The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

Vista Reliability Monitor Stopped Working

One nice feature that I have enjoyed in Vista is the Reliability Monitor. (Press the Windows key and start typing “reliability” in the “start search” area on the Start Menu. Then click on Reliability Monitor.) This feature will give you a history of how stable/unstable your computer has been. It will list success and failures per day for each of the following categories:

  • Software Installs and Uninstalls
  • Application Failures
  • Hardware Failures
  • Windows Failures
  • Miscellaneous Failures

This is great for troubleshooting what is going right/wrong with a computer. In particular…have you ever asked a user whose computer is going nuts the question, “Have you installed anything recently?” Of course their answer is always, “No.” Well…open up Reliability Monitor to find out the real answer. Hmmm…it looks like right about the time you started having problems that you installed WeatherBug. “Oh yeah…I forgot about that one.”

I have been using Reliability Monitor to watch a couple of troublesome apps that I have running on my computer. I’ve watched my reliability index drop from 9+ down to a low of 2.92. I’m having issues with our corporate antivirus (Panda…stay away from it in my opinion.) as well as Covenant Eyes. CE worked great up until an update that they pushed out in mid-January. It’s been crashing a lot since then…frequent instances of nmSvc.exe stopping working. They had an incremental upgrade today…hopefully that will resolve the issues.

Anyway…I’ve been monitoring that, but when I checked the chart this morning, I noted that there had been no updates in the last seven days. Hmm…that’s odd…so I started digging. One of my first stops was to look at the System Event Log to see if there were any errors related to Reliability Monitor. Instead what I got was a message that it couldn’t read the data in the event log. For all appearances, it appeared that the event log is corrupt.

After choosing to clear the event log (without saving changes…it wouldn’t let me because of invalid data), I kicked off the RACAgent task (Task Scheduler, Task Scheduler Library, Microsoft, Windows, RAC…change view to show hidden tasks). When I went back into the Reliability Monitor I could now see the data for the last week.

That is a bit odd/frustrating…instead of reporting that in the monitor as an error, it gacked and hung the monitor.

March 21, 2008 - Posted by | tech | , ,


  1. Hey Jarvis,

    I work for Covenant Eyes in their web development division. I’m just curious, but have you submitted debug logs with your crash? We’re always eager to improve and stabilize our product, so drop us a line. Hopefully we can figure out what’s causing the crash.

    Zach Spencer

    Comment by Zachary Spencer | March 21, 2008

  2. Thanks Zach,
    I just sent you an email about this with more detail. Yes I have submitted debug logs. Short answer for anyone else reading this is that I have submitted debug logs and CE is working on a fix…it just hasn’t materialized yet.

    I appreciate that work that CE does. It is a great tool for people in an accountability relationship to use.

    Comment by Jarvis | March 21, 2008

  3. Searched for over an hour before I found this simple little nugget to fix my problem with reliability monitor not updating. Scheduler was showing Racagent running with “data is invalid” result. Cleared the system log – boom, problem gone.

    Comment by Kyle | September 13, 2008

  4. Kyle: how do i clear the system log?

    Comment by hoho | November 7, 2008

  5. View the system log, right click the system log, select “clear log…”

    Comment by Jarvis | November 7, 2008

  6. where do i find this system log? i searched for the system log at the start/start search prompt and didn’t find it. thanks.

    Comment by hoho | November 8, 2008

  7. Start, right click on Computer, Manage, (if UAC prompts, click Continue), Browse through Computer Management (Local) – System Tools – Event Viewer – Windows Logs. Right click System, select “clear log…”

    Comment by Jarvis | November 9, 2008

  8. Thanks a lot, Jarvis.

    Comment by hoho | November 11, 2008

  9. I’ve been looking for this for six months. Your a genius. How on earth did you discover it?

    I’ve come across dozens of others searching in vain. You should tell those clowns at microsoft to put this tip on their KB.


    Comment by Jim | December 21, 2008

  10. Hello,

    i just want to tankx for the tip Jarvis gave for clear the system log.

    It work fine. i have try alot to fox reliability monitor without success. after Read this tip everything is working
    again!! Nice for this one!!!

    Comment by vagge | December 29, 2008

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