Providing Counter Data
Software components that publish data via Windows Performance Counters are called performance data providers.
Windows supports two kinds of performance data providers. Legacy performance data providers (V1 providers) are implemented using an .INI file and a performance DLL. Modern performance data providers (V2 providers) use a .MAN (XML manifest) and the performance counter provider APIs.
Modern performance data providers use a .MAN (XML manifest) to define the counter data and use performance counter provider APIs to manage data within the context of the provider.
Providers implemented using a manifest and performance counter provider APIs are often called V2 providers.
Windows supports user-mode V2 providers on Windows Vista or later. For user-mode details, see Providing Counter Data Using Version 2.0.
Windows supports kernel-mode V2 providers on Windows 7 or later. For kernel-mode details, see Kernel Mode Performance Monitoring.
Performance DLL (deprecated)
In the legacy performance counter architecture, providers implemented a performance DLL to that ran in the consumer's process to collect and provide the counter data when a consumer requested it. The provider used an initialization (.INI) file and registry entries to define the counters and to configure the performance DLL.
Providers implemented using an .INI file and a performance DLL are often called V1 providers.
Although you can still use a performance DLL to provide counter data, this architecture is deprecated due to significant performance and reliability limitations. In addition, V1 providers are often harder to implement since they require shipping a separate DLL that must run in the consumer's process.
For details, see Providing Counter Data Using a Performance DLL.