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Keep Tabs on System Resources.


Have you ever been curious about what your computer is doing all the time?


This question was answered on November 3, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Managing system resources is critical to ensure youre getting the best performance out of your machine Computers only have a certain amount at their disposal, and every web browser you open, picture you view, and cute little screensaver you install is going to take a slice for itself Besides these obvious examples, your computer is also processing programs in the background, where theyre not likely to be so apparent Examples include operating system components, your antivirus software (I hope), and probably spyware or worse

Windows wants you to know how its performing, so its included a utility just for that purpose.

For Windows 98 and ME (also known as the Windows 9x family):

1 Open your Start menu > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > click Resource Meter.

2 Now you should see a small green graph in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.

3 By hovering your mouse over that icon it will show the current percentage of your processor being used.

4 Double-click the icon to get more detailed information on your computers state.

5 As a little experiment, try running a program or two, and see how it affects the numbers being displayed in the Resource Meter.

6 If your computer has less than 80% system resources free without running any programs; thats a good indication that you have too much stuff running in the background.

For Windows 2000 and XP:

1 Windows 2000 and XP expanded on resource tracking with a utility called Task Manager.

2 Press Ctrl Alt Delete > click the Performance tab

3 Here you find a real-time meter and graph of the systems processor and memory usage As you use more programs, you will see memory usage increase.

4 Unlike the Resource Meter, Task Manager shows you the amount of resources currently in use, not free.

5 If you minimize Task Manager youll see a small green meter at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen This represents processor usage If youre not doing anything, your processor usage should level between 0% and 2%.

6 Task Manager also includes more advanced features such as the Processes tab.

7 This list shows the intimate goings-on of the system Here problems can be identified by finding processes taking up excessive memory or processor power; or that just plain shouldnt be there, AKA viruses and spyware.

Unless you know what youre doing, be content with looking, and dont touch Ending the wrong process can have undesirable affects

This tip is one of the first ways of determining a computer problem So, now you know a simple way of identifying a possible problem before it gets out of hand Enjoy!

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Posted by Chad of Data Doctors on November 3, 2004