One of the welcome changes found with Windows 7 (and Windows Vista) was adding the ability to log certain system changes, software problems, and users’ actions and issues into a database that can be viewed later. This database is viewable by opening the Action Center, expanding the Maintenance section, and clicking the View reliability history link.
The Action Center can be found and opened by clicking the white flag on your Taskbar (to the left of the clock/date). For such an important feature Microsoft has seemingly buried the reliability mother in the basement.
The quickest method for opening the Reliability Monitor is to click Start, type in reliability, and press Enter. Let’s let the search engine do the work for us.
Taking a look at the Reliability Monitor display, top left we can view the reliability details by either days or weeks. This chart can hold up to a full year of information since the installation date. Information ranges from Application and Windows failures to System warnings and other Information.
Highlighting a date by clicking the column, for 6/17 we can see that on this date Windows was not properly shut down. Hmm, that was just before the user called me.
And earlier in the morning, 9:20 to be exact, an attempt was made to install something. Clicking the View technical details link can provide even more information as to what was attempted.
Clicking 6/21 will show what drivers updates or software changes occurred on that date.
When starting to solve a Windows 7 issue, check the Reliability Monitor first. It could save you hours of time.
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