There are lots of standalone solutions for identifying and fixing PC problems, but sometimes we forget about the resources our operating systems already have for tracking down issues. The Windows Reliability Monitor is a good case in point.
Regular Lifehacker comment Warcroft wrote in with this handy pointer for Windows users:
Hey, you may or may not know about this little feature. I just found out about this today. Never knew it existed. If you have a Vista or Windows 7 machine click your Start button and in the search box type 'reliability'.
On a Vista PC at work the print spooler was crashing every 30 seconds. For weeks I've been scouring the Internet looking for a solution . I'd tried every possible suggestion but nothing was working. Then some guy, on some obscure blog site about himself, his wife and their five cats, posted about this reliability feature. I was able to look back through the computers history and see exactly what day this problem started, what time, what it was doing and what was causing it. I was then able to hunt down the one little file that was causing such dramas and hey presto, it's all working again! So, hats off for this little feature.
Searching for 'reliability' actually launches the Reliability Monitor, which lists issues that have occurred on your PC in chronological order. It won't fix every problem, but it's definitely a useful resource to start your troubleshooting efforts. Thanks Warcroft!