Reliability Monitor Errors and Warnings
As Figure 1 illustrates, Reliability Monitor provides daily updates to system status. On days where no warnings or errors occur, a numerical measure called the stability index goes up; on days where warnings or errors are recorded, the stability index goes down—sometimes quite dramatically.
In Figure 1, the stability index is 8.32, which is a fairly typical value for a busy Vista system. In Figure 2, you see the same system on a day when the stability index dropped by 3.88 (the biggest one-day drop I’ve ever seen), thanks to the 10 application failures and two Windows failures that occurred that memorable day.
Figure 2 As one-day declines in the stability index go, this one’s a 3.88 point whopper (down from 7.17 on the preceding day) to a pretty low 3.29 for the day highlighted here.
Right now, it seems worthwhile to explore the issues behind what’s displayed in Figure 2. Here’s a list of related items.
At the time, there were issues between this built-in Vista facility and my antivirus/antispyware package, PC Tools Spyware Doctor with Antivirus (this is associated with the pctsSvc.exe item that is reported as failing twice that day as well). A new version of Spyware Doctor with Antivirus released later that month resolved this problem.
The stop errors (0x0000000A and 0x0000001A) are both commonly associated with driver or hardware problems on a Vista machine. When you see stop errors, if you use the numeric error codes (hexadecimal numbers from the preceding sentence) or the associated error names (IRQL_LESS_NOT_EQUAL and MEMORY_MANAGEMENT, respectively) to search for cause and fix information online, you can nearly always dig your way to a workable solution. As I would learn over the next 10 days or so, in my case a faulty 2GB memory module was causing these problems. As soon as the module was replaced, these errors ceased immediately.
Fm3202.exe and svchost.exe
Fm3202.exe and svchost.exe ended up strongly related, because I had improperly installed a Dell AIO 968 printer on my Vista machine a few days before. Basically, I had chosen the wrong driver, and it in turn led to RPC communication problems on my machine, which caused one of my four svchost.exe processes to crash repeatedly. Uninstalling then reinstalling the AIO 968 print drivers did the trick.