Chapter 21: Getting Help and Handling Advanced Support Issues
With disk faults, hardware diagnostics alerts you about a disk that is failing and
helps guide you through the process of backing up your computer. Performance
problems addressed by built-in diagnostics include slow application startup, slow
boot, slow standby/resume, and slow shutdown. If a computer is experiencing
degraded performance, performance diagnostics can detect the problem and provide
possible solutions for resolving it.
Some of the more serious problems you may be alerted to are memory leaks and fail-
ing memory. Memory leaks are caused by applications or system components that
don’t free up memory they’ve previously allocated, and this can cause your com-
puter to run out of available memory. Failing memory can also be exceptionally diffi-
cult to troubleshoot. To detect system crashes possibly caused by failing memory,
memory diagnostics works with the Microsoft Online Crash Analysis tool. If your
computer crashes due to failing memory and memory diagnostics detects this, you
are prompted to schedule a memory test the next time the computer is restarted. If
you suspect that your computer has a memory problem, you can run Windows
Memory Diagnostics manually as well by completing these steps:
1. Click Start
➝ All Programs ➝ Accessories.
2. Right-click Command Prompt and then select Run As Administrator.
3. At the command prompt, type
4. Choose whether to restart the computer and run the tool immediately or sched-
ule the tool to run at the next restart.
5. Windows Memory Diagnostics runs automatically after the computer restarts
and performs a standard memory test automatically. If you want to perform
fewer or more tests, press F1, use the Up and Down arrow keys to set the Test
Mix as Basic, Standard, or Extended, and then press F10 to apply the desired set-
tings and resume testing.
6. When testing is completed, the computer restarts automatically. You’ll see the
test results when you log on.
Built-in diagnostics is only one part of a comprehensive overhaul of the operating
system. Windows Vista:
• Prevents many common causes of hangs and crashes by using more reliable and
better performing device drivers. Improved input/output (I/O) cancellation for
device drivers ensures that there are fewer blocking disk I/O operations and that
Windows Vista can recover gracefully from any blocking calls that do occur.
• Reduces downtime and restarts required for application installations and
updates by marking in-use files for update and then automatically replacing the
files the next time the application is started. In some cases, Windows Vista can
save the application’s data, close the application, update the in-use files, and
then restart the application.