Overview of Performance Data Collection

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

The Windows ServerĀ 2003 family defines the performance data it collects in terms of objects, counters, and instances. A performance object is any resource, application, or service that can be measured. Using System Monitor and Performance Logs and Alerts, you can select performance objects, counters, and instances to collect and present data about the performance of system components or installed software.

Each object has performance counters that are used to measure various aspects of performance, such as transfer rates for disks or, for processors, the amount of processor time consumed. The object may also have an instance, which is a unique copy of a particular object type; not all object types support multiple instances.

This Help file describes objects, counters, and instances using the following syntax:

  • The \\Computer element is optional; it specifies the name of the computer. The default is the local computer.

  • The \Object element specifies the performance object that contains one or more performance counters. If this object has a variable list of instances, then an instance string is included.

  • The (ParentInstance/ObjectInstance#InstanceIndex) element is only required if the object supports multiple instances. The format of the string depends on the object type. If the object has single instances, the format is the instance name enclosed in parentheses. For example:


    For objects with multiple instances, the parent instance name comes before the object instance, and is separated by a forward slash ( / ) character. For example:


    If the object has multiple instances that have the same name string, they can be indexed sequentially by specifying the instance index (a number starting with "1") preceded by a pound sign. Instance indexes are zero-based, so all instances have an implicit zero index. For example:

  • The \Counter element is required; it specifies the performance counter.

An instance called _Total instance is available on most objects and represents the sum of the values for all instances of the object for a specific counter.

In addition to the counter descriptions provided in this Help file, to display counter descriptions you can click Explain in the Add Counters dialog box in System Monitor or Performance Logs and Alerts. You can also click Explain in the Add Objects dialog box in Performance Counter Logs to display performance object descriptions.