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What are we doing?

This lab consists of two exercises that teach us how to use Performance Monitor on our Windows 10 system and teaches us how to create a bottleneck to test our log management skills.

Why would we want to do this?

Sometimes, in order to find a solution we need to see where the problem is occurring and at what rate is the problem happening at. With Performance Monitor, we can specify what we want to monitor and see if any irregularities are occurring.

With our bottleneck situation, we again use this to create a controlled environment where we can test the performance of our network and see what our systems are capable of doing before they malfunction.

Who would use this?

The knowledge from this lab would be extremely useful for those managing IT networks for either a SOHO or even a commercialized office building.


Still thinking, stay tuned…

Vendor: Practice Labs

Lab: 1.14 — Detecting System Bottlenecks and Log Management

Lab Learning Outcomes:

  • — Monitoring System Performance
  • — Detecting System Bottlenecks

CompTIA Network+ N10–007 Exam Objectives:

  • –3.1: Given a scenario, use appropriate documentation and diagrams to manage the network (Network configuration and performance baselines)
  • –3.3: Explain common scanning, monitoring, and patching processes and summarize their expected output:
  • Processes:
  • Log reviewing
  • Patch Management:
  • Reviewing Baselines
  • Event Management:
  • Notifications
  • Alerts
  • SIEM
  • –4.2: Explain authentication and access controls (Authorization, authentication, and accounting, Auditing and logging)
source: practice labs

Exercise 1

Regular monitoring of our computing systems helps ensure their best performance at all times as well as avoid any abrupt breakdowns that can disrupt the operations. Windows OS offers built-in tools to monitor system performance on Windows workstations. These tools measure the system activity to gather and store data about the system states. This data can then be depicted as charts, reports, and log files to analyze, trace, and automate the system state monitoring. The monitoring results can be viewed in real time as well as analyzed at a later time.

Performance Monitor is an application where we can specify the system parameters to track. Performance Monitor then captures the relevant values at specified time intervals. We can use these value-logs to monitor application and hardware performance in real time, specify the format (charts/graphs/reports) to present the data, define the thresholds to raise alerts and initiate automatic actions, and view the past performance data.¹

Task 1 — Using Performance Monitor to create charts

Performance Monitor enables us to track system performance by capturing data for the specified counters. Counters are parameters relevant to various system elements. These elements can be for one particular computer or for multiple computers on the network. In this task, we will capture real-time data about the performance of processor, memory, disk, and a network interface on PLABWIN10.

To use Performance Monitor to track system performance, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Connect to PLABWIN10. Click File Explorer from the taskbar.

Step 2: From File Explorer, click in the address bar and type:


Press Enter.

Step 3: Performance Monitor opens. From the left pane, under Performance > Monitoring Tools, click Performance Monitor.

Notice that %Processor Time counter is currently being monitored on this computer.

We can add other system components that we can monitor on this computer.

Now click on the + (green cross) to add another parameter to monitor.

From the Add Counters dialogue box, we will notice that Select counters from computer: indicate <Local computer>.

Which means that performance metrics will be captured from the local PLABWIN10 device.

Step 4: Navigate to Available counters section then scroll down the list.

Look for LogicalDisk and click on it.

We will find the Instances of the selected object — these are the logical disk volumes present on PLABWIN10.

Step 5: On the Add Counters dialog box, expand LogicalDisk by clicking the down arrow, then select %Free Space.

In the Instance of selected object section, click on C:

Then click Add>>. The % Free Space counter is added to the Added counters pane.

Click on Show description checkbox. Windows will give us information on what % Free Space is all about.

Step 6: Find the LogicalDisk — % Free Space now added to the list.

Click the arrow up next to LogicalDisk to collapse this list.

Generally, the value registered by LogicalDisk — % Free Space should not go lower than 20% of our computer’s disk capacity. This is a common baseline used by IT support persons to ensure that disk storage will be sufficient to store data and run applications reliably on our computer.

Step 7: On the Add Counters dialog box, scroll down the list. Find PhysicalDisk then expand it.

Step 8: Under Physical Disk, click on % Disk Time.

In the Instances of selected object section, click on 0 C:

Then choose Add>>. The % Disk Time counter is added to the Added counters pane.

The value registered by PhysicalDisk — % Disk Time should not go above 80% over a sustained period. This value may shoot up if there is heavy disk activity within the system as a result of disk read or disk write operations.

Step 9: Step Back in the Add Counters dialog box, scroll up the list and look for Memory.

Expand Memory and select Available Mbytes, then click Add>>. The Available Mbytes counter is added to the Added counters pane.

