MCTS 70-680: Performance Monitor and Data Collector Sets in Windows 7

Uploaded by itfreetraining on 17.02.2012

Welcome back to your free Windows 7 training. In this video I will look at how to monitor
the performance of Windows 7 using the performance monitor and data collector sets. The performance
monitor gives you statistics on how much load your hardware is under on your computer. As
you will see, there is almost an endless amount of measurements that can be taken using the
performance monitor. To use the performance monitor, you need to know which statistics,
called counters that you want to track. Data collector sets allow you to group together
counters from the performance monitor and other areas of the system. Once these settings
have been decided, they can be scheduled to be captured at certain times of the day or
run any time that you want. The advantage of this is that it allows you to automate
the capture of performance statistics giving you a history of performance.
The reports created by data collector sets are easier to read than the charts in the
performance monitor. The data captured by data collector sets can be completely customized
or you can use the pre-defined options provided by Microsoft. Microsoft has spent a lot of
time with data collector sets determining which statistics most administrators would
want to view. This saves you the hard work of trying to figure out which performance
settings you should be tracking. Once you start capturing statistics like these,
it gives you a history of the performance of that computer. These statistics can help
you locate what is called a bottleneck. A bottleneck is when the entire computer performance
is limited by a single component. A common bottleneck is RAM. If you do not
have enough RAM in your computer, this will cause the hard disk to be used for virtual
RAM. This will slow down the entire system. By installing more RAM, you will see an increase
in the performance of the complete system. Other bottlenecks include slow hard disks
and CPU’s. Upgrading these or installing additional hard disks and CPU’s can greatly
increase the speed of the computer. Tools like data collector sets help you locate these
bottlenecks. Regardless of whether you decide to use the
performance monitor or data collector sets, you will need to have permission to do so.
In order to see real time information in the performance monitor, you need to be a member
of the performance monitor group. If you are a member of the performance log
users group, you will be able to see real time information as well as make changes to
data collector sets. Of course, if you are a member of the administrators group you don’t
need to be a member of these groups. I will now change to my Windows 7 computer
and look at how to configure the performance monitor and data collector sets.
To start the performance monitor, open the control panel and select system and security
and then select administrative tools at the bottom. From administrative tools, select
performance monitor. Data collector sets and performance monitor are both found in here.
First of all I will look at the performance monitor.
When I first select performance monitor found under monitoring tools, a graph will appear.
This graph tracks the counter that measures in real time the percentage of the CPU that
is being used. To add additional counters, press the green plus button at the top. When
I expand the processor section, notice that there are a lot of different counters to choose
from. How much processor is being used as a percentage is the most commonly used counter;
however, you could track how much CPU is being used by the operating system, your applications
or even one particular application. Each counter may also have different instances
that you can choose from. If this computer had more than one CPU I could track just one
CPU or core. The default option will combine statistics from all CPU’s on the computer
into one. When I scroll down you can see how many counters
there are. The list seems almost endless when you also consider that each section can be
expanded. In most cases you will measure counters on the CPU, memory and the hard disk to get
an understanding of the performance of your computer.
If I scroll up to memory, I can add the counter available Mbytes. This will show how many
megabytes are available to applications. In some cases you may know what the counter measures
but a lot of counter names are quite cryptic as to what they measure.
To find out what a counter does, select the option at the bottom show description. Once
you have which counter you want press the button add and press o.k. and the counter
will be added. The counter has been added with the same colour
as the CPU so I will open the properties and change the colour to blue. As you can imagine,
it can take a long time to go through the 100’s of counters and choose the ones that
you want. You may also want to capture data at certain times of the day for benchmarking
and statistical purposes. This is where data collector sets come into play.
If I select data collector sets and expand system, there are two data collector sets
created by default. These are system diagnostics and system performance. To start the data
collector set, right click the data collector set and select the option start.
To see the results from the data collector set, expand the reports section. Notice that
when I open the report the status is shown as collecting data for 60 seconds. I will
pause the video and return once Windows has finished capturing statistics.
Microsoft has done a lot of research into finding the most commonly used statistics
that administrators use and place them in this data collector set. In most cases if
you just simply want to find a bottleneck in a system or create a benchmark for a system,
the default data collector set should work quite well.
At the top you have some statistics on CPU, network, disk and memory use captured in the
one minute while the data collector set was running. When I scroll down, you can see that
there is a lot more information that you can drill down into that may help you solve problems
on your computer. For example, under disk there is a section called hot files. These
are the files that had the most disk activity in the minute the data collector was running.
If your computer performance is slow and there is a lot of hard disk activity, this may give
you an indication as to what is causing the problem. For example, if the paging file was
at the top, the system may need more RAM. Just remember that these statistics were gathered
over a minute. If a large job requiring more RAM was running at the same time the data
collector set was running, it may have caused a lot of paging. If this was an unusual occurrence,
then you may not need additional RAM. It is important to look carefully at these statistics
and work out what they are telling you. Scrolling down, there are statistics on how
much RAM certain processes are using. If you are running low on RAM, this can tell you
which applications are using the RAM. Instead of installing more RAM, you may decide to
move an application to another server or you may see if the application has the option
to reduce the amount of RAM that it is using. The default data collector set can’t be
changed; however, it can be used as a template or you can completely create one from scratch.
If I right click on user defined under data collector sets and select new, I can create
a new data collector set. In most cases it is easier to leave it on
the default create from a template and add counters to an existing data collector set.
The second option will allow the data collector set to be created manually.
On the next screen you can decide which data collector set to use as a template. I will
leave it on the default and move on. The next screen asks where you want to save the data
collector set. I will leave it in the default location.
On the next screen, if you click on change, you can choose which user will be allowed
to run the data collector set. The default system user will work fine for our purposes,
so I will leave it on the default and finish the wizard.
The default data collector set cannot be scheduled but a user defined one can. Since I have created
a user defined data collector set, I can open the properties for that data collector set
and change options that are not available in the default data collector set.
On the schedule tab, I can press the button add and select when I want the data collector
to run. In this case I will run the data collector set at 10 o’clock on week days only. This
way I can get a good indication of how Windows is running when it should be under some load.
Running a data collector set when the system is idle generally does not give you a lot
of useful information. On the stop condition tab, options can be
configured on how long the data collector set will run. By default it will run for a
minute so I will change that to 10 minutes so it can capture more statistics. Remember
that running data collector sets and the performance monitor does put a little load on the system.
Some performance settings use more system resources than others and thus it is not recommended
that you run them for long periods of time unless you have a good reason to do so.
The overall duration setting determines the maximum amount of time the data collector
can run. When this value is reached the data collector set will stop collecting data.
The option “restart the data collector set at limits” tick box will restart the data
collector when one of the limits listed is reached. For example, if you set the duration
option, then when the duration limit is reached, the data collector set will be restarted and
a new report will be created. If the value was set to five minutes, two reports will
be created in the 10 minute period during which the data collector set is running.
You can also tick the option maximum size if you want to ensure that the data files
for the reports are not getting too large. If the option “restart the data collector
set at limits” was not ticked, then the data collector set would be stopped if either
of these limits was configured and reached. My custom data collector set is now created
and configured to run automatically. Reports for this data collector set will automatically
be added to the report section at the bottom. That’s it for the performance monitor and
data collector sets. In the next video I will look at other performance options that can
be configured in order to improve the performance of Windows 7. Thanks for watching another
free video from IT Free Training.