Chapter 7
you are working on has Fast User Switching enabled, is a member of a work-
group, or is a standalone computer. The Users tab is unavailable on com-
puters that are members of a network domain.
For any other vital statistics on a system, or for more detailed and in-depth
inquiries, use the System Monitor and the Performance Logs and Alerts
tools, which are available as part of the Performance MMC snap-in.
Customizing Real-Time Monitoring with
System Monitor
As mentioned earlier, you can use the System Monitor to view the status of
many system components in real time and display them in any of three dif-
ferent views—graph, histogram, or report. The graph view is the default, and
it supports the most optional settings. The histogram view is a bar-chart con-
figuration. The report view is simply a list of the performance objects, coun-
ters, and their associated instances in a report-like format.
Using the System Monitor, you can display the local computer along with
several remote computers over a network connection all at the same time.
To modify the display properties of the system monitor, right-click the view
(the right pane of the Performance console) and choose Properties. You can
alter all properties of the System Monitor view, including the display color
of counters, the scale and sample rate, and the format of the monitor’s dis-
play—which can be in a graph, a histogram (bar chart), or a report (numeric
display) format.
Rather than just display real-time statistics, you can also choose to record the
system performance of the local or remote computers to a log file using the
Performance Logs and Alerts node of the Performance snap-in. To record
the values, see the section “Using Logged Monitoring with Performance
Logs and Alerts,” later in this chapter.
To obtain the most accurate results when monitoring a computer’s performance
with System Monitor, you should monitor a computer remotely. System Monitor
itself requires a certain amount of overhead to run. Therefore, when you run
System Monitor on the same machine you are measuring, the performance data
can be negatively affected and the results might be somewhat skewed.
Adding and Removing Objects, Counters, and Instances
System Monitor offers you a variety of ways to add objects, counters, and
instances to its list of monitored items; which we simply refer to collectively
as counters.
Monitoring and Analyzing Operating System Performance
To add counters, you can click the plus symbol (+) on the icon bar, you can
press Ctrl+I on the keyboard, or you can right-click the right (details) pane
in any view and select Add Counters. To both add and remove counters, you
can right-click the details pane in any view, select Properties, and click the
Data tab.
Any of these methods opens the Add Counters dialog box shown in
Figure 7.6.
Figure 7.6 Adding performance counters to System Monitor with the Add Counters dialog box.
To remove counters from System Monitor, you can select the counter that
you want to remove at the bottom of the details pane and press the Del key
on the keyboard.
Using Logged Monitoring with Performance Logs and Alerts
The Performance Logs and Alerts tool in Windows XP is the other half of
the Performance snap-in. Performance Logs and Alerts supports logged mon-
itoring to log files whose size is only limited by the maximum supported file
size for the file system on which the logs are stored. In addition, you can
append performance data onto existing log files.
The Performance Logs and Alerts tool offers you three major benefits:
The ability to record system performance data at specified intervals over
time using counter logs
A method to record detailed system events after specific events (triggers)
occur using trace logs

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