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Understanding the Windows Vista Reliability Monitor

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Concerned about the well-being of your PC that runs Windows Vista? Reliability Monitor can be your new trusted best friend when keeping tabs on your PC’s overall health. Vista expert Ed Tittel helps you figure out how this gem of a tool works.
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For those willing to take their time and dig into its tools, Windows Vista offers a wealth of information about the systems on which it runs. One such tool is the Reliability Monitor, which works as an extension to that staid old Windows tool called the Performance Monitor, aka perfmon.exe, available since the earliest days of Windows NT.

Getting Started

The easiest ways to launch Reliability Monitor are to either:

  • Click Start, and then type perfmon.exe in the Search box.
  • Type Reli in the Search box, and then click on the Reliability and Performance Monitor entry that appears at the top of the Start menu in response.

Figure 1 shows what a typical Reliability Monitor display looks like.

Figure 1

Figure 1 The key elements of the Reliability Monitor are its visual Stability Chart (shown here) and detail elements available across the five categories shown later in the article.

Reliability Monitor reads from the Windows event logs to extract data that it uses to report on system stability. The small white “i” icon indicates information detail is available, a yellow exclamation point provides a warning about potential problems or errors, and a white “x” on a red background indicates some kind of problem or error was recorded.

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