Performance Logs and Alerts
Monitoring of system status and potential issues extends beyond reviewing the Event Viewer on occasion. Performance Logs and Alerts (from here referred to as PerfMon, which is the legacy name for this tool) provide a means by which to monitor system performance and to alert the system administrator when potential issues occur. PerfMon is split into three separate tools: counters, alerts and traces. In Windows 95, 98 and all NT versions, access it by typing perfmon at the Start>Run prompt.
Trace logs are useless for most administrators, and Microsoft freely admits that actually special tools are required to use them. It is safe to say that CompTIA will not include them as a topic in the A+ exam, and on the basis that they are so rarely used they wont be covered here.
Conversely, alerts are an extremely useful tool, especially for system administrators with many PCs to manage. Alerts are used to configure a threshold system for counters which, when triggered, will write an event to the event log. To place this in context, an administrator could configure two alerts, one which writes a warning message in the event log when free disk space drops below 15%, and another which writes an error message when the free space drops below 10%. A counter is simply the term given to a logical object that represents part of the operating system or computer.
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