WHICH PROGRAMS SLOW YOUR PC?
This graph shows you
AWindows PC can work reliably for years, but there are countless niggling problems that can develop over time, and diagnosing and fixing them can be frustrating and time consuming.
Fortunately, help is at hand from Windows Resource and Performance Monitor, which can track down problems and suggest potential fixes. It can be used in two ways: the first half of our Workshop (Steps 1-5) shows you how to create system health reports that point out problems; the second half looks at live monitoring of your PC’S components, which can tell you if you’re running out of memory or if processor usage is too high, and displays live charts showing the various processes. When there is a problem with your PC, run Performance Monitor and see what it reports.
Performance Monitor can be run on its own, but let’s start off by using it to create a useful diagnostic system report. To do this, you have to type a command into a commandprompt window or from the Run box. Press Windows+r to open Run, type perfmon /report 1 and click OK. 2
The Resource and Performance Monitor window opens. The Performance Monitor records activity on your PC for one minute. 1 During this time, you should perform as many different tasks as you can, such as opening a browser, reading email, opening Paint or Notepad, accessing the Start menu and so on. Keep going until the report appears.
The System Diagnostics Report appears in a window showing multiple sections. Click the arrow 1 on the right of each section to expand it. Look under Diagnostic Results, Warnings 2 to see if there are any problems. Our example shows an error with some services. 3 Don’t panic, though, because minor errors can be ignored.
Different PCS produce different results. This example shows a Windows 7 PC that has some serious faults. It reports that Windows Update has been disabled 1 and advises to enable it in the Security Center. Also, no security software has been detected, 2 which definitely needs fixing. Less seriously, its graphics performance is poor. 3
Back in Windows 10, we had problems with services, so we expanded the sections for Software Configuration and Abnormally Stopped System Services. 1 Expanding each item shows the details, such as the service name 2 and path to the program. 3 It may give clues about the problem but not all are serious and some can be ignored.
Run Performance Monitor from the Start menu; or press Windows+r, type perfmon and press Enter. System Summary 1 shows live information. On this PC, lots of open Chrome tabs have used nearly all the memory. 2 When memory is this low, the computer is likely to freeze. It’s also keeping the hard drive busy, showing zero idle time. 3
Select Performance Monitor in the sidebar 1 to display a live chart. 2 This shows the recent processor activity over the past few seconds, which constantly redraws to show the change over time. Run a program, switch back to Performance Monitor and see the change in the chart. Click the plus button. 3
Many of the PC’S components can be monitored using ‘counters’. Select a counter from the list on the left 1 and click the ‘Add >>’ button 2 to add it to the list on the right. Some counters contain multiple sub-items and doubleclicking a counter displays what they are. Click OK 3 to continue.
Adding one or more counters can make the chart very cluttered. You should filter out any items you don’t need so you can clearly see the important data. Clear the ticks in the Show column 1 until there are only two items ticked. To look at a different attribute, tick its box but clear other boxes to stop the chart getting too confusing.
Charts can be displayed in a variety of formats and the Chart button 1 lets you switch from one to another. Our example shows a live bar chart of CPU counters where the bars rise and fall as computer activity changes. Some of the cores here are reaching 100% usage, 2 which means the PC is working flat out.