The Microsoft Windows Performance Monitor is a tool that administrators can use to examine how programs running on their computers affect the computer's performance. The tool can be used in real time and also be used to collect information in a log to analyze the data at a later time.
According to Microsoft, Windows Performance Monitor uses configuration information, performance counters and event trace data to make a full examination of a computer's performance. All of the information can be combined into Data Collector Sets. Event trace data is collected with trace provider components in individual applications or operating system components. Admins can combine multiple trace providers into something called a trace session. Performance counters take system activity and system state measurements in individual applications or the whole operating system. Microsoft says current values in performance counters can be requested by Windows Performance Monitor in specific intervals of time. Configuration data for Windows Performance Monitor comes from Windows registry key values.
See also: performance testing