Scott Hanselman

You aren't using Resource Monitor enough

August 5, '14 Comments [21] Posted in Tools
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Most folks learn how to use Task Manager pretty quickly. We've all been on the phone with non-technical-relative and ask them to open up Task Manager.

As we move from user to technical-user we are introduced to SysInternals tools and perhaps Process Monitor for finding out what's happening to a disk. However, I find that for quick questions that using Resource Monitor is faster to access and the information is easier to interpret.

You can bring Task Manager up, of course, by right clicking the Taskbar and clicking Task Manager. Or, hit Ctrl-Alt-ESC as a hotkey for Task Manager.

From Task Manager, you may never have noticed the Open Resource Monitor link at the bottom of the Performance tab.

image

Click that and open up a whole new insight into what's going on.

Disk

This is all great stuff but I find myself exploring the Disk tab the most.

Disk Activity

Remember to sort by Read or Write bytes/sec. I often sort by Total and often find things like DropBox in there.

CPU and the CPU usage of Services

Task Manager is great but it doesn't easily show how much CPU is being used by a Service. Resource Monitor not only lets you easily Filter processes with a checkbox, but you can also sort services by CPU usage.

Service by CPU time

On the CPU tab, is an Associated Handles pane. If Resource Monitor is a well-kept secret, then Associated Handles is a secret within a secret. You can search across all processes for an open file name (or any handle), as well as filter by Process or Service.

Filtered by Chrome

Network Activity

The Network Activity tab is super useful and jam-packed with information. It makes it easy to find a process from a port or TCP connection.

Network Activity

You have this tool and all these views now, and I suspect you might not be using it to the fullest. Perhaps you pull from a number of smaller applets or shareware utilities to pull it all together.

Once I reminded myself that Resource Monitor could be launched directly from the Task Manager (an app that I have open often a lot already) I started using it even more. I may just pin it to the Taskbar!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2014 12:34:58 AM UTC
Process Explorer. Run it as an elevated scheduled task on boot, and put it in the tray with \t. Run it always. Turn on Delta Read I/O and Delta Write I/O columns in the grid. Now when something seems wrong, click the icon in the system tray for a realtime dashboard of all your processes and at a glance see what's sucking the resources. Much better than the clunky MMC based Resource Monitor.
FM
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 1:12:45 AM UTC
Off topic, but I've always found Ctrl+Shift+Esc as a faster way to bring up the task manager
Matt Wicks
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 1:51:22 AM UTC
Nice post Hanselman. @Matt Wicks: Like you I've always use Ctrl+Shift+Esc :)
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 2:10:26 AM UTC
+1 for Ctrl+Shift+Esc
Chad
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 2:57:32 AM UTC
@FM good tip. But disagree that Resource Manager is of no use (you implied that). Great for things like seeing which ethernet card is under network load, identifying TCP of a program and the memory tab has a great at-a-glance representation of memory usage.

Associated handles looks awesome. Seems to be bringing up relevant registry keys for the program in question. That's buckets of goodness!
Dave
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 6:36:02 AM UTC
I think the point being made is that not everyone has other tools installed. When you are helping a relative with their computer they are unlikely to have any sysinternals stuff installed....
Scott Guymer
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 1:09:38 PM UTC
Wow! Thanks for this post, Scott. I consider myself to be pretty good at Windows, but I had no idea Resource Monitor was a thing.

Is there an out-of-the-box quick way to bring up Resource Manager using the keyboard, a la Ctrl+Shift+Esc for Task Manager? Maybe we can get Resource Manager added to the Win+X menu in a future Windows version?
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 2:18:26 PM UTC
Unfortunately, Resource Monitor, unlike Task Manager, requires admin rights.
Ben
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 3:52:24 PM UTC
@Jon Could you not create a shortcut to Resource Monitor and then assign a hot key to the shortcut?
Davin
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 5:58:39 PM UTC
@Davin, sure, but ideally if I were to train myself to use some key combination to open Resource Manager, I would want it work at any Windows machine I might sit down at -- like Ctrl+Shift+Esc does for Task Manager. Thus my preference for an "out-of-the-box" solution.
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 6:11:43 PM UTC
I have Resource Monitor pinned to my taskbar - in fact, I usually just leave it running all day. I'll confess I'd forgotten about the Associated Handles section - mostly I'm looking at the Disk tab.

+1 to Ctrl+Shift+Esc!
CarlD
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 8:22:52 PM UTC
Great article about the journey that starts with Task Manager
Taki
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 8:19:36 AM UTC
+1 to Ctrl+Shift+Esc!
And then you could just press <Esc> to close the Task Manager
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 10:25:40 AM UTC
Thanks for highlighting this tool - like most am always using TaskManager but didn't realise that so much handy information was collected together in this app.

This especially seems easier than diving into the console to look at what processes are open on ports.
Alex Washtell
Thursday, August 07, 2014 6:28:53 AM UTC
@Jon: Winkey, "resmon", Enter

Pretty much the only way I launch it
Rhys
Thursday, August 07, 2014 8:55:34 PM UTC
Oh snap! I thought i was sharp with the ole taskman, but Control-Alt-Escape is badass. Thank-you!
Friday, August 08, 2014 1:03:52 AM UTC
-4 for Ctrl+Shift+Esc :P
Sunday, August 10, 2014 4:49:10 AM UTC
@Jon
windows+r > perfmon /res

Thanks Scott!
BJosephs
Monday, August 11, 2014 3:03:27 PM UTC
The Resource Monitor is pinned to my taskbar and is something I pretty much leave open all the time. Great tool!
Wednesday, August 13, 2014 2:53:27 PM UTC
Good reminder to use the oft-forgotten new and improved Resource Monitor. Thank you for that.

[A couple helpful? tips]
Tip 1: To make a clickable icon of Resource Monitor, you can ALSO use this entry in your shortcut: %windir%\system32\perfmon.exe /res
(..take note of the underutilized poorly understood but very helpful Perfmon.)

Tip 2: How about a non-intrusive, low ram usage, highly customizable resource monitoring bar on your desktop? Try http://www.moo0.com/software/SystemMonitor/

Since my taskbar is a hidden item at the TOP of my screen, I use this monitor as a bootstarted horizontal bar locked to the screen bottom over which other program windows can lay.
Currently, I'm monitoring >CPU temp >CPU Loader >Bottleneck >Burdened By >HDD Loader >HDD Read >HDD Write >HD I/O on my laptop (Win81Pro)

Resource monitor gulps 47mb and .4 to 2% CPU, Whereas, Moo0 sips 5-6mb and a mere .3% CPU.

Moo0 is resizeable either vertical or horizontal, many many color combinations and even more options of what to display as a monitored item.

If I tell you anymore, it'll turn into an advertisement.




JustDave
Thursday, August 21, 2014 4:16:08 PM UTC
Resource Monitor is my "goto" tool when things are starting to lag. Unfortunately, in Windows 8 Microsoft saw fit to partially hide this useful tool from most users. With my default installation, bringing up the Start screen and typing "Resource Monitor" failed to find it. This was incredibly frustrating until I found this SuperUser answer: http://superuser.com/a/512730/204664. Apparently you have to enable "Show Administrative Tools" for easy access. I respect the choice to not display admin tools on the Start screen by default but it's ridiculous to hide them in the search as well.
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