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Use Reliability Monitor to Troubleshoot

Applies To: Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista

Reliability Monitor shows you your system stability history at a glance and lets you see details on a day-by-day basis about events that impact reliability. This topic helps you understand the results and take steps to improve reliability based on what you learn.

System Stability Chart

Reliability Monitor maintains up to a year of history for system stability and reliability events. The System Stability Chart displays a rolling graph organized by date.

The top half of the System Stability Chart displays a graph of the Stability Index. In the lower half of the chart, five rows track Reliability Events that either contribute to the stability measurement for the system or provide related information about software installation and removal. When one or more Reliability Events of each type are detected, an icon appears in the column for that date.

  • For Software Installs and Uninstalls, an Information icon indicates a successful event of that type occurred, or a Warning icon indicates a failure of that type occurred.

  • For all other Reliability Event types, an Error icon indicates a failure of that type occurred.

If more than 30 days of data are available, you can use the scroll bar at the bottom of the System Stability Chart to find dates outside the visible range.

Viewing historical data

Reliability Monitor displays the most recent date's data by default.

To view data for a specific date, click the column for that date in the System Stability Chart or click the drop-down date menu to select a different date.

To view all available historical data, click the drop-down date menu and click Select all.

If more than 30 days of data are available, you can also use the scroll bar at the bottom of the System Stability Chart to browse dates outside the visible range.

System Stability Report

The System Stability Report helps you identify changes that contribute to a lower Stability Index by identifying Reliability Events. Click the plus sign in the title bar of each Reliability Event category to view events.

If you have clicked on a date column in the System Stability Chart, the System Stability Report will display events from that date. To see all events or choose a date outside the visible range in the System Stability Chart, click the date drop-down menu in the top right corner of the window and use the calendar, or select All dates.

Reliability Events

The Reliability Events recorded in the System Stability Report are as follows:

System Clock Changes

Significant changes to the system time are tracked in this category.

noteNote
This category does not appear in the System Stability Report unless a day is selected on which a significant clock change occurred. An Information icon will appear on the System Stability Graph for any days where a significant clock change has occurred.

 

Data Type Description

Old Time

Specifies the date and time prior to the clock change.

New Time

Specifies the date and time selected during the clock change.

Date

Specifies the date (based on the new time) when the clock change occurred.

Software (Un)Installs

Software installations and removals including operating system components, Windows updates, drivers, and applications are tracked in this category.

 

Data Type Description

Software

Specifies operating system, name of application, Windows Update name, or driver name.

Version

Specifies the version of the operating system, application, or driver (this field is not available for Windows Updates).

Activity

Indicates whether the event is an install or uninstall.

Activity Status

Indicates success or failure for the action.

Date

Specifies the date of the action.

Application Failures

Application failures, including the termination of a non-responding application or an application that has stopped working, are tracked in this category.

 

Data Type Description

Application

Specifies the executable program name of the application that stopped working or responding.

Version

Specifies the version number of the application.

Failure Type

Indicates whether the application stopped working or responding.

Date

Specifies the date of the application failure.

Hardware Failures

Disk and Memory failures are tracked in this category.

 

Data Type Description

Component Type

Indicates the component where the failure occurred.

Device

Identifies the device that is failing.

Failure Type

Indicates the type of failure that occurred.

Date

Specifies the date of the hardware failure.

Windows Failures

Operating System and Boot Failures are tracked in this category.

 

Data Type Description

Failure Type

Indicates whether the event is a boot failure or operating system crash.

Version

Identifies the versions of the operating system and service pack.

Failure Detail

Provides details for the type of failure, which is either:

Operating System Failure: Indicates the stop code.

Boot Failure: Indicates the reason code.

Date

Specifies the date of the Windows failure.

Miscellaneous Failures

Failures that impact stability and do not fall under previous categories are tracked in this category, including unexpected operating system shutdowns.

 

Data Type Description

Failure Type

Indicates the system was disruptively shut down.

Version

Identifies the versions of the operating system and service pack.

Failure Detail

Indicates the machine was not cleanly shut down.

Date

Specifies the date of the miscellaneous failure.

Using Reliability Monitor results

If Reliability Monitor reports frequent Reliability Failure Events, use the data it provides to decide what steps you can take to improve your operating system stability.

Software failures

If Reliability Monitor reports consistent application failures, Windows failures, or software installation or removal failures, you may need to update the failing application or components of the operating system. Use the Windows Update control panel and the Problem Reports and Solutions control panel to search for application updates that may resolve your problems.

If the failing application is not a Microsoft product, and a solution does not exist in the Problem Reports and Solutions control panel, try searching the application manufacturer's web site for software updates.

Hardware failures

If Reliability Monitor reports consistent hardware failures, your computer may have serious technical problems that cannot be resolved by a software update. Contact the manufacturer of the hardware device for additional troubleshooting steps and information.

Putting it all together

In addition to identifying problems with individual applications and hardware components, Reliability Monitor's graph lets you see, at a glance, whether significant changes in stability began at the same time. Since you can see all of the activity on a single date in one report, you can make informed decisions about how to troubleshoot. For example, if frequent application failures are reported beginning on the same date that memory failures appear in the Hardware section, you can replace the faulty memory as a first step. If the application failures stop, they may have been a result of problems accessing the memory. If application failures continue, repairing their installations would be the next step.

Additional considerations

  • To start Reliability Monitor, click Start, click in the Start Search box, type perfmon, and press ENTER. Expand Reliability and Performance, expand Monitoring Tools, and click Reliability Monitor.

  • To start the Windows Update and Problem Reports and Solutions control panels, click Start, click Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, and click either Windows Update or Problem Reports and Solutions. In Control Panel Classic View, the control panels are arranged alphabetically.

Additional references

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