Navigation

Reliability Monitor in Windows

By . Last modified: 2014-08-14.

How to use Reliability Monitor for troubleshooting program and OS crashes in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1

If some programs and apps (or Windows itself) crash or stop responding often, you can use Reliability Monitor for basic troubleshooting.
Reliability Monitor is available in Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1 only. 

Reliability Monitor analyzes event logs and displays a list of changes (program and driver installations, updates and removals), plus crashes and errors.
The program also comes in handy if you're buying a used computer and you want to be sure it works fine.

To start Reliability Monitor in Windows Vista and 7, type "reliability" into Start menu Search box and click Reliability and Performance Monitor (Windows Vista) or View reliability history (Windows 7).
In Windows 8 and 8.1, open Settings search using keyboard shortcut Windows Key+W, type "reliability" into Search box and click View reliability history. Touch-screen users should swipe in from the right edge of screen and tap Search icon first.
Windows Vista, Start menu, Search results. Click Reliability and Performance Monitor. Windows 7, Start menu, Search results. Click View reliability history.
Windows 8, Start screen, Settings Search results. Click View reliability history.

Using Reliability and Performance Monitor in Windows Vista

In Windows Vista, Reliability and Performance Monitor window opens and displays Resource Monitor. Click Reliability Monitor on the left, in Monitoring Tools section. Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users can skip this section and move here.
System Stability Chart displays the computer's reliability index on scale from 0-10 (the top part of the chart). Higher numbers indicate better stability and reliability.
To see details on recorded events (the bottom part of the chart), click a day with at least one icon in Software (Uninstalls), Application Failures, Hardware Failures, Windows Failures or Miscellaneous Failures line. You can scroll forward and backward in history using the scroll bar below the chart, or you can use the combo box on the top right to jump to a specific date.
Windows Vista, Reliability and Performance Monitor. Click "Reliability Monitor" on the left.

Windows Vista's Reliability and Performance Monitor displays details of events in expandable sections. In the picture above, updates were successfully installed using Windows Update.
Let's see some examples of trouble.

Here, dwm.exe (Desktop Window Manager) stopped working (crashed). This is the process that displays Aero user interface with its glass-like effects in Windows Vista (and in Windows 7). If you see many entries for DWM crashes, there might be a problem with your display adapter, display adapter driver or system memory (RAM).
Because Windows Vista does not display more details on application and operating system crashes, I strongly suggest using Diagnostics-Performance log of Event Viewer and free WhoCrashed for further analysis. You should also seek for an update to the display adapter driver - either visit the manufacturer's home page or use free SlimDrivers.
Windows Vista, Reliability and Performance Monitor, Dwm.exe stopped working.

In second example, OS (Windows Vista itself) stopped working. You can either search Google or Bing for the error codes displayed in Failure Detail column or use WhoCrashed for easy crash dump analysis. For such errors, copy only the first code (0x0000008e in this example) and paste it into Google or Bing.
Windows Vista, Reliability and Performance Monitor, OS stopped working.

In third example, the computer was not shut down properly - this might indicate a power failure or that someone turned the PC off forcibly. If first one is true and power is often unreliable in your area, consider buying a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).
Windows Vista, Reliability and Performance Monitor, The computer was not shut down properly.

Using Reliability Monitor in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1

In Windows 7 and later, Reliability Monitor window opens and the programs starts by generating a report. This might take up to a few minutes. After this, system stability overview opens.
System Stability Chart displays the computer's reliability index on scale from 0-10 (the top part of the chart). Higher numbers indicate better stability and reliability.
To see details on recorded events (the bottom part of the chart), click a day with at least one icon in Application Failures, Windows Failures, Miscellaneous Failures, Warnings or Information line. You can scroll forward and backward in history using the scrolling buttons on the left and right edge of the chart.
Windows 7, Reliability Monitor is generating the report. Please wait. Windows 7, Reliability Monitor.

In Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, Reliability Monitor is tailored to Windows Error Reporting to allow easy solution checks. If you see frequent application crashes in the chart, you can click the Check for a solution link in Action column. You should send only items in bold, for these have not yet been automatically submitted to Microsoft (or you might have turned the feature off). Do not fear, Windows sends no personally identifiable information with application and Windows crash reports to Microsoft.
Windows 7, Reliability Monitor, Check for a solution link.

Essentially, solutions are not always available - some fixes take a longer time to test before publishing.
Windows 7, Reliability Monitor, Checking for solutions. Windows 7, Reliability Monitor, No new solutions found.

To seek fixes for all unreported problems at once, click the Check for solutions to all problems link in the bottom of the Reliability Monitor window. Just don't expect it to fix your car or credit problems! Wink
Windows 7, Reliability Monitor, Check for solutions to all problems.

You can also see a list of all detected crashes - click the View all problem reports link in the bottom of window. This opens a separate window. You can right-click any item to view crash details, see or check for solutions, etc.
In case you want to remove all recorded crash entries, click the Clear all problem reports button.
Windows 7, Reliability Monitor, View all problem reports.
Windows 7, Reliability Monitor, Review problem reports.

Let's see some examples of problems - to open a detailed report, right-click an entry and select View technical details from the menu.
Windows 7, Reliability Monitor. To see detailed information on a crash, right-click it and select "View technical details".

The first example is a bad case - Microsoft Management Console stopped responding because of rundll32.exe, an essential Windows component. You can run Windows Update to see if there are any patches available. If not, there is nothing much you can do about this. But please do check the Diagnostics-Performance log of Event Viewer to see if there are any driver problems that might cause slowdowns and programs hangs.
Note that the Status column on top states "Report sent", so in case this problem appears frequently, Microsoft is probably already looking for solutions.
Windows 7, Reliability Monitor, MMC stopped responding because of rundll32.exe.

The second example is a bit more useful - Google Chrome crashed because of RapportUtil.dll, a part of Trusteer Rapport. In this case, upgrading Rapport solved the problem.
Windows 7, Reliability Monitor, Google Chrome crashed because of RapportUtil.dll.

As most of us have no idea what the files listed in Fault Module Name or Waiting on Application Name lines are, you can search Google or Bing for explanations. Just copy the module or application name and paste it into Google or Bing search.

The third example reveals that Windows itself crashed and then rebooted automatically. It also states that "a dump was saved", so you can use free WhoCrashed for dump file analysis. More adventurous ones can copy the first bugcheck code (0x00000050 in this example) and use Google or Bing search.
Windows 7, Reliability Monitor, Windows stopped working, The computer has rebooted from a bugcheck.

And here's WhoCrashed report that blames atikmpag.sys - a part of video driver. Seek for a driver update on manufacturer's website or use free SlimDrivers.
Windows 7, WhoCrashed report on Windows crash.

 

Sub Navigation

Sub Navigation
Next: Analyze crash dumps with WhoCrashed
Previous: Troubleshooting Windows
comments powered by Disqus