Whether you're sleuthing server-performance problems, determining how to tune your system, or sizing a server for new applications, the first step is to learn how to leverage your OS's native performance tools. As Windows NT 4.0 became more popular and IT professionals creatively used it for more complex and larger solutions, the OS's native performance tools quickly began to show their age. Although NT 4.0's core performance tools are still available in Windows 2000 (Win2K), Microsoft has enhanced them to keep up with today's IT professionals. Win2K's primary performance tools include System Performance Monitor and Windows Task Manager. If you're familiar with NT 4.0's Performance Monitor and Task Manager, you'll quickly master Win2K's enhanced versions and enjoy taking advantage of their new features.
Which tool is best for you? Most likely, you'll use both Performance Monitor and Task Manager, depending on your mission. Performance Monitor is the tool of choice for obtaining detailed information, logging data for extended analysis, and collecting performance information based on performance events that occur within your system. Task Manager provides a quick look into what is occurring on your system, but it doesn't provide a mechanism for logging. However, Task Manager lets you manage applications (that is, processes) that might be adversely affecting your system.