A More Typical Reliability Monitor Graph
On a system with stable hardware and no “open problems” you’re much more likely to see a Reliability Monitor display like the one in Figure 3, however. That’s because small problems do occur from time to time that will generally keep the stability index below a perfect 10, though values between 9 and 10 are both typical and desirable for most Windows Vista systems.
Figure 3 The Reliability Monitor graph for my trouble-free and extremely stable Dell D620 Latitude notebook PC shows what’s typical for most Vista PCs. The error on 12/4 came from an installer problem on an untested application, and the warning on 11/19 from a beta software application with an installer script error.
Even on the most stable and best-behaved of Windows Vista systems, you’ll still encounter the occasional error or warning inside Reliability Monitor. In most cases, this has to do with new applications that you download from the Internet to try out on your machine, only to discover errors or incompatibility problems during or after installation. In some cases, it may even have to do with OS compatibility issues, as when trying to run older 16- or 32-bit Windows applications on a Vista machine.
Here’s a case in point: I purchased a Speed Racer game for my 4-year-old at a local bookstore, only to learn it was produced in 2000 (for Windows 98). While I fiddled about with application compatibility settings over about a week, this program (SR_GAME.exe) crashed three times before I finally got these settings right. If you use older software or try lots of tools and utilities from the Internet (I do both), you will encounter an occasional Vista hiccup, and it will depress your stability index value.