For the Available Mbytes, ideally, our system must have at least 25–30% of the total system memory available for reasonable performance.

Step 10: Still, under Memory object, scroll down the list and look for Pages/sec.

Select Pages/sec and choose Add>>. The Pages/sec counter has been added under the Memory section of the Added counters pane.

Memory pages are like blocks of information where application/data temporarily reside while they are being used by an application or user. When there is peak demand for system memory, these memory pages are written to a file on disk called pagefile.sys which serves as an extension of our computer’s physical RAM.

Ideally, pages/sec should have a value of 0–20 in normal usage. If it goes above this value, it could mean that there is insufficient memory on the computer.

Step 11: On the Add Counters dialog box, scroll down the list and look for Network Interface.

Expand Network Interface and click Bytes Total/sec.

In the Instances of selected object section, select Microsoft Hyper-V Network Adapter.

Click Add>>.

The Bytes Total/sec counter is added to the Added counters pane.

Step 12: Once complete, click OK.

In summary, these are the objects and their corresponding counters that we added: LogicalDisk- % Free Space; Memory — Available Mbytes, Pages/sec; Network Interface Bytes Total/sec; PhysicalDisk — % Disk Time.

Step 13: Back in Performance Monitor, the parameters that are being monitored are now listed in the bottom pane. We can click on a parameter and notice the values registered in the Last, Average, Minimum, Maximum, Duration values.

Leave the Performance Monitor application running for the next task.

Task 1 Complete!

Task 2 — Modify the System Counters

Performance Monitor gives us the option to modify the system counters that are being monitored. We can change the details of the counter, or want to remove a counter and add a new one. In this task, we will change the counter for the physical disk on PLABWIN10.

To make changes to the current system counters, perform the following steps:

Step 1: From Performance Monitor console, click the Properties icon from the icon bar at the top.

When the Performance Monitor Properties dialog appears, notice that the Data tab is displayed by default. This box displays the counters specified for monitoring.

Of the counters displayed, notice that \PhysicalDisk(0 C:)\% Disk Time is listed as a counter.

Step 2: To remove the counter, select \PhysicalDisk(0 C:)\% Disk Time and click Remove.

Notice the selected counter is removed from the list. To add a new counter, click Add.

The Add Counters dialog box is displayed.

Step 3: On the list of counters displayed under Available counters on the left pane, scroll up and click PhysicalDisk.

Notice all the instances of the PhysicalDisk are listed in the Instance of selected object text box on the left pane.

Step 4: On the Instance of selected object text box, select <All Instances>

Click the down-arrow next to the PhysicalDisk counter to display the details of the available counter.

Step 5: From the list of displayed parameters, click % Disk Time and click Add>>. The % Disk Time parameter is added to the Added counters pane.

Step 6: Notice that the valid counter — \PhysicalDisk * \% Disk Time now appears on the Added counters pane below.

Click OK.

Click OK once more.

Keep the Performance Monitor program running for the next activity.

Task 2 Complete!

Task 3 — Change the Data Presentation Format

All the data captured by the counters are presented in the form of a line graph, by default. However, Performance Monitor enables us to change the format (chart/graph/report) to represent the data. In this task, we will use the chart function of Windows Performance Monitor to specify/change the display format for the data captured.

To change the data presentation format, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Click on Change graph type and choose Histogram bar.

Find the histogram bar view now displayed.

Step 2: Click again on change graph type and choose Report.

We now have the report with numeric values.

Task 3 Complete!

Task 4 — Capturing data using Data Collector Sets

Performance Monitor organizes the data collected for various counters into Data Collector Sets. A data collector set is a single entity that provides information on various counters collected via Performance Monitor.

We can use data collector sets to track system performance, log performance data for later use, raise a flag when a value is reached or exceeded, generate system alarms or event triggers, or as inputs to other applications on the system. Information logged in a data collector set can be presented in various formats. In this task, we will use the counters that we have created earlier to create a Data Collector Set log file.

To capture data into a Data Collector Set log file, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Right-click on Performance Monitor node in the left pane and choose New > Data Collector Set

Step 2: From Create a new Data Collector Set, in the Name box, type:

On-peak performance counters

Click Next.

Step 3: When asked where this data is to be saved, click Next to accept the default folder path.

Step 4: From Create a data collector set page, accept the default setting for now which is Save and close.

Click Finish.

Step 5: Navigate to Data Collector Sets > User Defined and we can now see that the On-peak performance counters data collector set is now available. Click on this Data collector set.

From the right details pane, right-click on System Monitor Log and choose Properties.

Step 6: From the System Monitor Logs Properties dialog box, we will recall the objects we added in the Charts view earlier.

