System Monitor interface

When you open Performance a toolbar will appear and the graph view area will display the same set of counters as the system overview query in Performance Logs and Alerts. When you have added counters to the graph, after a short delay (depending on the time you select for the update interval), System Monitor will begin charting counter values in this graph area. You can choose to have data updated automatically or on demand. To update the data, use the button to start and stop the collection intervals. To remove all data from the display, click the button.

The names and associated information for the counters you select are shown in the legend beneath the graph, as follows:

Computer on which System Monitor is running

Performance object 

Performance counter 

Performance object instance Note that by default counter instances are listed by name and numerical index. This index appears after the instance name, represented by a number sign (#) and a number. This index makes it easier to monitor multiple instances, for example, when you are monitoring threads of a process.

To turn off the index display, right-click the graph, click Properties, and clear the Allow duplicate counter instances check box. By default, process and thread instances have a #n appended (where n is an integer). To append the process ID instead, create a DWORD value called ProcessNameFormat under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\PerfProc\Performance subkey and set its value to 2. Likewise, to append the thread ID instead, create a DWORD value called ThreadNameFormat under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\PerfProc\Performance subkey and set its value to 2. To turn off any of these options and return to the default, set the value of the appropriate DWORD to 1.

Graphical properties of each counter.


To match a line in a graph with the counter for which it is charting values, select a counter in the legend, then press CTRL+H or click the button on the toolbar, or double-click a position in the line. When highlighting is in effect, the bar or line representing data for the selected counter changes color to white for most background colors (including the default color) or black for white or light-colored backgrounds. If chart lines are close together, try to find a point in the graph where they diverge. Otherwise, System Monitor may not be able to pinpoint the value you are interested in.

Above the columns is the value bar, where you see the last, minimum, maximum, and average values for the counter that is currently selected. These values are calculated over the time period and number of samples displayed in the graph (reflected by the Duration value), not over the time that has elapsed since monitoring was started. The Duration value in the value bar indicates the total elapsed time displayed in the graph (based on the update interval). The movement of the timer bar across the graph indicates the passing of each update interval. Regardless of the update interval, the view will show up to 100 samples. System Monitor compresses log data as necessary to fit it in the display. To see the compressed data in a log, right-click the graph, click Properties, and select a shorter time range on the Source tab. Shorter time ranges contain less data, so it is less likely that data points will be eliminated.

You can define the attributes of the graph:

Type of display, with options for graph, histogram, or report

Background color of the detail pane and of the data-display area

Size, type, and style of font used to show text in the display

Color, width, and style of line used to chart data


Default key settings in Microsoft Word may conflict with the CTRL+H combination used for System Monitor highlighting. You may need to change these to support highlighting when the System Monitor control (Sysmon.ocx in the system_root\System32 folder) is used in Microsoft Word.

Clicking Object, Counter, Instance, or Computer in the counter legend sorts entries in ascending or descending order for that category. For example, to sort all counters by name, click Counter.

Related Topics

For more information, see Quick reference to System Monitor settings

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