Software

How to use the Windows 10 System Diagnostic Report to gather troubleshooting info on the fly

Event Viewer may not be the perfect tool for tracking down hardware and software problems. But Systems Diagnostic Report can deliver a wealth of information--even as the problem is occurring.

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Image: iStockphoto.com/nehopelon

In Windows 10, you can use the Event Viewer to track down issues you're having with hardware and software—but doing so requires effort as well as an understanding of what you're looking at. Fortunately, Windows 10 comes with another tool, called System Diagnostic Report, which is a part of Performance Monitor. It can display the status of hardware resources, system response times, and processes on your computer, along with system information and configuration data. The neat trick with the System Diagnostic Report is that you can use it to gather troubleshooting information while the problem is occurring.

In this article, I'll show you how to use the System Diagnostic Report to gather troubleshooting information. I'll then examine the resulting report.

Running the report

To begin, launch an Administrative Command Prompt window by right-clicking on the Start button. Then, choose Command Prompt (Admin) from the Quick Link menu. Once the Command Prompt is accessible, enter the following command and press [Enter]:

perfmon /report

This will bring up the Resource And Performance Monitor window shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Figure A

Once you initiate the report, you'll see Resource And Performance Monitor window.

The Report Status section indicates that System Diagnostics will be collecting data for 60 seconds. At this point, you can initiate the procedure or task that is causing the problem. If you're successful in re-creating the problem condition while System Diagnostics is collecting data, information pertaining to the problem will be added to the report.

As a test, I connected a mouse I've been having trouble with, while System Diagnostics was collecting data. After 60 seconds, the Report Status section indicated that System Diagnostics was generating the report, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Figure B

Once the collection operation is complete, the report will be generated.

When the report is complete, it will appear in the Resource And Performance Monitor window, as shown in Figure C. Any error conditions that existed or that occurred while System Diagnostics was collecting data will appear in the report.

Figure C

Figure C

Once the report is complete, it will appear in the Resource And Performance Monitor window.

While System Diagnostics was collecting data, it picked up and recorded information about the mouse I was having problems with. This information is displayed in the Error section. System Diagnostics also picked up several other problems I wasn't aware of.

The warning section contains five pieces of information:

  • Symptom is basically an internal error message. System Diagnostics configures it as a link you can use to get to a more detailed section of the report.
  • Cause is a description of the error condition.
  • Details provides more detailed information on the error.
  • Resolution givesyou a basic set of instructions on how to fix the problem.
  • Related provides links to articles on the Microsoft Web site that cover the problem.

Unfortunately, when I clicked on the links in the Related area, I encountered a Windows Vista Help And How-To page and The Update Management TechCenter home page. It appears that Microsoft has dropped the ball with these links.

However, when I clicked on the Symptom link in the error section, the report jumped down to the PlugAndPlay Classes section, shown in Figure D. Here I found information indicating that I just needed to update the device driver for the mouse.

Figure D

Figure D

The Symptom link will take you to more detailed information within the report.

What's your take?

Have you used System Diagnostic Report as a troubleshooting aid in Windows 10? If so, did you find it useful? Share your thoughts and experiences with fellow TechRepublic members.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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