Open Activity Monitor (SQL Server Management Studio)

APPLIES TO: yesSQL Server noAzure SQL Database noAzure SQL Data Warehouse noParallel Data Warehouse

Activity Monitor runs queries on the monitored instance to obtain information for the Activity Monitor display panes. When the refresh interval is set to less than 10 seconds, the time that is used to run these queries can affect server performance

Check your permissions!

To view actual activity, you must have VIEW SERVER STATE permission. To view the Data File I/O section of Activity Monitor, you must have CREATE DATABASE, ALTER ANY DATABASE, or VIEW ANY DEFINITION permission in addition to VIEW SERVER STATE.

To KILL a process, a user must be a member of the sysadmin or processadmin fixed server roles.

Open Activity Monitor

Keyboard shortcut

  • Type CTRL+ALT+A to open Activity Monitor at any time.

Hint! Hover over any icon in SSMS to learn what it is and what keyboard shortcut activates it!


From the Standard toolbar, click the Activity Monitor icon. It is in the middle, just to the right of the undo/redo buttons. Activity_Monitor_icon

Complete the Connect to Server dialog box if you are not already connected to an instance of SQL Server you want to monitor.

Launch Activity Monitor and Object Explorer on startup

  1. From the Tools menu, click Options.

  2. In the Options dialog box, expand Environment, and then select Startup.

  3. From the At startup drop-down list, select Open Object Explorer and Activity Monitor.

  4. Click OK.

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Set the Activity Monitor refresh interval

  1. Open the Activity Monitor.

  2. Right-click Overview, select Refresh Interval, and then select the interval in which Activity Monitor should obtain new instance information.