Are any tools available to help configure performance monitoring on Windows 2000 and later computers?

A. Microsoft has released the Performance Monitor Wizard, which you can download at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=31FCCD98-C3A1-4644-9622-FAA046D69214&displaylang=en . After you download the .zip file, extract the two files to a folder of your choice. One of the files is the license agreement for the utility, and the other is the perfwiz.exe image, which is the actual tool. The Performance Monitor Wizard isn't as sophisticated as the Windows Server 2003 Server Performance Advisor, which I discuss in the FAQ "How can I use the Windows Server 2003 Performance Advisor?" , but you can use the tool on a wider range of OSs.

The Performance Monitor Wizard is a dialog-based tool that asks questions about the computing environment so that it can enable the correct Performance Monitor counters. The tool creates log files to help you troubleshoot general Windows and Microsoft Exchange Server performance problems. To use the tool, perform these steps:

  1. Start the Performance Monitor Wizard (perfwiz.exe) and click Next at the Welcome screen.
  2. Enter the name of the computer on which you want to collect the logs. The default computer is the local machine. Click Next.
  3. Select Create New Log, or if you previously defined a log or have a log running, select that log from the list. (The wizard gives you the option to start or stop the already defined log, as the figure shows.) Click Next.
  4. The wizard asks for the type of profile to use--Standard Perfmon, High CPU Usage, or Advanced Configuration. Select a profile and click Next.
  5. Enter the name of the computer you want to monitor, and if that computer is a system running Exchange Server or Windows 2000 Server Terminal Services (which means the wizard will collect additional information), select the associated check box. Click Next.
  6. Enter a name for the new log collection. Then configure the maximum size for the logs and a location to store the logs (by default C:\ perflogs). Click Next.
  7. Select how often the problem occurs, (e.g. If you enter "every 6 hours," the wizard will automatically modify how often it takes a sample.) Click Next.
  8. Click Start to begin logging and click Next.
  9. Click Finish.

When you start a log collection, it runs in the background under the regular Performance Monitor services (Performance Logs and Alerts). The wizard doesn't display the logs; it simply creates the log files. To display the logs, you need to start Performance Monitor and select as the source the binary file that's created by the logging process, as the following steps illustrate:

  1. Start the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Performance Monitor snap-in (Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, Performance).
  2. Right-click the graph section of the snap-in and select Properties.
  3. Select the Source tab.
  4. Select Log files and click Add. Navigate to the C:\perflogs folder (the default location for the log files), select the log file, and click OK, as the figure shows.
  5. Click OK to close the System Monitor Properties dialog box.
You can now add more counters to the log display from the data that was captured during the collection period.
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