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Vista's Diagnostics and Sleep

written by: Dawn Tan•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 2/10/2009

With Vista you can quickly and efficiently check your computer's performance history and its current performance status using the Reliability and Performance Monitor and Performance and Information Tools included with Vista.

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    Vista's performance and diagnostic features

    start menu 

    Microsoft has designed Vista to make it easy to check and monitor the current performance of your PC. You can compare your computer’s performance at different times; such as implementing different applications (check sidebar “Check a Computer’s Health”), or determining the log-jam with a troublesome application. Vista’s performance tools can be located by clicking Start, and typing Performance in the Instant Search box. On the screen that appears you will see two choices; the Reliability and Performance Monitor and the Performance and Information Tools.

    The Reliability and Performance Monitor provides specific and detailed data on your PC’s resource usage and overall strength, but this information is probably only of value to geek-level users, like myself, and administrators. The Reliability Monitor could be your next best-friend, though, so you should spend a little quality time with her.Reliability and Performance Monitor 

    To have a look at the Reliability Monitor, click the Reliability and Performance Monitor, and then double-click the Monitoring Tools option located on the left, and finally select the Reliability Monitor. Displayed before you will be a graph showing your PC’s overall stability rating over indicated periods of time, included will be a reliability index rating (from 1-10) displayed on the right. Possible difficulties are shown on the graph by red crosses, while important moments are signaled by an information icon; just select any red-cross or information icon for up to data information. To check your computer’s stability on a particular day, click the data point associated with the date on the graph.

    Reliability monitor 

    The Performance and Information tools, on the other hand, were designed to be implemented by all Vista users. Here you’ll find the overall performance rating for your PC, with ratings for the systems processor, RAM memory, graphics card and hard drive. The overall base score indicated reflects the lowest of the ratings received by your PCs individually rated parts, the weakest link in the chain theory. Microsoft designed the rating system to allow the computer systems just-over-the-horizon to fall within the rating systems umbrella. All current computers and their components should fall within the 1 to 6 range on the scale, leaving plenty of space on the scale for future machines to break the barrier and score higher.

    The performance rating can be used to ensure your system has what it takes to run the interactive entertainment and high-powered software of today and tomorrow. Compatibility software and the minimum base score requirements for each can be found by selecting the View Software For My Base Score Online link.performance monitor 

    Look to the left on the Performance Information and Tools window and you’ll find a list of jobs designed to help optimize your PC’s performance. Users can fine-tune indexing options and power settings, clean-out the hard drive, scale back the visual effects, and determine the applications that appear at Startup.

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    Vista's Sleep

    Select Start and then the arrow next to the Lock This Computer icon, and a list of Vista's log-off and shutdown choices will appear -- Windows XP has Standby and Hibernate modes, but in Vista they have been replaced with Sleep mode.


    A combination of Windows XP's Hibernate/Standby modes, Sleep mode is Vista's default shutdown mode. Pushing the power button on your Vista Notebook or selecting the Power icon, just to the right of the Start Menu's Instant Search box, puts your computer into Sleep mode. In this mode all open applications and windows are automatically saved to system memory and the system goes into a low-power consumption mode. The information is also saved to your hard drive, allowing you to begin where you left off, even if there was a power interruption. Now, when you push your PC's power button, you won't have to wait for the time-consuming system restart and your information will be available for work.