the template manually (alternate method).

To load the template, use the appropriate command for your system.

Open a PowerShell prompt as an Administrator (right-click the PowerShell icon and select Run As Administrator).

From the PowerShell prompt, change to the directory where you installed Winlogbeat, and run:

PS > .\winlogbeat.exe setup --template -E output.logstash.enabled=false -E 'output.elasticsearch.hosts=["localhost:9200"]'

Force Kibana to look at newest documents

If you’ve already used Winlogbeat to index data into Elasticsearch, the index may contain old documents. After you load the index template, you can delete the old documents from winlogbeat-* to force Kibana to look at the newest documents. Use this command:

deb, rpm, and mac:

curl -XDELETE 'http://localhost:9200/winlogbeat-*'


PS > Invoke-RestMethod -Method Delete "http://localhost:9200/winlogbeat-*"

This command deletes all indices that match the pattern winlogbeat-*. Before running this command, make sure you want to delete all indices that match the pattern.

Load the template manually (alternate method)

If the host running Winlogbeat does not have direct connectivity to Elasticsearch, you can export the index template to a file, move it to a machine that does have connectivity, and then install the template manually.

  1. Export the index template:

    PS > .\winlogbeat.exe export template --es.version 6.4.3 | Out-File -Encoding UTF8 winlogbeat.template.json
  2. Install the template:

    deb, rpm, and mac:

    curl -XPUT -H 'Content-Type: application/json' http://localhost:9200/_template/winlogbeat-6.4.3 -d@winlogbeat.template.json


    PS > Invoke-RestMethod -Method Put -ContentType "application/json" -InFile winlogbeat.template.json -Uri http://localhost:9200/_template/winlogbeat-6.4.3