Using System Monitor

System Monitor is a utility designed to track various processes on a Windows 2000 system in real time, using a graphical display. You can use the data from System Monitor to target processes and components that need to be optimized, monitor the results of tuning and configuration efforts, understand and observe trends in workloads and their effect on resource usage, and assist with tasks such as planning for upgrades. System Monitor takes the form of an MMC snap-in. It is named Perfmon.msc and can be found in the %SystemRoot%\System32\ folder.

Running System Monitor

When you launch System Monitor from the Administrative Tools folder on the Programs menu, you see the main console (Figure 33-5). The console tree in the left pane lists the MMC snap-ins associated with System Monitor, and the details pane is reserved for the graphic view where the counters you want to monitor are charted.

Figure 33-5. The System Monitor console.

System Monitor uses three types of items to monitor the system: objects, counters, and instances:

  • Object A collection of counters associated with a resource or service that generates data that you can evaluate. Each time an object performs a function, its corresponding counters are updated. A range of objects typically corresponding to major hardware components is built into the operating system. Some programs you install add other components and their corresponding objects. The following are the objects you'll use most frequently:
    • Browser Monitors the Browser service for a domain or workgroup.
    • Cache Monitors disk cache usage.
    • Memory Monitors memory performance for physical and virtual memory.
    • Objects Monitors the number of events, mutexes, processes, sections, semaphores, and threads on the computer at the time of data collection.
    • Paging File Monitors pagefile usage.
    • Physical Disk Monitors hard disks with one or more partitions.
    • Process Monitors all processes running on a machine.
    • Processor Monitors each processor on the system.
    • Server Monitors bytes, sessions, certain system errors, pool nonpaged usage, and pool paged usage.
    • System Monitors the counters that affect all of the hardware and software running on the system.
    • Thread Monitors all threads running in the system.
  • Counter A component within an object that represents data for a specific aspect of the system or service.
  • Instance A single occurrence of multiple performance objects of the same type on a machine. If a particular object has multiple instances, you can track the statistics for each instance by adding a counter for each. You can also add a counter to track all instances at once. An instantaneous counter, such as Process\ Thread Count, is an example of an instance. It displays the most recent count of the number of threads for a particular process. An instance can also be an average of the last two values for a process over a period of time between samples.

Adding Counters

By default, System Monitor displays the system's current processor utilization as a line graph. You can add counters by clicking Add Counters to display the Add Counters dialog box (Figure 33-6) or by clicking the Data tab in the Properties dialog box. System Monitor compresses the data as necessary to fit the details pane, and you can display dozens of counters at a time, more than you can comfortably view on a single screen.

Figure 33-6. The Add Counters dialog box.

Selecting Counters

In the Add Counters dialog box, you can select either the Use Local Computer Counters option or the Select Counters From Computer option. If you're monitoring the computer on which System Monitor is running, you'll want to select Use Local Computer Counters. If you want to monitor a different computer, select the Select Counters From Computer option, and then choose the name of the computer to be monitored from the list box.

In the Performance Object list box, specify an object to monitor. The Processor object is selected by default. For each object, you can choose to monitor all of the available counters or only those that you specify. To monitor all of the available counters for a particular object, select the All Counters option. To monitor only the counters you specify, select the Select Counters From List option. When you choose to select specific counters, you can obtain a description of any counter by selecting the name of the counter and then clicking Explain.

If you select a counter that has multiple instances, choose All Instances to monitor all instances of the selected counter, or choose Select Instances From List to specify the instances you want to monitor. If you monitor multiple instances of the same counter, you should be aware that the instance index number assigned to a particular instance might change over time. This possible change is a result of the instance starting and stopping and in the process being assigned a different instance index number.

Matching Counters to Graph Lines

You can determine which counter matches a line on the graph in two ways. First, a color and bar thickness is assigned to each counter within the legend. If you aren't monitoring many counters, you can easily match the color to the counter. Second, when you double-click a line in the graph, the corresponding counter is selected in the legend located under the graph. If chart lines are close together, try to locate a position in the graph where they diverge; otherwise, System Monitor will have difficulty pinpointing the actual line you're interested in.

You can also highlight a chart line by clicking the counter you want to highlight and then pressing Ctrl+H.

Deleting Counters

When you want to stop monitoring one or more counters, you have two options: you can delete only specific counters or you can delete all counters. To stop monitoring specific counters, open System Monitor, select the name of a counter in the legend in the System Monitor details pane, and click the Delete button on the toolbar. To delete all of the counters currently being monitored, click the New Counter Set button on the toolbar. You would do this if you wanted to start monitoring a new set of counters.

Modifying the Display

You can change the way System Monitor displays information by using the System Monitor Properties dialog box (Figure 33-7). To access this dialog box, either click the Properties button on the toolbar or right-click in the details pane and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.

