18 March 2012

Windows Performance Monitor

Windows Performance Monitor is a great tool that built into Windows to monitor the system performance. The majority of users using Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Delete) to check the system performance like CPU Usage, Memory, etc. but the Windows Task Manager has its own limitation. If you need a tool to check and monitor Windows and program performance, then I suggest using the Windows Performance Monitor.
With Windows Performance Monitor you are able to observe the system routine in real time as well as from a log file (previously recorded computer performance data). You can store log data for later analysis by making a Data Collector Set. A Data Collector Set is an organized multiple data collection points and it includes three different types of data:

Performance counters 
are a measurement of operating system or individual program activities.

Event trace data 
is a collection of operating system or individual program actions or events that made available by trace providers. Output of various trace providers called Trace Session.

Configuration Information 
is a collection of recorded Windows registry key values at a specified time or as part of a log file.

Performance Monitor tool
To open the Windows Performance Monitor in the Start search box or Run type perfmon and hit the Enter key. 

When the Performance Monitor window opened, from the left panel and under the Monitoring Tools, click on the Performance Monitor to see the performance of Windows current activity as a graph with detailed information.

You can change the graph type by selecting its option from the toolbar at the top of the graph. You can change it to Histogram bar or the Report view from its default value Line. 

The graph you are seeing in this section is the same graph that you can find in Windows Task Manager with more information for further analyze.

To view a Log data click on its icon on the top of the graph. In the Performance Monitor Properties you can choose the Current activity or select a particular Log file that you created before. A log data is a collection of data that shows you the Windows Performance or condition. It holds the Windows recording events so you can use to analyze and diagnose the Windows problems. To know how to create a Log file continue reading this article.

To add Performance Counters for analyzing or test, from the toolbar you have to click on plus sing (+). 

Performance Counters are objects that contain data for individual task or application. You can use Counters to examine the performance of certain Windows tasks, components or program like Processor performance, TCP/IP, Ports, etc. In the Add Counters window from the Local computer or Local network or Home Group, choose the counters that you want to see their performance and click on Add button and then OK the window. You can add a single counter or multiple counters for analyzing. The Windows Performance Counters can be categorized into four categories:

Processor Performance Counters
Memory Performance Counters
Disk Performance Counters
Network Performance Counters

Another feature that Performance Monitor offers you is to monitor a remote computer. From the menu bar select Action and then Connect to another computer. In the Select Computer window, enter the remote computer name or browse it from the list and click on OK

How to create Data Collector Sets or Log File
A Data collector Set is a set of Windows performance reports that can provide you historical report for the system's collection sets that gives you advanced information about system resources like CPU or RAM. It is an ordered data collection points combined in a single component for further analyzing of Windows performance. As I said before it can be contains Performance Counters, Configuration data and Trace Providers. A Data Collector Set can be created manually, from a template or from an existing set.

Create a Data Collector Set Manually

1. Expand the Data Collector Sets from the left panel and right-click on User Defined. In the drop down menu, select New>Data Collector Set.

2. In the next window, give a name for your collector set, choose Create manually (Advanced) and then hit the Next button.

3. Now select Create data logs and tick Performance counter, Event trace data and System configuration information options and click on the Next button. It is not necessary to pick all the three options, you can select any one of them that you want to study.

4. In the next window you have to select the Performance Counters. Then Interval time and units, for this tutorial I have chosen TCPv4 and time interval 15 seconds. After selecting the desired performance counter or counters (you can select as many as you want) hit the Next button.

5. Next window is for choosing the Event Trace Providers that can be used for testing activities and system events. They usually installed at the time of installing the Windows operating system, but they can be installed as a part of non-Microsoft application also.

6. Finally select the Registry Key or Configuration Data. Add the registry key that you want to track in this section. You have to enter the exact key for tracking a particular key.

7. Click on the Next button to go to the next step to set up the Root directory location to save the Data Collector Set. Enter or browse the directory you want to save your data or leave it at its default value and hit the Next button.

8. Last step is to save and finish the Data Collector Set. You have three options, Open properties, Start this data and Save and close. If you choose the first option, the Data Collector Set Properties window will be open in case you need to modify it again before you finish the process. The second option will save the data and immediately run the Data Collector Set. The last option will save it without running the collection. Select any option you want and finish the process.

9. To start a User Defined Collector Set, expand the Data Collector Sets>User Defined and click on the Data Collector Set that you have created before. Then from the toolbar click on the Start button.

10. Wait till the process gets finished, as I have set my data collector set 1 time interval for 15 seconds, so I should wait at least for 15 seconds. To see the result and performance, expand the Reports>User Defined and then select your user defined collector set to check its report as a graph with detailed information.

Windows Performance Monitor is a great tool to check the system performance and for diagnostic the Windows problems and it gives the ability to explore system resources and applications performance like CPU performance, Memory usage, Network and many more.