If your Windows 7 PC slows down and you want to find out why, the Resource Monitor can help. We explain how
Understanding Windows 7's Resource Monitor can help you spot problems, fix them and even make the right decision when it comes to upgrading your computer. In this article we look at similar tools in Windows XP and Vista, and how to use the Resource Monitor tool in Windows 7.
Avoid the queues
The Resource Monitor is most helpful when you need to identify a so-called bottleneck in your computer. These are the parts of your computer that limit its performance.
If you think of the flow of information through your computer as cars driving down a road, a bottleneck is when the dual carriageway becomes a single carriageway. Two lanes of traffic cannot fit onto a single lane at the same speed and will cause a tailback, no matter how fast the cars might have been travelling up to that point.
The insides of a computer are rather more complicated, of course, but the principle is the same. For example, when Windows runs out of memory to store temporary information it has to use some space on the hard disk instead. As the hard disk is around 100 times slower than memory, this slows everything down.
The Resource Monitor can also reveal problems with specific programs. If you replace the program then performance problems may well disappear.
Monitor performance in Windows XP
There have been equivalents to the Resource Monitor in previous versions of Windows. The Windows XP Performance Monitor tool, for example, can be started by clicking on the Start button, clicking Run, typing perfmon.exe and pressing Enter.
This tool looks basic but contains some useful information. The green line shows how hard the processor is working, the blue line outlines the hard disk performance and the yellow line shows how the memory is being used.
Windows Vista users should click on the Start button, type Reliability and Performance Monitor and press Enter. Click on Continue when the User Account Control window appears. The main part of the window includes graphs showing the performance of the computer’s processor, hard disk, network and memory. More information can be found by clicking on the title rows beneath the graphs.
The Reliability monitor, available in Vista, presents a graph that shows how reliable the computer has been. Problems are marked with icons with more information beneath, making it easy to see if a problem is causing repeated crashes.
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