How to Set up System Monitor Notifications on Management Client vs Using the Boring Toolbox

In this blog post, we'll show you two ways to set up camera health notifications for your Milestone XProtect VMS so you can rest easy knowing that your cameras are always functioning properly.
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Do you ever get that feeling when something just doesn’t seem right, but you can’t quite put your finger on it? Well, security administrators know that feeling all too well. It’s the little voice in the back of your head that says “I think there might be a problem with one of my cameras.” And if you’re like most administrators, you probably ignore that voice more often than not.

But we’ve got some good news for you. You can set up Milestone XProtect to automatically notify you when something’s wrong with one of your cameras. Woo hoo!

In this blog post, we’ll show you two ways to set up camera health notifications for your Milestone XProtect VMS so you can rest easy knowing that your cameras are always functioning properly.

What Are Camera Health Notifications and Why Are They Important?

Camera health notifications are an important part of any video surveillance system. They work by constantly monitoring the health of all your cameras and alerting you when there is a problem. This can be anything from a camera that’s gone offline to one that has the wrong credentials.

This is an important feature because it can help prevent lost video footage. For example, if a camera goes offline, the notification will tell you so that you can investigate what went wrong. This can help you avoid any potential problems down the road, such as losing footage due to a broken or malfunctioning camera.

What is System Monitor?

System Monitor is the real-time monitoring tool that comes built into Milestone XProtect. This feature is important because it monitors the health of your recording servers, storage, cameras, and the VMS itself. It is Milestone’s solution for giving XProtect end-users insight into the inner workings of their VMS so they can monitor the various systems for errors and problems that may jeopardize video retention.

How to Set Up Camera Health Notifications in Milestone Management Client

Step 1: Set Up Your Mail Server

For instructions on how to do that, refer to our blog on How To Send XProtect Notifications Securely

Step 2: Set up a Notification Profile

Scroll down the left navigation and select Notification Profiles

Right-click on Notification Profiles, select Add Notification Profile

Follow the wizard to set up your new notification profile

Name your new profile

Add the recipients, create subject, test the email, once satisfied, press finish

Step 3: Create a Rule to Monitor Camera Disconnects

Step 4: Right Click on Rules, Select Add Rule

Step 5: Follow the Wizard to Build the Rule

Name the rule

Set it to active (default)

Select Perform an action on <event>

Click on each of the bold blue words. This will pop-up a window for you to select the appropriate event.


Step 6: Your Rule Should Look Like This

Step 7: Create a Rule to Monitor Camera Recovery (Reconnects)

Step 8: To Do This You Will Create Another Rule, Which Looks Like This

Now every time a camera device disconnects, even for a split second, you will receive an email notification. You will then also receive a notification when it reconnects.

What Are The Main Challenges With Milestone's System Monitor Notifications?

If you’re using Milestone’s camera notifications, you may find yourself inundated with emails or struggling to decipher the data delivery. Here are some common challenges people face when using this system:

The Setup Process Is Tedious

As you can see by the steps outlined above, the setup process for these notifications isn’t as straightforward as you’d hope. But the value you get from knowing whether your cameras are working properly or not far outweighs the time it takes to set the alerts up.

Your Email Inbox Can Get Messy

One of the most frustrating things about Milestone’s camera notifications is that it sends an email for EVERY down event detected by the cameras.

So, if a camera goes down for even a second or 1,000 cameras go down at the same time, you’re going to get an email… or in the latter case, 1,000 emails.

Yikes! This can be really overwhelming for obvious reasons.

Sorting Through Emails for Information Can Be Frustrating and Time-Consuming

Because information about each camera’s down even comes as an individual email, that means you’ll need to spend quite a bit of time sifting through each email and correlating the data manually to get a full picture of the problem you are dealing with. 

Luckily there is a tool that solves ALL of these challenges and takes less than 10 minutes to get set up with–it’s called The Boring Toolbox!

Here’s how it works:

What Is the Best Alternative to Milestone’s Built-in Heath Monitoring Notifications?

If you aren’t a fan of your inbox getting spammed with notifications, The Boring Lab offers a great alternative that is designed to solve the specific challenges experienced in Milestone. Enter The Boring Toolbox: a complete solution for teams that want valuable data about their VMS delivered in a way that makes sense. 

The Boring Toolbox’s Smart Notifications tell you exactly what you need to know about camera and recording server-down events, without spamming your inbox. 

  • Customizable thresholds ensure every alert is meaningful.
  • One email contains complete information about system-wide down events.
  • Receive a second email notification only when service is restored.

As an example, I triggered a few errors to demonstrate what I mean…

I changed the password on 7 cameras with 11 devices in milestone.  This disconnected the cameras from the recording server causing them to stop providing video.

I then changed the passwords back to the correct ones, recovering the video streams. 

I then watched the Milestone emails next to Boring Smart Notifications.  

These were the results…

Milestone Notifications

33 emails from “ops”

The Boring Toolbox

2 emails from “alerts”

Comparing The Content's Value & Usability In Each Email Notification

Email Notification From Milestone:

Keep in mind that you will need to open each of the 33 emails received to fully understand the situation you are dealing with and how to best move forward with a solution.

Email Notification from The Boring Toolbox:

The email is designed to give you the full picture of what is happening with your system. The first tells you exactly how many and which cameras went down. The second email gives you the full details about the restoration events.

This makes your job infinitely easier by putting all of the information you need to take action at your fingertips.

No sifting, sorting, or correlating needed.


But is it easy to set up these “smart notifications”? Yes, very. 

How to Set Up Camera Health Notifications for Milestone Using The Boring Toolbox

Camera health notifications are an important part of managing your video surveillance system.

By setting up Milestone’s System Monitor notifications, you can be alerted to any potential issues with your cameras that may affect your video retention. Milestone’s camera monitoring notifications are free and included with their software but, as we’ve shown, may leave you gritting your teeth with new frustrations. 

The Boring Toolbox’s Smart Notifications leave little to be desired, offering you more control, better data, and more time to spend on more important things than sorting through email spam. 

So, go ahead and sign up for a 30-day free trial of the Boring Toolbox to start receiving valuable information about your system health – like camera health notifications. You’ll be glad you did when that one notification pops up letting you know that your video retention is about to take a nosedive. And we all know that nobody likes losing data (or their mind).

Want to try out The Boring Toolbox's smart notifications yourself? Sign up for a 30-day free trial today and get access to all of our time-saving tools for Milestone XProtect!

Team Boring

Your go-to XProtect eXPerts. We learn the technical stuff that will save you time and make it less boring.

Team Boring

Your go-to XProtect eXPerts. We learn the technical stuff that will save you time and make it less boring.

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