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Using Performance Monitor to Troubleshoot System Performance in Windows XP Professional

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Performance Monitor in Windows XP is a utility that is included with the baseline of the operating system to assess both local and remote workstations’ performance. This article by Louis Columbus explains how Performance Monitor can be used to assess overall system performance.
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Learning how to use Performance Monitor definitely helps you to be able to track and analyze performance data. Performance Monitor has a variety of settings that can be used to help you understand how the Windows XP Professional operating system is operating. Performance Monitor's windows can also be arranged to better suit the needs of the user.

Launching Performance Monitor

Using Performance Monitor does not require any special administrative passwords or privileges, and is accessible to any of the user classes that are defined when a new login is defined. The Performance Monitor program is accessible through the Administrative Tools folder found within the Control Panel. You can also launch Performance Monitor by using the file PERFMON.EXE in the WINNT/SYSTEM32 subdirectory.

If you want to use disk monitoring in conjunction with Performance Monitor, be sure to also use the DISKPERF command. Without the DISKPERF command, the Physical and Logical Disk counters do not display any values. To use the DISKPERF command, you have to log in with administrative rights. To activate these counters using the DISKPERF command, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Windows XP Professional system as a member of the Administrators group.

  2. Select Start, Programs, Command Prompt to get to the command prompt.

  3. At the command prompt, type DISKPERF to see whether the disk performance counters have been turned on. If they are not turned on, type DISKPERF - Y to turn the counters on. Also, using the E switch with -Y allows performance monitoring of striped disk sets.

    You do not use striped disk sets, so you do not need to use the E parameter.

  4. Shut down and restart the system. The disk counters are not available to be tracked in Performance Monitor.


For more information about the DISKPERF command-line switches, type DISKPERF /? at the command prompt.

You can change certain display options to better organize the Performance Monitor's various graphical interfaces. You can perform actions such as hiding the menu and title bar, the toolbar, and the status bar. Hiding these items enables you to have a larger viewing area for your monitored data.

To hide or show the menu and title bar, toolbar, or status bar of Performance Monitor, do the following:

  1. If it is not already started, start Performance Monitor.

  2. Choose Options from the Performance Monitor menu. In the menu, items that are shown in the Performance Monitor window have a check mark beside the menu item.

  3. To hide an item that has a check mark beside it, select that item. You can select the following menu items: Menu and Title, Toolbar, and Status Bar. You can also hide the menu and title bar by pressing Ctrl+M. You can hide the toolbar by pressing Ctrl+T, and hide the status bar by pressing Ctrl+S.

  4. To show the items after they are hidden, perform steps 2 and 3 so the item has the check mark beside it. If the title bar and menu bar are hidden, you can show those items by double-clicking on a non-text area of the window. If the title bar and menu bar are shown, you can hide them by double-clicking in a non-text area in the Performance Monitor window.

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