How-To Geek

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

Comments (16)

  1. Bernie Becker

    I couldn’t believe the requirement to be in “Safe Mode” to successfully System Restore VISTA.
    I worked for day trying to figure what was wrong. Who knew?

  2. Doug Faber

    New to win Vista and a Toshiba laptop which has crashed or lost something when in use causing lines and a dark screen to appear for no reason.
    I opened the the Realibility Monitor as listed, and it does show errors, but does not say what caused them.

    It only says no events for the selected types are available so I don’t know how I can prevent them in the future.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    I never had this with my desktop running xp

  3. Ed Hurst

    I opened the reliability monitor and it does a good job on showing problems/crashes but there is limited help in finging the causes. Problems shown: IE stopped working, Outlook stopped responding, or OS stopped working.

    Any suggestions?

  4. James S

    I read this article…i reformatted my drive 2 times…Comprehensive (7passes) and then a custom lucky 13!!!…well… to no avail, computer still crashes!!! I get the BSOD (blue screen of death) everytime. any suggestions?…thanks alot…James S.

  5. Darren N

    Hi, your article is very informative.

    What kind of numbers in the reliability monitor would warrant really changing things around? I have reached as low as 2.9 but I am currently at 6.9 I believe. I’m not sure if I should expect more than this. Perhaps with SP1 it will improve.

    Thank you for any suggestions.

  6. Michael K

    What made you think that doing a comprehensive pass or a custom 13 pass would actually improve the stability of your system Jame S.

  7. Kathleen

    I got onto the Reliability Monitor easily but it means nothing to me. How is an ordinary 60year old grandmother supposed to know what all this means?

  8. Angel

    Finding this was a cinch, but figuring weather the problem was created by another program or so was not so close. Honestly, this didn’t solve my issue here, my PC crashes, and doesn’t turn on after restart after 20x tries of rebooting. Pisses me when I can’t find help.

  9. Maxine S

    thanks. This helped me understand a lot when my system kept crashing out of nowhere. Two windows updates were install right before this started. So I deleted them and waiting to see if helped. If not I’ll try system retore. Your other comments, for them they can go on help menu and print out reliability monitor information

  10. Nickey

    I found the Reliability Monitor but the dates of the events only covers Dec ’07 thru Jan ’08 and I can’t find any way to view anything after that. It is like it stopped recording any information after Jan.

  11. Rhyme

    my vista started crashing for a while and with the reliability monitor, i found out that it started crashing when i installed ADOBE AIR. maybe it’s not compatible for vista or still have a bug or something that causes the vista to crash.

  12. Heather

    my comp is weird….. i have 2 gig dual core memory, 500 hd and all the best of gear…so they say…but i keep getting freeze ups and my windows Im working in say not responding, this happens all the time and some times I have to shut down from the tower to get things going again… can you help me plezzzz

  13. Melanie

    Gee, I must have a different Vista then you guys because mine doesn’t show a reliability monitor. It just shows a Windows Experience Index rating. Course I am challenged sometimes. I’m running the Home Premium version

  14. Melanie

    never mind – it was user error. I found it under a subdirectory
    Only problem is, it tells me there were no events — hmm?

  15. barb fels

    My windows vista program suddenly stops working and there are only lines in the checkerboard pattern and I can’t get anything to move. Help me find a fix.


    Dear brethren in humanity,

    My reliability monitor is taking a long time to open…about 10 minutes
    And when it had opened, most of the time, it listed, message queue service, is not working
    When i checked, the techinal detail, i found, written there, 2 files ….mqsvc.exe & mqqm.dll
    And when i do a serach, on my computer, i discovered, only mqqm.dll, can be found
    Why, my mqsvc.exe, is not found, in my computer?
    Did someone, hack into my computer?
    i am using, Microsoft Security Essential, IOBit Malware Fighter, & Advanced System Care 4.2
    Before downloading 30 days-trial softwares, it was working fine
    Can anyone tell me, what is going on?
    Your advice, will be greatly appreciated
    Thank you

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