Section 8.3: Monitoring System Performance

8.3.1: Using Task Manager

You use the Performance tab in Task Manager to monitor the current performance of your computer. The Performance tab shows overall computer performance and displays a dynamic overview of the computer's current performance, including a numeric display and graph of processor and memory usage.

CPU Usage displays the current processor usage, while the CPU Usage History graph shows the history of processor usage. MEM Usage displays the current memory usage, while the Memory Usage History graph shows a combined history of the information in the MEM Usage column on the Processes tab.

Table 8.1: Performance Tab Performance Measures

Process Measures Description
Totals The number of handles, threads, and processes running on the computer.
Physical Memory (in KB) Total: Amount of installed physical RAM

Available: Amount of physical memory available to processes

System Cache: Amount of physical memory released to the file cache on demand.
Commit Charge (in KB) Total: Size of virtual memory in use by all processes.

Limit: Amount of virtual memory that can be committed to all processes without enlarging the paging file.

Peak: Maximum amount of virtual memory used in the session. If the commit peak exceeds the commit limit, virtual memory is temporarily expanded to accommodate the new peak.
Kernel Memory (in KB) Total: Sum of paged and nonpaged memory.

Paged: Size of the paged memory pool allocated to the operating system.

Nonpaged: Size of the nonpaged memory pool allocated to the operating system

8.3.2: Using the Performance Console

You can monitor system performance by using Performance Console and its counters. This can be used to determine the computer's efficiency and locate and resolve current or potential bottleneck problems.

The Performance Console contains a number of objects, each with its own set of counters. Table 8.2 describes a few of the available Performance Console objects.

Table 8.2: Some Performance Console Objects

Object Option Description
Cache Monitors the file system cache that is used to buffer physical device data
Memory Monitors the physical and virtual memory
PhysicalDisk Monitors a hard drive
Processor Monitors processors Adding Counters

To monitor the performance of an object, you must add the appropriate counter that is relevant to the aspects of the object you want to monitor. To add counters to an object in Performance Console:

  • on the start button
  • Point to PROGRAMS
  • Right-click the COUNTERS
  • In the Performance Object box, select the object for which you want to add counters.
  • Select a counter from the list
  • Click ADD
  • When you have selected the desired objects and counters, click close

Table 8.3: Some Useful Performance Console Counters

Counter Description
Processor: %Processor Time The percentage of time that the processor spends executing a non-idle thread. A count that is continuously above 75% indicates that the processor is causing a bottleneck and should be upgraded.
Memory: Pages/Sec The number of pages that were not in RAM when requested or had to be moved to virtual memory to free up RAM. A count of up to 20 is acceptable.
PhysicalDisk: %Disk Time The amount of time the disk drive is busy. A count of over 50% indicates a system problem.
PhysicalDisk: Disk Queue Length The number of waiting I/O requests. A count of up to 2 is acceptable.