Tech Tip: Get to know Windows NT Performance Monitor's four views

Learn about Performance Monitor's four views.

Performance Monitor can help you better understand what's going on in a Windows NT network. It offers four methods for viewing data: Chart, Alert, Log, and Report. To open Performance Monitor and change the view, go to Start | Programs | Administrative Tools (Common) | Performance Monitor | View.


The Chart view displays the value of designated counters over time. This view is best for investigating why a computer or application is slow or inefficient because it shows you real-time data. The Chart view is also helpful when continuously monitoring a system for intermittent performance problems or discovering capacity requirements.

Keep in mind that adding several counters to a chart can cause readability problems. Be sure to vary the scale of the displayed information, and adjust each counter's line color, width, and style so you'll be able to make sense of the chart.


The Log view records selected counters in a log file for future analysis. This view lets you record information on current activity for later viewing. The log files that it generates are an important first step in benchmarking your network.

The Log view collects counter data on your chosen objects at a time interval you specify. You can then analyze the collected data in the Chart or Report views. You can also export the data as a comma-delimited file to pull into a spreadsheet program for trends analysis.

However, please note that if you open a log during data collection, the process will stop, and it will clear the counters.


The Report view displays the current values of designated counters in a table format. You can use the Report view to provide information about stress levels on a server.

This view can also help you gain a better understanding of object behavior. You can create a dynamic report on all the counters for a given object, watching their values change under varying operating conditions.


The Alert view sends a message when a designated counter reaches a specified value. This view lets you keep working while Performance Monitor watches the objects and counters you specify, and it notifies you when these counters meet specific values. For example, Performance Monitor can alert you if there's an increase in paging activity or if you're dangerously low on disk space.

An alert condition applies to the value of the counter over a specified time interval. The default Alert Interval is five seconds.

For example, let's say you set an alert for the Memory object's Pages/sec counter to Over 50 and use the default Alert Interval. The average paging rate for a five-second time period would have to exceed 50 before it would trigger an alert.

By default, an alert event notifies the administrator. However, you can send alerts to other users or computers if you have the Alerter Service running.

To send alert messages to another networked computer, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Start | Programs | Administrative Tools (Common) | Server Manager.
  2. Select the server that will send the alerts, and press [Enter].
  3. Click Alerts, specify the name of the computer or user you want to receive the alerts, and click Add.
  4. Click OK twice to exit.

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