Is Windows Performance Monitoring Good or Evil?

There are many performance counters in every version of Microsoft Windows that is based on the WinNT core (i.e., WinNT 4.0, Win 2000, XP and Vista). These counters continuously monitor system performance and deposit the findings in the Windows registry. When you start any performance monitoring tool of Windows XP, such as System Monitor, these values are retrieved by it and displayed in a systematic manner.

The problem with the arrangement is that if you never use any system performance monitoring tool, the information will still be saved in the registry continuously, which can consume some CPU resources. Unless you want to monitor your system performance frequently, this is nothing but wastage of resources. If you have a really slow PC lacking in resources, you may find that your PC will often slow down visibly when you try to perform certain memory-hungry tasks.

You can disable the constant monitoring of system resources and turn off all performance counters by using the following tweak in the Windows registry:

  1. Click on the “Start” button, and then click on “Run”.
  2. Type “Regedit” in the box and click on OK.
  3. In the regedit window, expand the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE by clicking on the plus sign beside it.
  4. Expand the following keys one after another – SOFTWARE, Microsoft, Windows NT, CurrentVersion and finally Perflib.
  5. Right click on Perflib and select New from the pop-up menu.
  6. Select DWORD value.
  7. Name the new value as DisablePerformanceCounters (Note carefully the spelling and see that there are no spaces in the name)
  8. Right click on the value once you have created it and set the value to 1.
  9. Refresh the Regedit window by pressing F5.
  10. Close Regedit and reboot your PC.
  11. Your PC should now have all performance monitoring counters disabled.

Be warned however that if you apply this tweak, you will not be able to use System Monitor or other performance monitoring tools. You can only observe the CPU performance by typing perfmon.msc in the Run box and pressing Enter.

The perfmon will not be able to display complete information about your system either if you have applied the above tweak, but it will show how much of your CPU resources are being used by processes running on your PC. The number will be something between 0 and 100, the lower the better.

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