Analyze Windows Performance Monitor Counters Using PerfMon
By: Ben Snaidero
As one would expect, using the Performance Monitor tool to view the data we have collected is the most obvious and easiest tool we have available. As we had briefly shown in the real time data collection section, after you have added counters you are immediately presented with a screen with graphs of the performance counters in real time as shown below.
After a data collector has completed you can also get a similar graph by selecting the file that the data collector created under the "Reports" menu on the left hand side. Under this item there is a "User Defined" label which contains a folder for each of the data collector sets you've created and once a data collector set is expanded you will see a list of all the files created by that data collector. After clicking on a file, the performance counter data in this file will be displayed as shown below.
Now that we have a couple different ways to display our counters within Performance Monitor, let's look at how we can change the formatting of the output. If we right-click on any of the counters in the list at the bottom and select "Properties" we can change the appearance of any of our counters as shown below. Color, Scale, Line Width and Style are all configurable.
Also notice if we click on the "Graph" tab we have even more options for the graph as a whole. We can change the line style, add titles, change the vertical scale, etc.
There are also options within the main output window that allow us to configure the look of the graph. Even with all the different colors for each counter it can still sometimes be difficult to identify an individual counter. In order to isolate an individual counter we can use the "Highlight" button. Shown below, pointed to with the mouse pointer, once we click on this menu button the counter that we currently have highlighted in the list at the bottom will also be highlighted in the graph.
There are also different ways we can display data as sometimes a line graph is not the best way to look at the counters being collected. Performance Monitor provides two other methods for displaying the performance counters as shown below.
Here is an example of the "Histogram bar" graph.
And here is an example of the "Report" which isn't really a graph, but is actually a text output of the counter values.
From this window you can also switch back and look at the current activity on the system. This is done by selecting the "View Current Activity" button as show below.