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Troubleshoot Computer Problems with Reliability Monitor in Windows 7

Windows Vista introduced us to the Reliability and Performance Monitor utility to help keep track of hardware and software crashes. It’s now a stand alone utility in Windows 7 and we will take a look at how to access and use it.

Reliability and Performance Monitor in Vista

In Vista the Reliability Monitor was part of the Reliability and Performance Monitor utility. Now it’s a separate utility in Windows 7 and located in a different spot in the OS.

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Reliability Monitor in Windows 7

To access the Reliability Monitor in Windows 7, open Action Center from the icon in the Notification Area or from Control Panel.

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Under the Maintenance options click on View reliability history.

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Alternately you can enter Reliability Monitor into the search box in the Start menu.

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The Reliability Monitor opens and you can start checking out where and when hardware or software errors have occurred.

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On the chart you’ll see icons for warnings and failures based on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being least stable and 10 the most stable). Click on the date where errors have occurred so you can view the details.

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You can choose between Days or Weeks View.

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In the details section you can click on any of the errors and get the technical details.

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The Problem Details section tells you what the problem is, date and time it happened, and a description of the problem. You can copy the details to the clipboard in case you need to email it to tech support.

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It also allows you to View all problem reports that will show only computer errors. It doesn’t show other events like software installations.

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It provides a list of problems on the computer, luckily in this example there is only one issue.

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Double click on any error in the list to get detailed results.

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You can also click on Check for solutions to all problems.

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When a solution is found, the information is presented in Action Center under the Maintenance section. In this example there is a wireless network adapter that’s missing a driver. It provides a link to the driver and gives directions on how to download and install it.

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If you are experiencing problems with your Windows 7 machine such as devices not working or are getting different error messages, the Reliability Monitor is a good place to start looking for a solution.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 12/9/09

Comments (6)

  1. Migration Expert Zone

    Thanks for the tutorial! I don’t think a lot of everyday users will be able to make heads or tails of the Reliability Monitor, but it’s a great tool for IT folks. Not sure why Microsoft buried so deep inside the OS, but glad you found it!

  2. Santo

    This is an very important tool that will help anyone with little knowledge of computers to find out why their computer crashes. I am going send this information to my friends and office colleagues so they can tell me what is causing their computer crash before they call me for help.
    Thanks for the post.

  3. Mysticgeek

    @Santo: That is a great idea. You know they will still call the “tech” guy in the office though.. haha. When I did IT and taught users how to accomplish something they still called me to either tell me they did it… or that they can’t figure it out. Anyway… if they run it… hopefully the more tech inclined will be able to figure it out!

  4. harriet armour

    my icon and front screen is to big how do i get it back to normal.

  5. Harris

    Heh heh, my reliability is almost always at the bottom xD

  6. cain

    what is the difference between perfmon.exe /report and msinfo32

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