Use Windows Vista Reliability Monitor to Troubleshoot Crashes

If you’ve owned a computer running Windows, you’ve probably complained about things crashing on your computer. Windows Vista includes a Reliability Monitor utility that lets you track all of the times that something crashed.

To get to this screen, you’ll just need to open Performance and Reliability Monitor in the administrative tools section (or just type perf into the start menu search box, and it’ll show up)

Once you are there, click on Reliability Monitor in the left hand tree menu, and you’ll be greeted with this screen: 

You can track how stable your computer is, based on the number of crashes, and you can select a large number of dates to get a nice graph like you see above, which includes information on various system failures, as well as installs and uninstalls of software.

In order to illustrate how this could be used for troubleshooting, let’s give an example:

Your computer has been crashing for at least a few weeks now, but you aren’t sure what you did to make it start crashing. You go to the Reliability Monitor and discover that there were no crashes before 2 weeks ago, and the day before the crashes started, you installed some shareware software. Now we know that the shareware software is what probably caused the application crashes, and we can just uninstall that.

Note: The System Restore feature is very useful, and is well worth using as you tinker with Windows Vista. Most installations of software automatically set a restore point, but if you are tinkering with the registry or other system settings, you might want to set a restore point first.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/17/07
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