Saturday, March 24, 2007

Vista Reliability Monitor

One of the best features of Vista is its "Reliability Monitor."

Vista's Reliability Monitor assigns a "Reliability Index" from 0 to 10 to your system daily, based on the number and frequency of the following types of failures:
  • Application Failures
  • Hardware Failures
  • Windows Failures
  • Miscellaneous Failures
Vista's Reliability Monitor also tracks all software installations and uninstalls, which is very useful for correlating failures to software changes in your system.

Vista Ultimate x64 (RTM Build 6000) was installed on Nighthawk on January 20, 2007. As one can see from the System Stability Chart, it was very stable with a Reliability Index of 10 from its Vista installation until February 1, 2007.

What happened with Nighthawk on February 1, 2007?

On February 1, I installed a new driver (and software) for my Hauppauge PVR150 TV Tuner card in an attempt to make it work with Vista's Windows Media Center.

The Hauppauge PVR150 does not work with Vista x64 on a computer with the ASUS P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP motherboard, 4GB of memory, and "Memory Remap" enabled in BIOS.

I installed the Hauppauge WinTV2000 application to see if it would work with the PVR150. The WinTV2000 application failed in each of 3 attempts with a "Stopped responding" condition as noted by Vista's Reliability Monitor.

Nighthawk's Reliability Index fell to 8.3 because of these failures.

Nighthawk's Reliability Index continued to fall in the following days as I grappled with troublesome drivers for my NVIDIA 8800GTS video card and my onboard SoundMAX audio device.

Although these problems were very annoying, the next problem confronting me starting on February 8, 2007 was more serious: my RAID0 array consisting of 2 Maxtor SATA II 500GB drives connected to the onboard Intel ICH8R Controller started failing with an iaStor error ("The device, \Device\Ide\iaStor0, did not respond within the timeout period.")

What changes did I make to Nighthawk just before this serious iaStor timeout problem started happening?

Well, I enabled the onboard Realtek RTL8187 Wireless 802.11g device and installed the ASUS WiFi-AP Version 6.1262.1212.2006 driver on February 6, 2007 as previously noted in this Blog.

Windows Update subsequently downloaded and installed an even newer version: Version 6.1272.106.2007 dated 1/6/2007 without asking me!

Vista's Reliability Monitor showed even more interesting (incriminating?) information.

On that same date, the driver for the Intel ICH8 Family USB and USB2 Universal Host Controllers 2834, 2835 and 283A were updated to Version Note that I had installed Intel's Chipset Driver Version on Nighthawk immediately after installing Vista Ultimate x64.

Yesterday, I started suspecting that the onboard Realtek RTL8187 Wireless device and its driver was the cause of the iaStor timeout problem. I disabled it in BIOS and started Nighthawk. However, Vista Ultimate x64 started experiencing iaStor timeout errors (26 errors) approximately 3 hours later.

I shutdown Nighthawk, disabled all USB devices, and restarted Nighthawk. Approximately 20 hours later, Vista Ultimate x64 was running stable without any iaStor timeout problems.


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