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Analyzing and Logging Performance

Windows 10 provides many tools to help you track performance. You could track current and relative performance and provided techniques for determining resource usage using Task Manager and uncovering problems using the Event Logs. Although these tools are excellent, you might need to dig deeper to diagnose complex problems and optimize performance.

Additional tools for resolving performance issues include:

  • Action Center:
    Allows you to check for problems that are affecting performance and try to find solutions using automated processes.
  • Reliability Monitor:
    Allows you to analyze reliability issues that are affecting performance and determine their causes.
  • Resource Monitor:
    Allows you to track resource usage on the computer. The information provided is similar to Task Manager but more detailed.
  • Performance Monitor:
    Allows you to log performance data, watch resource usage over time, and determine areas that can be optimized.

Resolving Failures and Reliability Issues

Windows 10 includes an automated diagnostics framework for detecting and diagnosing many common problems with applications, hardware devices, and Windows itself. Restart Manager and Action Center are the core components of this framework that you'll interact with.

Windows 10 uses Restart Manager to shut down and restart applications automatically. If Windows diagnostics detects that an application has stopped responding, Restart Manager attempts to stop the application's primary process and then restart the application. Problem reports related to nonresponsive applications are logged in the Action Center, as are problem reports for other types of failures.

Checking for Problems That Are Affecting Performance

After you install a device, Windows 10 attempts to detect the hardware and install the device automatically. If Windows 10 detects the device but cannot install the device automatically, you may find a related solution in Action Center. Typically, Action Center opens automatically, allowing you to begin troubleshooting immediately.

Similarly, if Windows diagnostics detects a problem with a hardware device or Windows component, Windows 10 displays a notification telling you there is a problem. If you click this notification, Windows 10 displays more information, including possible fixes that can help you resolve the problem.

On the far-right side of the taskbar, you'll find the notification area, which also has a notification icon for Action Center. If you move your mouse pointer over the Action Center icon, a tooltip provides information about current notifications. Clicking this icon opens the Action Center notification panel.

In Action Center, you'll see notifications under one or two general categories, with the most common category being Security And Maintenance. Each notification has an Expand/Collapse button and a Close button. Click Expand to get more details, if available. Click Close to clear the notification.

Action Center notification settings control whether you are notified about problems. To stop being notified about problems with a particular app, right-click a related notification in Action Center and then select Turn Off Notifications For This App.

Although Action Center provides insights into possible issues, you really need to open Control Panel and access the Security And Maintenance page to learn more about detected issues. Open this page by typing Security And Maintenance in the Search box and pressing Enter.

While working with the Security And Maintenance page in Control Panel, you can click the Security or Maintenance heading to expand the section and view more detailed information. Expand the Security area to get more information about the status and configuration of your computer's core security components. Known problems are colorcoded. Red-coded issues are warnings about important problems that need your attention. Orange-coded issues are cautions about problems that you might want to review.

Notification settings control whether you are notified about problems. To view and manage these settings, click Change Security And Maintenance Settings in the left pane. Then turn notifications for messages on or off by selecting or clearing check boxes.

While automated reported and detection works fairly well, some problems can be missed by the diagnostics framework. If you suspect that your computer has problems that hasn't been identified, you can initiate automatic problem detection simply by opening Security And Maintenance, expanding the Maintenance panel, and then clicking Check For Solutions. When this process is complete, your computer is updated to include all newly discovered problems, and solutions are provided if known.

If automated diagnostics detects problems for which there are no solutions available, you'll see the Problem Reporting dialog box and be able to send a problem report. Click Cancel if you don't want to send a report.

If automated diagnostics detects problems for which solutions are available, you can resolve the problems immediately. Each known problem will have a solution button. Click the View Problem Response button to display a page providing more information about the problem. Note the following:

  • When a configuration issue is causing a problem, you'll find a description of the problem and a step-by-step guide for modifying the configuration to resolve the problem.
  • When a driver or software issue is causing a problem, you'll find a link to download and install the latest driver or software update.

Analyzing Reliability Issues That Are Affecting Performance

Windows 10 tracks the relative reliability of your computer in Reliability Monitor. You can use the related reports to determine how stable your computer is and what components, applications, or devices have caused problems. When you are working with the Security And Maintenance page in Control Panel, you can access reliability reports by expanding the Maintenance panel, scrolling down, and then clicking View Reliability History.

