Although, most problems can be traced to a few different factors, the OS, drivers, hardware, or applications. The trick is figuring out which one is causing the problems, and correcting it.
For example, video drivers are notorious for causing system failures because they have to run at a very low level of the OS. When your system does crash its hard to tell what really caused it, was the problem with the OS or was it a driver. You should also not discount failing hardware, or even a bug in the system BIOS.
I hope that you can see that the OS is not to blame for all system failures. To help you identify these problems, Microsoft has incorporated a few technologies to assist with diagnosing a failure if one does happen.
Some of these tools include the Reliability Monitor, Event Logs, and dump files. The Reliability Monitor is one of easiest tools to help you understand what happened when your system crashes. The Event Logs and dump files contain a lot of useful information, but they can be hard to understand if you don't know what you're looking for.
I have really only touched on a few of the diagnostic tools available in Windows Vista, there are several more that I will talk about in later articles. But if you do have a systems failure, here are few things that you can do:
- Use Windows Update under All Programs in the Start menu, and make sure that your OS and other Microsoft applications are up-to-date. Note: you should make sure the Microsoft Update feature is enabled, this will update all Microsoft Applications as well .
- Go to your computer or motherboard manufacture's web site and download the latest BIOS firmware updates for your system. You should also do this for other hardware, such as your video card.
- Make sure that your 3rd party applications and games have the latest updates.
- Run Vista's RAM diagnostic program to make sure that your computer's memory is working correctly.