Understanding The Resource Monitor In Windows 7
Today, we’re going to talk about the Windows Resource Monitor. What is it? How do you use it? Most importantly…what’s it actually good for?
We’ll start with that last question. The Resource Monitor is a built-in Windows utility that provides you with real-time feeds related to all the critical systems on your PC and how they’re being used in order to keep things running. Generally, it’s not a utility you’re likely to use if everything on your system is running smoothly. If, however, you find yourself running into performance issues, well…the resource monitor can be your best friend.
In order to open up the interface, first start up the Windows Task manager (Ctrl+Shift+E). Once there, click over to the Performance tab. Towards the bottom of the window, there should be a button titled Resource Monitor. Click it, and proceed onward. You’ll be presented first with the Overview screen, which is divided into four subsections: CPU, Disk, Network, and Memory. If you’re running Windows 7, you can click on the checkbox next to individual processes in order to view information related to them on the grids.
From here, you’ve got four additional tabs to click on, each one related to one of the grids on the overview page. Each one allows you to troubleshoot a different aspect of your system performance. If you’re noticing you’ve slow Internet, for example, you might want to check out the Network tab and examine which processes are using the most bandwidth. If you’re having issues with your hard drive constantly running, check out the Disk tab and look at which programs are performing the most writes. Make sense, right?
At this point, I’d like to zero in on one of the most confusing (and concerning, for a newbie) elements of the Resource Monitor: Hard Faults/sec. Sounds rather intimidating, doesn’t it? I know when I first took a look at it, I was more than a little concerned. Believe it or not, as intimidating as they sound, they’re actually a pretty common side-effect of running Windows. They occur when Windows needs to access reserved hard-disk space, either when the system runs out of RAM or when the system (for some reason) stores information in the computer’s page file rather than the RAM. Getting a few of these every now and then isn’t really any big deal, and it’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s only when your hard faults begin going over 50-100 that you should start to become concerned; this could mean one of several things.
Firstly, you might simply need more RAM. If your memory usage looks to be abnormally high when you’re receiving these page fault errors, simply installing a few new sticks could solve your problem. Secondly, it could mean you’ve simply got a program that’s using an abnormally high level of RAM, forcing other applications on your system into the page file. That’s…about it, really. Hard faults are nothing to concern yourself with, nor are they a particularly valuable indicator of your PC’s health.
Anyway…that’s pretty much it for my explanation of the Resource Monitor. Like I said, it’s probably not a tool most of you are going to find yourselves using. Unless you’re particularly interested in examining your PC’s performance or troubleshooting a specific issue, you can happily ignore it.