Reliability Monitor tracks changes to the computer and compares them to changes in system stability. This gives you a graphical representation of the relationship between changes in the configuration and changes in stability. By recording software installation, software removal, application failures, hardware failures, and Windows failures, and key events regarding the configuration of your computer, Reliability Monitors gives you a timeline of changes large and small and information about their effect on reliability. You can use this information to pinpoint changes that are causing stability problems. For example, if you see a sudden drop in stability, you can click a data point and then expand the related data set to find the specific event that caused the problem.

Reliability Monitor displays stability data by days or weeks. The default view is days. To view history by weeks, click the Weeks option for View By.

Your computer's stability is graphed with values ranging from 1, meaning extremely poor reliability, to 10, meaning extremely high reliability. A graph for a computer experiencing reliability problems.

The graph has left and right scroll buttons. By scrolling left, you can see reliability data for earlier dates. You can scroll right to go to later dates.

In this example, the reliability of the computer has been severely impacted by a series of failures. Failures and other reliability events are summarized on the graph relative to the selected time period, either by day or by week. Failures are divided into three categories:

  • Application Failures:
    Tracks failures caused by running applications. An application that stopped working or stopped responding is tracked as an application failure.
  • Windows Failures:
    Tracks failures caused by Windows components and system hardware. A hardware error that occurred is tracked as a Windows failure, as are errors related to component configuration.
  • Miscellaneous Failures:
    Tracks other types of failures that occur, such as failures caused by an unexpected shutdown of the operating system.

Reliability Monitor tags failures that have affected stability as critical. Events tagged as warnings indicate a potential to affect stability. For example, failed Windows Updates are marked as warnings because most updates need to be applied to ensure reliability and stability.

You'll also see that successful Windows updates, successful application installations, and many other system activities are logged using informational events. Although these activities don't represent failures, they do have an effect on the overall stability of your computer.

Clicking a column in the graph displays details for the events that occurred on that day or during a selected week. Events are listed by source, summary, and date. Under Action, you'll see several possible actions, depending on the type of event.

If Windows detected a critical problem and resolved it automatically, a View Problem Response link allows you to display information about how Windows resolved the problem. If the critical problem is unresolved, a Check For A Solution link lets you report the problem and check for a solution. For warnings and informational events, a View Technical Details link provides detailed technical information about the event.

The bottom panel of Reliability Monitor provides three additional options. You can:

  • Click Save Reliability History and use the dialog box provided to select a save location and file name for a Reliability Monitor report. The report will contain complete details about the computer's stability, formatted using XML. You can view the report at any time in Internet Explorer by double-clicking the file. If you attach a report to an email message, you can send the report to someone who can help you with troubleshooting.
  • Click View All Problem Reports to open the Problem Reports window and access a history of all identified problems and their status. Most problems have a status of Report Sent, Not Reported, More Data Required, or No Solution Available. To clear the history, click Clear All Problem Reports.
  • Click Check For Solutions To All Problems to start automated diagnostics. When diagnostic testing is complete, Action Center shows any newly discovered problems and also provides solutions if known.

When you view all problem reports, the Problem Reports page in Control Panel, lists problems that you can report by source, summary, date, and status. The status shows whether the problem has or has not been sent. The status also shows when Microsoft needs more information from the general user community to resolve a problem, as well as when there is no solution available for a particular problem.

Although it may seem rather odd that Windows lists problems as having no solution available, remember how diagnostics works. Diagnostics looks for specific types of Windows, application, and hardware failures. Some problems can be solved with updates and patches. Others, such as compatibility issues, may simply be a result of the way in which an application was written. Also remember that if a solution is available for a problem, the solution is shown in Action Center.

Regardless of the problem status, you can do something in Problem Reports that you can't always do in Reliability Monitor: You can right-click a problem and choose Check For Solution to re-check for a solution to a problem. You also can right-click a problem and choose View Solution to get more information about a problem that's been resolved or View Technical Details to get technical details about a problem.

It's important to point out that only problems with solutions are shown on the Security And Maintenance page. If you want to see a complete list of all problems your computer has encountered with apps, devices, driver installation and more, you need to review the All Problem Reports page in Control Panel. Although Reliability Monitor provides a link to open this page, you also can open this page by typing All Problem Reports in the Search box and pressing Enter.