Reliability Viewer for Windows is a free application that displays reliability data for a local or remote computer. It is based on the concept of the built-in Windows Reliability Monitor, but allows you to also view data for remote computers (PS Remoting required), something the built-in monitor cannot do since Windows Vista.
The application allows you to review the entire reliability history for a computer in a datagrid, and enables you to filter the records to search for specific events.
The application can also generate a system stability chart using Microsoft Excel, which uses reliability metrics to give an overview of the stability of the system over time.
It is a useful troubleshooting tool to identify stability issues on a Windows system by reporting key system events such as
- Application crashes
- Software Update installations
- MsiInstaller events
- Unexpected system shutdowns
- Driver installations
- Hardware failure
The built-in Windows Reliability Monitor is a handy but perhaps under-used troubleshooting tool to identify issues with a Windows system, and to report on it’s general stability over time. According to Microsoft:
Reliability Monitor is an advanced tool that measures hardware and software problems and other changes to your computer. It provides a stability index that ranges from 1 (the least stable) to 10 (the most stable). You can use the index to help evaluate the reliability of your computer. Any change you make to your computer or problem that occurs on your computer affects the stability index.
Since Windows Vista however, the tool can only be used to report on the local computer. Reliability Viewer for Windows can report on the local computer or any remote computer with PowerShell Remoting enabled.
- It takes the same data used by the Microsoft tool and displays it in an event-log style grid.
- It can group the data to identify the recurrence frequency of events.
- Filters allow you to refine the data displayed so that specific events can be identified.
- The system stability index can be displayed graphically in a Microsoft Excel chart.
Reliability Viewer for Windows can be downloaded free from the Technet Gallery.
- PowerShell 3.0 minimum on the local computer
- PowerShell Remoting
- Microsoft Excel to display the system stability chart
Using the Tool
Retrieving Reliability Data
To retrieve reliability data, enter the name of the target computer and hit enter, or click Get Reliability Records. The records will be retrieved and displayed in the datagrid.
To view the technical details for any entry in the grid, click the entry and the details will be displayed in the Message window.
Filter the Data
Use the filters to find events of a specific nature, for example, all MsiInstaller events, all application errors, all events for a particular software, a certain event ID, or a particular user. An asterisk “*” in the filter is a wildcard and will return all results.
Click the Clear Filter button to reset the filter to default.
Viewing Summary Data
After retrieving the records, you can click View Summary to see a summary of events grouped by the different fields. This allows you to see how frequently a particular event occurs, or how many events are logged against a particular user, etc.
Simply click on the window to close it.
Generate a System Stability Chart
If you have Microsoft Excel installed, click the Generate System Stability Chart button to generate a chart displaying the reliability metrics. Reliability metric data can be recorded at several intervals throughout the day, so only one metric per day is used to generate the chart. This allows better displaying of data over a greater time period. The reliability index is reported on a scale of 1 to 10. A recurring value of 10 indicates that the system is stable.
To understand more about how the system stability index rating is generated, read the Technet article here.
Here I’ve listed some example troubleshooting scenarios where this tool can be useful.
- A user reports that their computer just blue screened.
- After the user restarts the computer, use the tool to retrieve the reliability records remotely, then filter for EventID 1001, or the source Microsoft-Windows-WER-SystemErrorReporting. This will give you the bugcheck codes. If you suspect it may be driver related, use the source Microsoft-Windows-UserPnp to view recent driver installations.
- A user complains that their computer frequently has problems.
- Use the tool to generate a system stability chart to see how stable the computer is over time. View the summary data to identify frequently occurring events that may be causing the problems.
- A user complains that an application keeps crashing.
- Use the tool and filter for the source Application Error or Application Hang, or filter for the name of the application in the Product name filter. Click on the entry/s to view the technical details for the faulting application crash.
- A users complains that their computer has issues since a certain date. You ask the user if they have installed any software, or made any changes to the computer recently. They deny all knowledge!
- Use the tool and filter by the username to see any recent changes made by that user (not that you don’t believe them of course ;))
- Scroll through the list of events to identify any changes made on that date.
- A computer seems to be missing some windows updates. You suspect it may not be included in the monthly patching schedule, or the Windows Update Client has an issue.
- Filter on the source Microsoft-Windows-WindowsUpdateClient to view what patches have been installed, when, and by whom.