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Secret Windows tool only the tech pros know about

How Reliability Monitor works

Opening Reliability Monitor

Accessing Windows Reliability Monitor is very simple. It's located under Control Panel >> System and Security >> Security and Maintenance >> Reliability Monitor. But you don't actually need to go through all of those steps to open it.

Just type "reli" into the search bar next to the Windows icon located on the lower left of your computer. Click on the "View Reliability History" option that shows up in the results box. The Reliability Monitor will open as soon as you do that. It looks like this:


Troubleshooting with Reliability Monitor

In the example shown above, you see a red X, meaning there were critical events. In this case, Microsoft Edge stopped working.

Results are compiled over a period of time and are charted with a stability index. A value of 10 is the best number on the stability index and 1 is the lowest. This number decreases when there are errors or failures and rises when there are no problems to report.

The Reliability Monitor only provides details on three of the five categories that we discussed here previously.

  • Critical events - Application, Miscellaneous and Windows failures are marked with an X on a red circle. They are listed in chronological order.
  • Warnings - Warning messages are listed together with yellow exclamation flags in chronological order.
  • Information events - These are marked with a lowercase i on a blue circle, also in chronological order.

You can click on a specific date to see problems that occurred then. When you're troubleshooting a specific problem you'll want to look for a cluster of issues, recurring issues, or issues that occurred at the specific time you noticed a problem.

Many of the failures that you will see fall into the self-healing kind. The same problem could pop up on occasion, even on gadgets that are working well, and disappear on its own. Likely rebooting the system takes care of the issue.

If there are issues that do not have checkable solutions, you will see a "View Technical Details" link next to the listed problem summary. Let's look at the Problem Details on the Microsoft Edge critical event we showed you in the image above:


Image: Problem Details for Microsoft Edge critical error

There are a couple of critical details listed that can help you troubleshoot the error:

  • Faulting application name - This shows you which application or service failed.
  • Exception code - This is the event identifier.

Do a search of these details on Google or with Microsoft Support and you should find an explanation of the issue you're having. Sometimes it will have a solution attached. If you can't find the solution yourself, you can give the details to a tech and they should be able to find one.

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