Windows 7 comes with a built-in tool that graphs the reliability of your PC
Being away from Windows made me miss out on some of its functionality and today, I discovered a tool called “Reliability Monitor” that can actually be quite helpful in troubleshooting your PC. I don’t know if this was included in Windows Vista but it is a part of Windows 7.
Reliability Monitor basically records any hardware and software problems/changes that have occurred on your PC and based on that, provides an index that ranges from 1 to 10 with 10 being the most reliable. You can launch it by clicking on the start menu and type reliability which bring a result to “View reliability history” on which you can click. Let me post a screenshot from my Sony laptop and then explain the information this tool collects.
The first thing on top in that graph is whether to view your information in days or weeks. When your PC is new, the days link is selected which shows you information about your PC on a daily basis. Once your PC becomes a few weeks or months old, you would probably want to switch to a weekly view.
As you can see, my PC has been fairly reliable over the last over the last twenty days with the graph closer towards the top (10) than the bottom. There are three types of icons in that graph- the red x is a show stopper while the yellow triangle is a warning. The blue circles are just information dialogs that tell you if an application was installed/uninstalled or a Windows Update applied. The yellow triangle you see informed me that an application was unsuccessfully installed which in this case was the older version of the Flip Share application that was on my Flip MinoHD video camera.
The red x signs are the one that you should be concerned about and two of those on my graphs are due to improper shutdown of windows which generally means that your PC crashed. Unfortunately, Reliability Monitor doesn’t provide you with the exact information on what caused the error. For that, you will probably need to look at system logs. The third red x on my graph was for Superfetch that had stopped working. Superfetch is a disk caching mechanism in Windows and since I have an SSD (Solid State Drive) on this laptop, I disabled this service as it’s a lot more helpful with standard mechanical hard drives.
It would be interesting to find out what others are scoring. Please do share your index and your PC make with us.