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How To Generate A System Health Report

Here’s how to use Windows 7 and Vista's built-in diagnostic tool to track down system problems and fix them.

Troubleshooting Windows is inevitable--a matter of when, not if. One of my favorite troubleshooting tools included in both Windows Vista and 7 is the Reliability and Performance Monitor. This handy diagnostic tool lets you generate a system health report that makes it easier to figure out problems when they occur, and maybe even head some off at the pass. Here's how to generate a report.

First, hit the the Windows shortcut key combined with R to bring up the Run box.

Type: perfmon /report

Hit Enter or click on OK.

This launches the Reliability and Performance Monitor. It will collect data for about a minute. Be patient!

When it finishes running its tests, you'll get a checklist of system components. Expand each one to find out if you've got a problem area or if you're good to go.

The full report covers system diagnostic results, a resource overview, your software and hardware configurations, the CPU, network, and more. Use these results to drill down to the specific issue you're having with Windows.

In this example, after drilling more deeply into the security section, I found that the Windows Security Center had found some problems.

I was able to go in and fix the various issues reported. It turned out my Windows Firewall was off and an anti-malware app had been disabled, among other problems.

Now, click on File >> Save as and export the system health report to an HTML file.

You can now send the report to your colleagues, the IT department, or other experts who can help put your system straight.

When something isn't working right, generating a system health report is a great place to start. It does a good job and it's free with Windows Vista and Windows 7. Luckily, I didn't find any major issues. But now I know exactly where my system's "health" stands.

Brian Burgess is the executive editor at BYTE. Follow him @mysticgeek. Got a comment or idea? Send it to him at

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