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Troubleshooting hardware related issues within Windows

Windows 7 & 10

Windows 7 and 10 have some great utilities already built into them. In fact, there is so much in Windows that most of us don’t even know about, that we go and buy software that already does what Windows does. Even so-called power users can get caught in this trap. It’s almost like having a Swiss Army knife with so many blades, that we just go out and buy a normal pocket knife.

Resource & Performance Monitor

Both of these operating systems have a built-in diagnostic tool you might not have ever known about. To access the Resource and Performance Monitor, simply hold down your Windows key and press the letter R. A new window will open and you can type in the command perfmon /report, then click on OK.

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A new window will open and will begin collecting data. This process takes a minute.

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Then you’ll get a report with more information than you or I will probably ever know what to do with. The main report that you want to look at though is the Diagnostic Results – Warnings and the Resource Overview. The Diagnostic Results Warning only comes up if there are some warnings.

What’s nice about this is that there are links to more information about the situation and how to remedy it.

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The Resource Overview is going to give you the red-yellow-green light overview of the major parts of your system. This gives you an instant overview of the health of these major components. Apparently my computer could use some more RAM, as I have a red light on my Memory. Or I could close a few applications I don’t need running right now.

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There are several other reports available from the Performance Monitor, but most of those are advanced information. If you want to take the time to read up on them and understand them better, then good for you! You will become more intimate and proficient with your Windows system than you ever thought possible. Go for it!

Test Your RAM – Windows Memory Diagnostic

Another Windows feature is the ability to test your RAM, or memory, and see how that’s all working. What you’re looking for is the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool. You can find that on your Start Menu > Administrative Tools > Windows Memory Diagnostic or just type Windows Memory Diagnostic in your  Windows search bar.

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Once you click on that, you’ll be given the option to either restart the computer and test the memory now, or to test the memory on the next system restart. Unless you’re in a rush right now to find out, go ahead and choose the restart option.

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Now, when you restart your computer you are going to see a text-based screen telling you that the memory test is being performed. There are things about the test that you can change, but it will run a Standard Test by default. That will be good enough for our purposes. Once the test is done, if there are errors, Windows Memory Diagnostic will try to figure out what memory module is causing the problem and tell you. That’s a good time to replace that bit of RAM.

Error messages will also be recorded in the system log in that you can access via the Event Viewer – another cool piece of Windows software you might not have known about.


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  1. Ben Cartwright

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