Performance objects and counters

obtains performance data from components in your computer as those components are utilized. That data is described as a performance object and is typically named for the component generating the data. For example, the Processor object is a collection of performance data about processors on your system.

A range of performance objects are built into the operating system, typically corresponding to the major hardware components such as memory, processors, and so on. Other programs may install their own performance objects. For example, services such as WINS or server programs such as Microsoft Exchange provide performance objects, and performance graphs and logs can monitor these objects.

Each performance object provides counters that represent data on specific aspects of a system or service. For example, the Pages/sec counter provided by the Memory object tracks the rate of memory paging.

Although your system may typically make available many more objects, following are the most frequently used objects:




Paging File







The following table describes the services or features of that you may be using in your configuration and their corresponding performance objects.

Feature or service to monitorPerformance object available


ICMP, IP, NBT, TCP, and UDP objects

Browser, Workstation, and Server services

Browser, Redirector, and Server objects

QoS Admission Control

Admission Control Service/RSVP Service and Interface objects

Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)

WINS object

Connection Point Services

PBServer Monitor object

Indexing Service

Indexing Service, Indexing Service Filter, and Http Indexing Service objects

Directory service

NTDS object

Print server activity

Print queue object

For a description of the data provided by a particular counter that is associated with a performance object, click Explain in the Add Counters dialog box. For information about adding counters, see To add counters to System Monitor 

Although some objects (such as Memory and Server) have only a single instance, some performance objects can have multiple instances. If an object has multiple instances, you can add counters to track statistics for each instance, or for all instances at once.

Depending on how the counter was defined, its value may be:

The most recent measurement of an aspect of resource utilization. These are also called instantaneous counters.

An example is Process\Thread Count, which shows the number of threads for a particular process as of the last time this was measured.

The average of the last two measurements over the period between samples. (Because counters are never cleared, this is actually an average of the difference between the measurements.)

An example is Memory\Pages/sec, a rate per second based on the average number of memory pages during the last two samples.

Other types of counters can be defined as described in the Platform Software Development Kit.

The combination of computer name, object, counter, instance, and instance index is known as the counter path. The counter path is typically shown in the tools as follows:


The computer_name is optional. If you do not supply a name, will use the name of the local computer by default.

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