Monitoring and Optimisation

In order to keep a computer running smoothly, you must monitor its performance by using the Windows performance monitor tool.  Using the performance monitor tool you can identify potential bottlenecks and resolve them.  Windows also provides an event viewer which allows you to view possible system errors and conflicts.

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The Event Viewer

When a system fails one of the Administrator’s first ports of call is the Event Viewer.  Event Viewer provides information to help identify the possible cause of the system failure and help point the way to a solution.  Event Viewer can also be used for security purposes. It is possible to monitor the other users on the system as well as log their usage.

To access the Windows Event Viewer, click on Start. Right-click on My Computer and select Manage.

In the left pane are the different Logs available. The information in the right pane shows the events that have been logged.

The Application log records the applications which are running on the computer and also their status.

The Security Log records  events which relate to the security of the network
e.g. failed login attempts.

The System Log records Events which relate to the operating system. E.g. the failure of a device.

Double-Click on an event to view its Properties.

An error with the time service has been identified. This may lead to strange problems on the network.

Over time log files will grow and need to be managed. A log can be cleared or saved for future analysis.

Right-Click on the Log to be cleared.

Over time log files will grow and need to be managed. A log can be cleared or saved for future analysis.

Select Clear all Events.

You are now given the option to save the Event Log before you erase it. Click on No if you do not wish to save the log.

The System Log has now been cleared.

Sometimes you can have too much information. The log may be filtered to display only the information required.  Right-click on the Event log to be filtered. Select Properties.

Select the Filter tab.

The Event Types box determines what is to be displayed. Untick any event that shouldn’t  be displayed.

Click On OK to apply the filter.

A filter has been created to display only Error messages. This can make errors easier to locate and troubleshoot.

Task Manager

The Windows Task Manager is a useful utility which is most frequently used to close hung applications.

The Task Manager can also be used to view basic performance information about the machine such as Processor and Network Usage.

For more in-depth performance monitoring the Windows performance monitor should be used.

To Access the Task Manager right-click on the Taskbar.

Task Manager can also be accessed from the Windows Security Dialog Box by holding down Ctrl,Alt and Delete and selecting Task Manager.

Select Task Manager.

The Task Manager shows the current Applications that are running on the machine.  Applications can be stopped and started using the Task Manager. Click on the End Task button to close down the highlighted application.

Notepad has been closed down. To start a new task, select New Task.

The Create New Task box appears. Type in the name of the Task e.g. Notepad.

Then click OK….

To view  the Processes currently running on the system select the Processes Tab.

From here you can stop a running process.  If, for example, Windows explorer crashes you can stop explorer.exe and restart it using the New Task command from the Applications tab.  To close down Windows explorer highlight explorer.exe….

…and select End Process. Windows explorer will then be closed down. Select New Task from the Applications tab and restart explorer.exe.

To view the computer’s current Performance statistics, select the Performance Tab.

From the here you can view current Processor and Page file usage.

For a more in-depth reading you should use the Windows Performance Monitor.

From the Networking tab you can view information about how much traffic a network adapter is sending and receiving.

The Users tab displays which users are currently logged on to the system. You can also Disconnect, Logoff and Send Messages to other local users from here.