Step 7: Click on the Log format drop-down, and we will find the supported file formats of the system log file.

For this lab, we will use Binary.

Step 8: Go to Sample interval and change the number to 30, units will be in seconds.

Step 9: Finally, leave the Maximum samples unchanged as we will not set limits on the number of samples taken.

Click Apply.

Then click on File tab.

Step 10: From File tab, select the following checkboxes:

Prefix file with computer name Log mode: Append

Click OK.

Task 4 Complete!

Task 5 — Creating Data Collector Set Templates

Data collector set templates save time in creating a copy of the current data collector sets. We can create a template from an existing data collector set, import the ones saved on other computers on the network, or use the built-in templates offered by Windows OS. We can then reuse these templates to create new data collector sets to collect data on similar counters but with slight variations. For example, we can use the template of the On-peak performance counters data collector set to create an Off-peak performance counters data collector set to monitor the system performance during the off-peak hours.

Templates are most useful in cases where we need to monitor similar system parameters on multiple computers. We can create a template and replicate the data collector set specification across the computers; thus saving time and reducing the human error element while defining various data collector sets.¹

In this task, we will create a template based on the On-peak performance counter data collector set data.

To create a data collector set template, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Back in Performance Monitor window, expand Data Collector Sets, and then expand User Defined node.

Find the On-peak performance counters on the details pane, right-click it and choose Save Template

Step 2: From the Save As dialogue box, click in File name box and type:


Click Save.

Task 5 Complete!

Task 6 — Import data collector set template

In this task, we will import a template we saved earlier.

To use a template to create a data collector set, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Right-click on User Defined node and choose New > Data Collector Set.

Step 2: From How would you like to create this new data collector set page, in the Name box, type:

Off-peak performance counters

Ensure that Create from a template is selected then click Next.

Step 3: When asked Which template would you like to use, click Browse

Step 4: Remember the template we saved earlier? Go to c:\Perflogs and find the template.

From the Open box, click peakdcs then click Open.

Step 5: From Where you like the data to be saved, click Next to accept the folder path.

Step 6: From Create the data collector set page, choose Open properties for this data collector set option.

Click Finish.

We can now make modifications about a data collector set template. The Off peak performance counters Properties dialog box is displayed as specified by us in the last step of the wizard.

Go to Schedule tab.

Step 7: From Schedule tab, click Add

Step 8: On the Folder Action dialog box, change the Start time to 11:00:00 PM.

Click OK.

Step 9: Back in Off-peak data collector set Properties, we can see the Schedule event.

Click OK.

We now have Off-peak performance counters, and On-peak performance counters log files.

Both collector sets are Stopped at the moment.

Task 6 Complete!

Task 7 — Creating Alerts

Another useful feature of Performance Monitor is that it enables us to specify alerts to be raised based on system performance of a computer resource. We can use the values of the data collected by various counters to specify the event to raise the alarm.

To create a sample alert for the processor, follow these steps:

Step 1: Under Data Collector Sets, go to User Defined node and right-click on it.

Choose New > Data Collector Set.

Step 2: On the How you like to create this new data collector set page, click in the Name box and type:

Processor alert

Then choose Create manually (Advanced) option.

Click Next.

Step 3: On the What type of data do you want to include page, choose Performance Counter Alert option

Click Next.

Step 4: On the Which performance counters would you like to include page, click Add

Step 5: On the Available counter dialog box, expand Processor object.

Step 6: Under Processor object, click % Processor Time.

In the Instances of selected object, choose _Total.

Then click Add>>

Step 7: Now the % Processor Time is now added.

Click OK.

Step 8: Back in the Which performance counters would you like to monitor page, ensure that Alert when is set to Above.

In the Limit box, type 75

Click Next.

Step 9: On the Create the data collector set page, verify that Save and close is selected.

Click Finish.

Step 10: We now have three objects in the User defined data collector sets.

Keep Performance Monitor open.

We will use the Processor Alert in a later exercise.

Task 7 Complete!

Task 8 — Use data collector set to capture system performance data

In this task, we will run data collector set for about 1 minute to capture performance data on the PLABWIN10 device.

To use the data collector to capture performance data, follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to Data Collector Set > User Defined node.

Right-click On-peak performance counters and choose Start.

Step 2: The On-peak performance counters is now in running state as we can see with the green playback button displayed next to the name listed on the navigation pane at the left.

Notice also that the System Monitor Log appears in the details pane as well.

Let the On-peak performance counters data collector set to run for about 1 minute.

Step 3: After 1 minute, right-click On-peak performance counters and choose Stop.

