Selected Scenarios for Evaluating Reliability Diagnostics in Windows Vista

Microsoft® Windows Vista® offers new features that help to improve system reliability, thus improving long-term system performance. This document describes two of these new features: Resource Exhaustion Detection and Recovery and Windows Memory Diagnostic. For more information about reliability features of Windows Windows Vista, see the "Windows Vista Beta 2 Performance Monitoring and Tuning Step by Step Guide" on the Microsoft Web site (

What’s New in Reliability

  • Resource Exhaustion Detection and Recovery
  • Windows Memory Diagnostic

Benefits of New or Changed Features for Reliability

Windows Windows Vista includes a number of new features and technologies that help you maintain and track the performance, reliability, and stability of your system. Some features, such as the ones outlined in this guide, include an interface, while others operate automatically. For example, Restart Manager can shut down and restart applications without requiring you to intervene or restart the computer. This means that the number of times you must restart the system in order to apply an update will decrease with Windows Vista.

Resource Exhaustion Detection and Recovery

Resource Exhaustion Detection and Recovery warns you when critical resources are low. It also identifies the processes consuming the largest amount of a given resource and helps you reclaim that resource. When Windows Vista issues a resource exhaustion warning, it also logs events in the event log that include detailed data useful for subsequent analysis. In the long term, Windows Vista improves reliability and decreases file corruption by helping to prevent applications that stop responding or forced system restarts caused by resource exhaustion.

Windows Memory Diagnostic

Defective computer memory can be a difficult problem to diagnose. It can mimic application or operating system problems, leading to hours of wasted troubleshooting effort. Windows Memory Diagnostic, one of a suite of Built-in Diagnostics in Windows Vista, monitors your system, looking for symptoms of defective memory. When it discovers a potential problem, will automatically a comprehensive test of your system's memory. You can also run these diagnostic tests manually whenever you suspect a memory problem. If Windows Memory Diagnostic detects a problem, it will notify the user and log information to the event log for subsequent analysis.

What's the Impact of New or Changed Reliability Features

Resource Exhaustion Detection and Recovery

Resource Exhaustion Detection and Recovery requires no configuration and consumes no overhead, so it has no impact on normal system operations. Currently, this Built-in Diagnostic monitors only the system-wide virtual memory commit limit.

Windows Memory Diagnostic

There are currently no known impacts associated with Windows Memory Diagnostic.

Key Scenarios for Evaluating These Reliability Features in Your Organization

This guide discusses the following scenarios:

  • Evaluating Resource Exhaustion Detection and Recovery
  • Checking computer memory with Windows Memory Diagnostic

Resource Exhaustion Detection and Recovery

There is no straightforward scenario for evaluating this feature. However, it is possible that in the course of daily operations, you might encounter a situation that exhausts virtual memory to a point that this diagnostic is triggered. Alternatively, if you have test tools that are designed to consume the virtual memory, you could use them to create this condition in order to see resource exhaustion detection in action.

Resource Exhaustion Detection and Recovery constantly monitors your system automatically, so it requires no configuration. This Built-in Diagnostic monitors only the local client computer.

If your system is about to run out of virtual memory, resource exhaustion detection will generate the following dialog box:

You can close any or all of the resource-consuming applications directly from the dialog box.

Resource Exhaustion Detection and Recovery also creates a variety of events in the event log, some of which include detailed binary data about the processes that are consuming the most memory. Currently, this data is only in binary format. You can find these events in the System Log using Event Viewer.

Checking Computer Memory with Windows Memory Diagnostic

Windows Memory Diagnostic has previously been available as a download. In Windows Vista, this tool is built into the operating system and you can run it on demand without having to use an external disk.

Prerequisites for Checking Computer Memory with Windows Memory Diagnostic

To complete this task, ensure that your computer is running Windows Vista.

Administrative credentials

To complete this task, you must run Windows Memory Diagnostic either as Administrator or with elevated privileges.


You must run this tool with elevated privileges even if your account is in the Computer Administrators group.

Known Issues for Using Windows Memory Diagnostic

There are no known issues for using Windows Memory Diagnostic at this time.

Running Through the Test Scenario

This scenario gives you the opportunity to explore running Windows Memory Diagnostic from the local computer in Windows Vista. For detailed information about using this tool, including its various options, see the "Windows Memory Diagnostic" on the Microsoft Online Crash Analysis Web site (

To run Windows Memory Diagnostic

  1. Click Start, click All Programs, and then expand Accessories.

  2. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run elevated from the context menu.

  3. At the command prompt, type mdsched.exe. If you are prompted, allow the action. You can choose to restart the computer and run the tool immediately or schedule the tool to run at the next restart.

  4. Windows Memory Diagnostic runs automatically after the computer restart. Windows Memory Diagnostic allows you to choose among three test suites of varying thoroughness.