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Free Tune-Up

Diagnostics for Your PC
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How's That Horsepower
Running on NT
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How's That Horsepower?
by James E. Powell

Sometimes the cause of a performance problem is not apparent. System Monitor can help spot performance-inhibiting problems that might otherwise go undetected. The utility gives you an inside view of what's going on inside your Win95 system. If you have Win95 on CD-ROM, you already have System Monitor; if not, you can get it free at Microsoft's Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/software/accessories.htm).

System Monitor
Click to enlarge.
Under the Hood. System Monitor's colorful line charts tell you exactly what's going on inside your PC. If you don't like the view, change the charts to bar or numeric.
System Monitor reports its results with a series of colorful charts. You can customize the charts, changing their colors, type and refresh interval time. You can also add multiple graphs (line or bar charts) or numeric values for data in several categories. For example, in the File System category, you can track several operations simultaneously, such as the number of bytes read or written per second, the amount of "dirty" data (bytes waiting to be written to disk), and the reads and writes per second. In the IPX/SPX category, System Monitor will report the number of IPX packets lost, received or sent per second, the number of open sockets, the number of Routing Table or SAP Table entries, and the SPX packets received or sent per second.

Perhaps the most useful statistics are those System Monitor turns up by tracking memory. The utility will show you the amount of allocated memory and locked memory, size of the disk cache, number of instance faults and page faults, minimum and maximum disk cache size, and information about your swap file, including its size and the amount in use. With this information in hand, you can tinker with settings to improve system performance.

System Monitor also provides reports for the kernel, Client for NetWare Networks, Network Client and Network Server. If you don't know what a measurement means, click on the Explain button for a brief description.

Running on NT

Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.