Windows Vista Diagnostics
Vista’s built-in diagnostics are a quantum leap forward from anything seen in XP. Windows Diagnostic Infrastructure (WDI) uses logic to analyse the output from Vista’s internal software routines, and thus troubleshoots your problem. Once you summon Vista’s diagnostics, they can often resolve a fault automatically. If that strategy fails, then the troubleshooter shows you a list of possible actions, and thus you can solve the problem for yourself.
Each area of Vista has its own diagnostics. Depending on feedback from the built-in resolver, Vista can call upon event-based diagnosis, on-demand diagnosis, or a counter-based diagnosis. Here are the four main areas which are patrolled by Vista’s diagnostics.
Topics for Built-in Diagnostics
- Network Diagnostics and Troubleshooting
- Disk Diagnostics
- Memory Diagnostics
- Resource Exhaustion Prevention
- Event Logs
When an XP machine lost its network connection, you merely got an error message. Now if a Vista machine loses connectivity, the response is much more intelligent and pro-active. When you can call for the Network Troubleshooter, the first thing it does is to try to restore the connection automatically. Failing that, the Network Diagnostics presents you with a list of repair options.
Under the covers, Vista consults the Network Diagnostics Framework (NDF). As you may guess, this new NDF technology extends to wireless diagnostics.
Hard disks usually show warning signs before failure, which in the past were merely logged in the system event log. Windows Vista has built-in diagnostics which listen for these messages. The troubleshooter not only alerts you, but also suggests data backup and disk replacement techniques.
One reason for using up-to-date kit is that new hard disks include SMART technology (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology Naturally, Vista detects listens in and acts upon these SMART messages. It is claimed that Vista can even detect applications experiencing bad block problems, and silently restore the corrupted data from backup, presumably using the Volume Shadow Copy service.
The Vista Memory Diagnostics monitors the memory hardware. If the built-in Vista diagnostics finds an error it will alert you and ask you to run more exhaustive analysis with the Windows Memory Diagnostic tests. If Vista can contact MOCA (Microsoft’s Online Crash Analysis) then it can check if an error is due to failing memory, the software can prompt the user to perform memory diagnostics, which will run detailed tests on your RAM modules. Incredibly, MOCA and Vista can do all this diagnosis without requiring an additional download or separate boot disk.
LEM will alert you to problems such as when a key application on a particular server is unavailable. It can also detect when services have stopped, or if there is a network latency problem. Perhaps this log and event management tool’s most interesting ability is to take corrective action, for example by restarting services, or isolating the source of a maleware attack.
Yet perhaps the killer reason why people use LEM is for its compliance capability, with a little help from you, it will ensure that your organization complies with industry standards such as CISP or FERPA. LEM is a really smart application that can make correlations between data in different logs, then use its built-in logic to take corrective action, to restart services, or thwart potential security breaches – give LEM a whirl.
Resource Exhaustion Prevention monitors disk, memory, processor time and network bandwidth. When any of these four crucial resources approaches its limit, Windows Vista warns users that their applications may experience problems. The Resource Exhaustion Prevention monitor then presents the user with a list of the top consumers, and thus helps you to identify the source of the problem.