Check how Reliable your PC is using Windows 7

By on May 24, 2010
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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.


Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

  • @MichaelWFisk

    This is a part of Windows Vista as well… very useful at-a-glance method for looking at system issues.

  • JB

    This is in Vista too

    My PC is a self build 3 year old system and reliability monitor for me shows 5 “Disruptive Shutdowns” in the last year.
    In the same year Explorer.exe has crashed twice and taskeng.exe once. In addition Teamspeak3 Client, NFS Shift demo and arma2 have crashed about 20 times between them.

    Not bad considering that most people think Vista is a POS but this machine is used by the whole family for several hours every day.
    Specs: Intel DP965LT, Intel Core2Duo E6400, 2 x 1Gb Corsair RAM, Sapphire ATI X1950XT, Soundblaster XFi Fatal1ty, Western Digital Caviar 320Gb HDD, Corsair TX750W PSU (replaced a blown Hyper TypeR 550W), Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit (installed in Feb.2007 and running since).

  • rommel

    this tool is also available in vista but its burried deeper.

    control panel -> performance information and tools -> advanced tools -> open reliability and performance monitor -> reliability monitor

  • rommel

    subsequently one can access the reliability monitor which is part of the performance monitor control panel by typing “perfmon” in the run prompt from the start menu.

  • LifeBane

    This isn't necessarily telling you how reliable your PC is. You can install a faulty plugin in Firefox and suddenly your "PC" is less reliable according to this.

    • tbreaknet

      It doesn't measure hardware faults but I'd say that the majority of crashes and weirdness in Windows is because of Software. At least this tool gives you an overview of which application/OS caused your system to crash or act weirdly.

  • Grim Reaper

    i Have a lot of firefox and windows explorer crashes firefox i guess its not a 64 bit suiting application windows explorer crashes when ever .mts files thumbnails are being generated..but i havent had a system crash that forced a restart it would always return back to normal by itself.would recommend cleaning your pcs registry once in a while with a program like ccleaner it does help delay your formats but softwares and OSs do start to wear by time because of so much hardware and drivers changes shell extensions go missing with a uninstall , that a fresh install of OS is inevitable a how reliable report cant be relied upon to tell you how relaible your computer really is ..the only thing that should be worried for is the hardware as long as the hardware functions well the software stuff can be dealt with..I have a custom pc built around an year ago

    I7 920 overclocked to 3.7ghz with gigabyte pro cooler
    asus rampage 2
    150gb WD velociraptor (windows 7)
    ati 5870
    12gb corsair xms ddr3 1600mhz
    silverstone 1200 watts
    Dell U2410 monitor

    • tbreaknet

      Maybe the overclock is causing issues? Do you get these crashes at stock speed as well??

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