Monitoring PC Performance

The simplest PC performance monitoring tool is the Windows Task Manager. The Windows Task Manager allows you to inspect each process running on your machine for memory and CPU usage. Press "Ctrl" + "Alt" + "Delete" to access the Windows Task Manager, and navigate to the Performance tab. The performance tab gives you performance aggregates like total CPU usage, total virtual memory usage, and total physical memory usage. Under the "Processes" tab, you can se which processes are taking the majority of your resources. This is especially useful if your computer is sluggish even when you're not running any applications on it, as it allows you to inspect your PC for a runaway process.

Using the Performance utility to monitor PC performance

Microsoft included a more advanced aggregate performance analysis tool with Windows XP, aptly called "Performance". To access Performance, choose Start, then Control Panel. Open the Administrative Tools folder and double-click on the Performance icon.

Performance allows you to set which aggregate metrics you want displayed on the moving graph and correlate performance log entries with spikes or valleys in the graph. Performance will also generate reports of the data you record for later reference.

The importance of monitoring PC performance

Checking up on the aggregate performance of your PC is a great way to ensure you're getting your money's worth out of it. Monitoring your performance aggregates carefully is a great way to find spyware, adware, or rogue processes on your machine. Suspicious behavior to watch for includes processes taking a substantial amount of RAM or CPU even when you're not doing anything on your PC and high network bandwidth usage even if you're not downloading or uploading anything.

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