Add counters to System Monitor

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

To add counters to System Monitor

  1. Open Performance.

  2. Right-click the System Monitor details pane and click Add Counters.

  3. To monitor any computer on which the monitoring console is run, click Use local computer counters.

    Or, to monitor a specific computer, regardless of where the monitoring console is run, click Select counters from computer and specify a computer name or IP address.

  4. In Performance object, click an object to monitor.

  5. To monitor all counters, click All counters.

    Or, to monitor only selected counters, click Select counters from list and select the counters you want to monitor.

  6. To monitor all instances of the selected counters, click All instances.

    Or, to monitor only selected instances, click Select instances from list and select the instances you want to monitor.

  7. Click Add, and then click Close.


  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group, the Performance Log Users group, or the Performance Monitor Users group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure. For more information, see Default local groups, Default groups, and Using Run as.

  • To open Performance, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Performance.

  • By default, the following three counters are displayed in System Monitor -- Memory\Pages/sec, PhysicalDisk(_Total)\Avg. Disk Queue Length, and Processor(_Total)\%Processor Time.

  • If you select an object on a remote computer, you might notice a short delay as System Monitor refreshes the list to reflect objects present on that computer.

  • Unless you are configuring data from a log, you can select only active instances in the list box.

  • Some object types have several instances. For example, if a system has multiple processors, the Processor object type will have multiple instances. The Physical Disk object type has two instances if a system has two disks. Some object types such as Memory and Server have only a single instance. If an object type has multiple instances, you can add counters to track statistics for each instance, or in many cases, for all instances at once.

  • To monitor the sum of the values all of a particular counter's instances, select the _Total instance.

  • 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.


    • Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.
  • By default, counters are shown with both the instance name and an instance index. To turn off this feature, right-click the details pane, click Properties, select the General tab, and clear the Allow duplicate counter instances check box.

  • When you select two instance indexes of the same counter, for example, if you are monitoring multiple threads of a process, note that the instance index number assigned to that instance changes over time as the instance, such as a thread, starts and stops. The index number does not necessarily correspond to the same thread over the life of the process.

  • When creating a monitoring console for export, make sure to select Use local computer counters. Otherwise, System Monitor will obtain data from the computer named in the text box, regardless of where the console file is installed.

  • For a description of a particular counter, click the name of the counter in Add counters, and then click Explain.

  • You can change the default display characteristics assigned to a counter such as the color, line style and width, and graph scale by using the Data tab in the System Monitor Properties dialog box. To access the Data tab, right-click the details pane, and click Properties.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

See Also


Monitor a different computer
Delete counters from System Monitor
Quick reference to System Monitor settings