While you will notice some problematic events while you are using a system running a recent version of the Windows operating system, you may miss others.
For instance, if the web browser that you are using stops working, you will notice it and if that happens regularly, may investigate the cause to fix it. You may however fail to notice the same for background programs, especially if they are restarted automatically or other failures such as updates that don't get installed successfully.
The Windows Event log is without doubt the main tool to find out more about errors and their causes, but it is not the only one.
Since it is not that easy to find your way around in the program, you may prefer to use other tools instead initially, and one of them is the Reliability Monitor.
The Windows Reliability Monitor highlights a number of successful and unsuccessful events when started, and classifies them as critical, warning or informational in its interface.
To make things even simpler, it highlights all three of those in the timeline that it displays on start so that you can see on a glance what needs your attention and what does not.
A click on a day in the timeline displays all events for that day. Since you can select days based on icons in the timeline, it is simple to look up critical events first and then warnings.
This can be useful after you have experienced an issue, but also for checking up on issues that you are not necessarily aware of.
Some are easy enough to ignore, for instance failed Windows Updates that went through on the second try while others may require your attention. Frequent application failures fall into that category, especially if you use the program regularly.
Each event is listed with its name, a summary, time and date, and a suggested action. For instance, you may see that Internet Explorer stopped working on a specific date, and that you may use the action to find a solution online.
The action may not be helpful all the time, but sometimes they link to additional information. Failed Windows Updates may reveal for instance an error code that you can use to investigate the issue.
You may then use the error code or description to resolve the issue. For instance, you may run a search on the Internet to find out more about it, or hop over to the Event Viewer where you may find additional information such as system or event data.
How to start the Reliability Monitor
There are numerous ways to start the Windows Reliability Monitor. The following method works on all supported versions of Windows (meaning Vista and up).
The Windows Reliability Monitor offers a quick overview of important system events that may require your attention. Since it may display important events that you are not aware of, it is suggested to check it regularly (or a comparable tool) to make sure that critical issues don't slip by you and cause issues further down the line.
If you are using windows 7, check out our review of the Windows 7 Reliability Monitor here for additional information.
Now You: Do you check event logs or reliability information regularly?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.