How to monitor your Windows 10 PC’s performance – two approaches

James Walker

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Curious about the hardware utilisation of your Windows 10 PC? Here’s a quick getting started guide to monitoring the resources of your device. We’ll show two different approaches to displaying information about various hardware components.

Approach 1: Task Manager

Task Manager is the simplest way to see what’s going on under the hood. You may already have used this tool in the past, to see which apps are open or adjust what happens on startup.

Launch Task Manager with the Ctrl+Shift+Esc keyboard shortcut. Click the “Performance” tab at the top of the app to switch to the detailed performance information view.

Task Manager in Windows 10

Here, you’ll see a list of your hardware devices down the left side. This includes your processor, graphics card, RAM, storage drives and network connections.

The current utilisation of each resource is displayed beneath its name. Storage devices and graphics cards display percentage utilisation. CPU figures include the current actual clock speed. RAM displays absolute consumption and network connections indicate the realtime transfer rate.

Task Manager in Windows 10

You can click any of the devices in the list to open a detailed view. The information displayed here will vary with the type of device. You generally get a graph of realtime utilisation which can be customised by right-clicking. Below the graph, you’ll see a mixture of realtime statistics and static hardware specifications.

For most purposes, Task Manager’s performance tab is likely to be sufficient. It gives you an at-a-glance view into how your PC is performing. If you’re looking for more advanced monitoring capabilities, read on to learn about an alternative approach.

Approach 2: Performance Monitor

For detailed performance monitoring capabilities, you can turn to Windows’ aptly-named Performance Monitor. Open it by searching for its name in the Start menu.

Performance Monitor lets you create custom reports and graphs. These can give you advanced insights into how your hardware is being used. The launch page gives you a summary table of realtime statistics. Individual graphs and reports can be found in the navigation menu to the left of the window.

Performance Monitor in Windows 10

Under “Monitoring tools,” click “Performance Monitor” to open the main graphing interface. You’ll see several different metrics show up by default. This window acts as a more sophisticated version of Task Manager’s Performance tab, letting you graph performance data while also seeing previous, average and minimum values.

To add a new metric to the chart, click the green “+” button in the toolbar. You’ll be presented with a lengthy list of available metrics. These include CPU consumption, memory usage and network activity, as well as less common options like power consumption, Bluetooth access and virtual machine activity.

Performance Monitor in Windows 10

Select a metric and click the “Add” button to add it to the chart. The new metric will now show up in the graphing screen.

You can change how the data is displayed using the toolbar options. Line (default), histogram and report views are available. Clicking the Customise button lets you change attributes of the chart itself, such as the colours and labels.

Performance Monitor in Windows 10

We’ve only covered the basics of Performance Monitor’s functionality. There’s much more you can do with this tool by creating custom graphs and reports. While Task Manager presents a simple and accessible interface to your hardware, Performance Monitor is aimed at system administrators who need deep insights into particular performance issues.