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Inside Vista's New Diagnostic Tools
Pages: 1, 2, 3

Startup Repair

If you're having problems booting Vista, you can try using the Startup Repair tool. This tool is located on your Vista product DVD. To use it, insert the DVD, restart your machine, and choose View System Recovery Options (Advanced) from the menu. You'll need the username and password for an account on your machine. Then, select Startup Repair from the list of recovery tools, and hopefully things will fix themselves. If your machine is infected with a bad virus, however, the repair tool might not work and you may have to reinstall (or restore your computer from a CompletePC Backup system snapshot if you have Vista Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate edition.

Reliability Monitor

Finally, Vista includes a tool you can use to monitor the reliability of your system. To use this tool, you need to open a blank MMC console (type "mmc" in the Start Search box and accept the UAC prompt) and add the Reliability Monitor snap-in to your console:

Thumbnail, click for full-size image.
Figure 6. The reliability monitor snap-in (Click for full-size image)

This tool tracks hardware failures, operating system failures, application failures, and other events that may indicate problems with the stability of your machine. You can filter the display to show all events recorded on the computer or events for any one calendar day. A reliability index from 0 to 10 provides a quick indication of the health of your machine. You can also click directly on the graph to find out more about a specific problem. In the screenshot above, the graph shows that a "miscellaneous failure" occurred on May 8, and the System Stability Report information indicates that the nature of this failure was that the machine was not cleanly shut down.


This is only a small taste of Vista's built-in diagnostic capabilities. Stay tuned for more as the product solidifies and additional documentation about it becomes available.

Mitch Tulloch is the author of Windows 2000 Administration in a Nutshell, Windows Server 2003 in a Nutshell, and Windows Server Hacks.

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