Step 4: If we want to see the created report immediately, navigate to Reports, expand User Defined > On-peak performance counters and finally click on PLABWIN10_System Monitor Log.blg.

Find the line chart in the details pane.

Step 5: lick on the Change graph type and choose Report.

We can now view the collected system performance data in a numeric report format.

Step 6: We can make a printout of the chart or report by expanding On-peak performance counters then right-click on System Monitor Log.blg then choose Print.

Step 7: On the Print dialog box, since there are no printers installed, choose Microsoft Print to PDF.

Click Print.

Step 8: On the Save Print Output As dialog box, click in the File name box and type:


Click Save.

Minimize the Performance Monitor application.

Exercise 1 Complete!

Exercise 2 — Detecting System Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks happen when a computer resource (CPU, disk, memory, network interface, and process) reaches its capacity, causing the performance of the entire system to slow down. Bottlenecks are usually caused by insufficient or misconfigured resource or faulty system components and frequent requests for resources by an application.

Regular system monitoring can help us detect bottlenecks and manage the same to avoid performance deterioration. To setup an effective system monitoring, specify counters, define baselines, and configure the monitor alarms to raise a flag as soon as a baseline is surpassed.

To optimize our computer’s performance, we need to develop baselines for each system. A performance baseline is the expected level of system performance as measured through a performance monitoring application. The baseline can be defined in a policy or collected from actual system activity.

Task 1 — Download tools to create system bottlenecks

In this task, we will download some tools that will introduce system bottlenecks to our computer. To download the tools, follow these steps:

Step 1: Switch to PLABWIN10 device.

On the taskbar, click the Internet Explorer icon to launch it.

Step 2: On the Tools and Resources web page, click Tools.

Step 3: On the [..] > Tools path, scroll down and look for Utilities and click it.

Step 4: On the [..] >Tools > Utilities page, click

When asked “What do you want to do with” click Save.

Step 5: When is downloaded, click the Open folder in the information bar.

The apps archive file is displayed in File Explorer. Right-click on the apps archive and choose Extract All

In Select a destination and extract files page, click Extract to continue.

Another instance of File Explorer opens. We can see the tools available there.

Close all instances of File Explorer and exit Internet Explorer.

Task 1 Complete!

Task 2 — Create system bottleneck in CPU

In this task, we will run a program that will create a system bottleneck in the computer’s processor.

To simulate a bottleneck on the processor, follow these steps:

Step 1: Reopen Performance Monitor.

Navigate to Data Collector Sets > User Defined, then click on Processor alert.

Now go to the details pane and right-click DataCollector01 then choose Properties.

Step 2: From DataCollector01 Properties, click Alert Task tab.

The Alert Task gives us the option to run a batch file whenever the criteria of the alert are met.

For example, when the % Processing Time for Processor crosses the threshold of 75%.

In this step, we will not put parameters in this tab. Click OK.

Step 3: Navigate to Data Collector Sets > User Defined.

Then right-click Processor alert and choose Start.

The Processor alert is now started, as indicated by the playback icon appended to the Processor alert data collector set icon on the navigation pane at the left.

Step 4: Reopen File Explorer, expand This PC then go to Downloads folder then finally click the apps folder.

Double-click the cpustres application.

Step 5: The CPU Stress application opens. Use the following settings.

On each of the four Threads, do the following:

  • Select the Active checkbox
  • In the Thread Priority drop-down list box, specify Highest
  • In the Activity drop-down list box, specify Busy

The CPU Stress application is currently running. Let it run for about 1 minute to simulate high CPU usage on the PLABWIN10 device.

Step 6: Once again from CPU Stress application, clear all the Active checkboxes under all four Threads. This will free up system resources.

Close CPU Stress application.

Step 7: To see the event logs about the CPU going over the threshold limit of 75%, on the Windows Explorer window, right-click on This PC and choose Manage.

The Computer Management window opens.

Step 8: Expand Event Viewer, then expand Applications and Services Logs, go to Microsoft > Windows > Diagnosis-PLA and finally click on Operational.

On the details pane, we can find here the log file about the Processor going over the threshold value of 75%.

Step 9: Right-click on any log file with an Event ID of 2031 then choose Event Properties.

Read through the information given in the General tab of Event Properties — Event 2031, Diagnosis PLA dialogue box.

Click Close when finished.

Exit from Computer Management.

Step 10: Reopen Performance Monitor and right-click Processor alert and choose Stop.

Exercise 2 Complete!

Anxious Buddhist | Hobby Eater | Maze Master

Anxious Buddhist | Hobby Eater | Maze Master