Helpdesk Challenge – understanding the Windows Resource Monitor

Windows Resource Monitor

When it comes to diagnosing problems – especially general performance issues – the Windows Resource Monitor is a great tool.

The Resource Monitor offers real-time information about all the various processes, applications and more that are going on in the background on your computer all the time.

How to use the Windows Resource Monitor

To get started with the Resource Monitor, click Start and type ‘resource’, then press Enter.

The main window is divided up into four headings: CPU, Disk, Network and Memory. Activity for each of these sections is displayed as a chart on the right.

Click the down-pointing arrows to the right of each heading for details.

The Resource Monitor doesn’t offer up any solutions, but it does provide a lot of useful information.

If a program is hogging lots of memory, for example, this could signify a problem, and tip you off on what issues you need to diagnose and repair.

Using Windows Resource Monitor

Windows Event Viewer

Windows has a few other diagnostic tools in its arsenal, such as the Event Viewer.

The Event Viewer logs just about everything that happens on your computer and allows you to look back at a specific time or action to see what might have gone wrong.

Another option is to use the Windows Reliability Monitor, which shows you how stable your system has been over a period of time. This lists any errors, crashes or freezes which have occurred on your machine, and when.

Read more about using the Windows Reliability Monitor

Windows Event Viewer

Scam warning

Recently, we’ve been told by readers that phone scammers have used the Event Viewer as part of a phone scam, whereby PC owners receive a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft.

The scammer then tries to convince the computer owner that their computer is suffering from a malware infection in order to gain remote access to the PC or extract money from the victim.

Part of the way that the scam works is by using evidence of an infection based on warnings in the victim’s Event Viewer, which the scammers navigate to once you’ve allowed them remote access.

The truth is that the Event Viewer routinely produces numerous warnings, many of which are relatively trivial. The scammers play on the fact that, unless you’re an expert, it’s easy to assume that these warnings are more significant than they are.

If you pick up the phone to a tech support scammer, we’ve had hundreds of suggestions for dealing with scam calls from Helpdesk Challenge readers.

More on this…


14 replies

    1. I followed the instructon in XP and it worked immediately, select the start icon (coloured flag in circle) and type resource into the search field, it takes you straight there, good luck.

    1. Go to windows task manager, (press control, shift key and delete), then select resource monitor, (bottom right hand corner. You will need an admin. password). This will give you the resource monitor, hopefully!

  1. To get Task Manager you can “right click” with the cursor over the horizontal bar at the very bottom of the screen. Just select “Start Task Manager”. If you then select the “Performance” tab in Task Manager, you’ll see “Resource Monitor” as an option. Just click to start. This works for Vista and Windows 8.

  2. Right-clicking on the task bar and selecting Task Manager works for me on Vista and on Windows 7, and, iirc, on XP too. Always seemed to me to be the easiest of way of getting to it – just two mouse clicks. One further click on the Performance tab to get the graphs.

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