Windows Vista: A hidden treasure, find out how errors occurs!

A well hidden tool in Windows Vista can prove to be your best friend if you got a slightly unstable PC.Microsoft Windows Vista is an OS packed with various functions, and few of us will ever use all of them. The problem with too much functionality is that what is really usefull tends to drown […]

A well hidden tool in Windows Vista can prove to be your best friend if you got a slightly unstable PC.

Microsoft Windows Vista is an OS packed with various functions, and few of us will ever use all of them. The problem with too much functionality is that what is really usefull tends to drown in among othe more or less usefull functions.

One of these hidden treasures in Windows Vista is called something as simple as Reliability Monitor, and the good thing is that you don't ever have to start the utility, it just collects information that constantly have been logged since the beginning of time, or more precise since Windows Vista was installed on your computer.

So let's open up the wonder whizz. Simply click the Windows button down in the left corner of your desktop, and just type Reliab (more if you desire) and then press Enter. Alternatively you can navigate your way to the Control Panel: Control Panel --> System and Maintenance --> Performance Information and Tools --> Advanced Tools (menu on the right, bottom) --> Open Reliability and Performance Monitor (Number 3 from the top)

In the window that now pops up, you'll find the standard resource monitoring display: Resource Overview, CPU, Disks, Network and Memory. On the left side you'll find a menu with additional monitoring possibilities, like Reliability and Performance Monitor, so let's have a look at that one.



The Reliability Monitor has a timeline that runs from left to right with a so called stability index that goes from 0 to 10 - with 10.0 as the ultimate and 100% stable computer without any errors on either hardware or software in the past. With every error the index will drop, and with every day without errors, the index will rise somewhat.

Over time you will get an index that will tell you how stable your computer is. And maybe the most interesting - it will tell you exactly when things started to go wrong.

On a test machine I'm using, you can see below that I have some small red dots with a cross in them, those are "serius" errors and you have some small yellow triangles, those are operations concerning install/uninstall issues, and at last you have the small light-blue bubbles with an excalmation-mark in them, they're telling you that an update or installation went OK. So if you see the timeline for, like here 3 months, it's getting easier to find the pattern of recurring erors, or if they're just occured once.

If I want to find out what that speciffic problem is, I can easily do that too. Below the diagram you'lll find a System Stability Report that show you what kind of error occured and what application or applications causing the error, and even if it occured during an uninstallation or installation that speciffic day, this also includes driver versions.



Let's have a closer look at what happened on the 27th of September.

I successfully uninstalled Ad-Aware 2007 Version 7.0.1.6 and I successfully installed Ad-Aware 2007 Version 7.0.2.3. That went fine, but as you can see at the bottom, I had a Disruptive Shutdown of Windows Vista Version 6.06000, meaning that the shutdown of my computer didn't go by the book. I remember that on that day the power disappeared for 2 minutes, so that was obviously the reason for this Disruptive Shutdown.

As you can see it's becoming easier and easier to do most of the troubleshooting yourself, and the beauty of it is that you start to learn a lot more of what's going on with your computer.

What can be done? Do you have a problem with your computer, you can actually with this little beauty tell what day it started, what components, applications or drivers that went down, what you have installed/uninstalled and what versions they are.

So if you ever so often test new software (install and then uninstall) this is a great tool to go back to see what happened if some errors occur. So instaed of like many do, recover to previous settings, you now probaly can fix the problem without doing that.

Another problem that can occur is hardware based, then the easiest is to replace it.

Anyhow, this great little monitoring tool in Vista will help you quite a bit on resolving your computer problems.

Microsoft, Windows Vista, Tips and Tricks, Knowledgebase