Windows 2003 Server

Chapter 11

Monitoring Server Performance

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At the end of this chapter you should be able to:

  • Identify the importance of monitoring server performance

  • Use Task Manager to monitor server performance and resource usage

  • Use Event Viewer to identify and troubleshoot problems

  • Use the Performance console to monitor server performance using both System Monitor and Performance Logs and Alerts

  • Optimize server performance through the configuration of service settings

Introduction to Monitoring Server Performance

Windows Server 2003 includes many tools that will help you monitor your system.  In this chapter we will look at the tools and learn how we can use them to help us maintain our server.  You will want to run these tools while your server is running smoothly, this way you have a baseline to compare against when you do have problems.

Task Manager

Task Manager can be used to get a snapshot of what is currently happening on a server.  The Task Manager can be run by hitting CTRL+ALT+DEL, then clicking Task Manager.  You can also right click on the taskbar and choose Task Manager.  Another way is to hit CTRL+Shift+ESC. 


Monitoring and Managing Applications (Application Tab)

The Applications tab of the Task Manager shows all foreground applications that are running.  You can use this to see the status of the application.  If an application has crashed it's status will show as Not Responding.  In this case you can select the application and click the End Task button.  If you select an application and click Switch To it will be brought to the foreground.   If you right click on an application you will see a list of things you can do.


Monitoring and Managing Processes (Processes Tab)

The Processes tab shows a list of all the processes running on your server.  You can use this to find out which process is taking most of the CPU time.  You can add more columns to the display by clicking View - Select Columns.


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 441. (10 Minutes)


Monitoring Real-Time Performance (Performance Tab)

The Performance tab shows a graphical representation of your CPU usage and Page File usage.  The data displayed is not logged anywhere, it is for us to see a quick snapshot. 


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 444. (5 Minutes)


Monitoring Network Performance (Networking Tab)

This tab shows a graphical representation of your network connection.


Monitoring Users (Users Tab)

Shows you all the users that are connected to the server.

Event Viewer

The event viewer is a group of logs that contains information about the server.  Programs will write their status to the event viewer.  You will find three different types of events, Information, Warning, Error


Interpreting Events

When you have problems that are recorded in the event viewer the description will give you some information about the problem.  If you can't solve the problem with the supplied information you can turn to the internet and look up the error.  A very good site for researching Event Viewer problems is  This site will take the event ID and the event ID. 


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 449. (10 Minutes)

Performance Console

Performance Console is an administrative tool that includes the System Monitor and Performance Logs and Alert snap-ins. 


System Monitor

System Monitor can be used to monitor different hardware and software.  This will prove to be useful to diagnose problems, perform capacity planning and testing configuration changes. 


There are three modes that the System Monitor can display the data.  Graph, Histogram or Report mode.  You can switch between these modes using the toolbar at the top of the screen. 


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 453. (10 Minutes)


You can use this tool to generate a baseline for your server.  This way if you experience slowdowns in the future you can run the same tests and see where the problem resides.  There are a number of counters that are added to the System Monitor by default.  You can add to this list by clicking the plus symbol in the toolbar.  The data recorded by the System Monitor can be saved and referred to later.


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 457. (10 Minutes)

LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 459. (10 Minutes)


Performance Logs and Alerts

Performance logs can be used to log system information and display an alert to the administrators when a certain condition is met.  There are three options available to you.

  • Counter Logs - Takes the same counters and records them to a log.  It supports Text, Binary and SQL logging.

  • Trace Logs - Same as above, but these are triggered to start at a certain time.

  • Alerts - This will monitor your server and if a predefined condition is met an alert task will be execute. 

LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 462. (15 Minutes)

Configuring and Managing Services

The services are the programs that run without requiring you to logon to the server.  For example the Print Spooler service runs even when no one is logged onto you server.  This way users can print even if the serve is at the logon screen.  If you look at the properties of a service you can see information about the service.


LAB ACTIVITY - Do the lab on page 469. (10 Minutes)

More Information


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