Computers crash and freeze. Your Windows PC may have automatically rebooted itself, too. If so, it probably experienced a blue screen of death when you weren’t looking. The first step in troubleshooting is finding more specific error details.
The steps we’re going to cover should help you narrow down and identify problems with your PC crashing or freezing. For example, the tools here may point the finger at a specific device driver. This could mean that the device driver itself is buggy, or that the underlying hardware is failing. Either way, it will give you a place to start searching. However, the steps we’re covering in this article are intended for diagnosing a PC where you can at least get Windows to start. If Windows—or your PC itself—wont start, check out our guidance on what to do when Windows won’t boot, instead.
Check the Reliability Monitor
The Windows Reliability Monitor offers a quick, user-friendly interface that displays recent system and application crashes. It was added in Windows Vista, so it will be present on all modern versions of Windows.
To open it, just hit Start, type “reliability,” and then click the “View reliability history” shortcut.
The Reliability Monitor window is arranged by dates with columns at the right representing the most recent days. You can see a history of events for the last few weeks, or you can switch to a weekly view. The column for each day shows events recorded for that day.
If Windows crashed or froze, you’ll see a red circle with an “X” representing the failure. Click that day’s column and you’ll see more information at the bottom. Critical events are typically what you’re really looking for here, but the other information can be useful as well. For example, the history will show when you installed software, so you might be able to see whether crashes started occuring after the installation of a particular app.
If you see an interesting event listed, double-click it to open a details window with more information. Here, we can see that Windows had trouble starting due to trouble with a hard disk.
You can use the…
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