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The Reliability Monitor

Troubleshooting Windows 7 With Microsoft's Built-In Tools
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One other option available under the Maintenance tab of the action center is a link labeled "View Reliability History." This brings up a screen that allows you to track system problems and frequency over time.

The Windows Reliability Monitor tracks system problems and frequency over time.The Windows Reliability Monitor tracks system problems and frequency over time.

While "Check for Solutions" has improved over time, it’s still not perfect. There are times when you need to manually grab a new update or driver.

The reliability monitor doesn’t point out trends, but looking at system problems over time does allow you to interpolate trends on your own. Sometimes you may encounter seemingly disparate problems that actually have a common cause.

Recently, for example, I’ve been having an issue with the PC RPG Dragon Age: Origins. The sound in the game would stop working. Okay, so maybe my sound drivers were behaving oddly. But if I examine earlier dates in the Reliability Monitor, I see no Dragon Age issues.

At the same time, I’d been running into other issues. USB ports would randomly stop working. Every now and then, I’d lose my network connection. The frequency of these sorts of events has been increasing over time.

This finally led me to the conclusion that my motherboard's I/O Controller Hub was starting to fail. USB, some PCI Express lanes, and networking all hang off ICH10 on my X58 motherboard. So I’ve ordered up a new motherboard to replace it.

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