Figure 33-7. The System Monitor Properties dialog box.

Choosing a View

In the General tab, you can choose whether to view the data in the form of a graph, a histogram, or a report:

  • Graph view Graph view presents information in a traditional line graph format. Each of the counters and instances are displayed in a different color and line thickness, as shown in Figure 33-8. This view is the default, and it offers the greatest variety of options. For instance, you can highlight a particular counter by either clicking the counter name in the legend or double-clicking the data line in the graph and then clicking the Highlight button on the toolbar. A black line replaces the colored data line if the background color of the chart is white or a light color; for all other background colors, the line is white. If you would like to highlight another line instead, simply double-click the line. As long as the Highlight button is depressed, any line you click is highlighted on the screen.

    Figure 33-8. Displaying system information in graph view.

    Although the graph view is the most versatile, you are better off using the histogram view or report view for tracking a large number of counters because the chart lines become increasingly difficult to view when a large number of counters are being monitored.

  • Histogram view Histogram view presents information in a bar graph format, as shown in Figure 33-9. As in graph view, each of the counters and instances is presented in a different color. You can easily track up to 100 counters using this view because System Monitor adjusts the bars to fit the display.

    Figure 33-9. Displaying system information in histogram view.

  • Report view Report view presents the counter data in a report list format, as shown in Figure 33-10. Objects are listed in alphabetical order, as are each of the chosen counters for each object. The data itself is displayed numerically. Each object displays the total percentage of processor time in use for the chosen counters. This view is best if you need to track a large number of counters.

    Figure 33-10. Viewing system information in report view.

    Depending on how you choose to view the data, these options in the Display Elements area might also be available:

  • Legend Displays a legend at the bottom of the details pane that shows the data scale used for each counter, the counter name, the instance, the parent object (if applicable), the object the counter belongs to, the computer being monitored, and the color used to draw the line for the counter. The legend is available for the graph and histogram views. You need to display the legend to see the counter name associated with the data line.
  • Value Bar Displays a value bar at the bottom of the details pane that provides a way to highlight the values for a specific counter. Clicking a particular value in the legend or clicking directly on a data line displays statistics for the last, average, minimum, and maximum values recorded. The duration time is also displayed here. The values are calculated from the number of samples and time period displayed in the graph. The time period is reflected by the duration value rather than actual time elapsed since monitoring was started. The duration value is based on the update interval time and is calculated to show the total elapsed time displayed in the graph. This display element is available for the graph and histogram views and is helpful for monitoring a specific value that you want to keep a close watch on.
  • Toolbar Displays the toolbar functions across the top of the details pane. It's advisable to have this option turned on because it's the only way you can perform certain functions.

Choosing the Monitoring Time Interval

You can sample data for all three views at regular periodic intervals. To set this option, open the System Monitor Properties dialog box (by clicking the Properties button on the toolbar) and, in the General tab, select the Update Automatically Every n Seconds check box. The default interval is 1 second, but you might want to change this value to prevent a strain on your machine. Select the update interval that is best for capturing the type of activity you want to view.

Selecting Additional Properties

You can add vertical and horizontal grid lines to the graph and histogram views by selecting their respective check boxes in the Graph tab of the System Monitor Properties dialog box. These elements are very helpful in quickly determining a counter's associated value.

You can also change the maximum and minimum vertical scale values in the Graph tab; the defaults are 100 for the maximum value and 0 for the minimum value. The highest value that you can specify is 999999999, and the lowest value is 0. Both of these values must be a positive integer. You need to determine the vertical scale range from the ranges of values for the counters you are monitoring.

You might need to adjust the counter scale settings for a specific counter to improve the visibility of its data within the graph. Counter scale settings for individual counters are adjusted in the Data tab of the System Monitor Properties dialog box. Counter scale values can range exponentially from 0.0000001 to 1000000.0. Adjusting the scale does not affect the statistics displayed in the value bar.

Monitoring a Different Computer

By default, System Monitor displays information about the local system, but you can also configure it to monitor another computer on the network. It is also possible for you to monitor more than one computer at once in System Monitor. To do so, click Add Counters, select the Select Counters From Computer option, and then type the name of the computer to be monitored in the text box. You can choose and delete counters and modify the display in the same manner described in the previous sections.

You need administrative permissions on the other computer to monitor that computer through System Monitor. If you don't have administrative permissions, an error message is generated. The counter appears in the display, but no data or graph lines are associated with it. If a particular counter that you want to monitor does not appear in the counter list, it is likely that the service or feature providing the counter has not been installed or enabled on that computer.

Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrator's Companion
Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrators Companion
ISBN: 0735617856
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 320

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