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Use Advanced Tools to Troubleshoot Performance Problems in Windows 7

You have your new Windows 7 system up and running, but suddenly you realize some things are not running as smoothly as they once did. Today we take look at using the hidden but useful advanced system tools in Windows 7 to troubleshoot a problem.

Advanced System Tools

There is a very handy collection of system utilities that are included in Windows 7 and Vista that can help you troubleshoot problems that may arise. For some reason Microsoft felt the need to bury them in the OS so they’re not immediately apparent to most users. Here we take a look at accessing the diagnostic tools and briefly cover some of what’s included. 

To get to the tools type Performance Info into the search box in the Start menu and hit Enter.

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In the Performance Information and Tools windows click on Advanced Tools.

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Alternately you could click through to Control Panel \ All Control Panel Items \ Performance Information and Tools \ Advanced Tools…see what I mean by buried?

What’s Included

It opens up a list of different tools you can use to monitor different aspects of the system performance. From here you can do several things like defrag the hard drive, check Event Viewer, and even re-rate the Experience Index score. 

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Notice there is a column for Performance issues you can click on to get additional details on how to correct the problem. In this example it shows a driver interfering with Sleep mode and that changing visual settings will improve performance.

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In additional details it tells us turning off the Aero feature will improve performance. I find it odd that MS would alert you to turn off Aero as it’s a hyped feature to the interface since XP. At least they’re honest in telling you Aero can slow performance, especially with under powered video cards.

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Even Viewer is a great tool used by administrators that records event errors that happen “behind the scenes” so to speak. The information in these logs are meant for admins and advanced users to help determine why certain errors are occurring. Most users won’t need to worry about this section, but you may need to access it while receiving tech support.

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Resource Monitor is like the Task Manager on steroids…it’s a great tool to monitor what apps and services are using up your system’s memory, processor, disk usage, and network activity. If you find a service or program that is frozen or taking up too many resources you can close it out.

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A very handy tool that is not well known about is the ability to generate a system health report.

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Wait while an analysis takes place and the information is collected…

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The report takes about a minute to create and then you can go through a very detailed analysis of virtually every aspect of your system.

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You can also export the report to HTML format so you can share or save the report for future comparisons and troubleshooting.

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If you’re experiencing problems with your Windows 7 machine, using the included advanced system tools can help a lot, without the need for installing 3rd party utilities. 

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/4/09

Comments (3)

  1. shea

    Great article as usual from you guys but I had to smile. With my current 32-bit Vista OS I am always receiving the same visual setting performance issue problem and multiple errors regarding my start-up in my Event Viewer. I tried for days to figure out the “Start-up Errors” (good luck with the error codes on the MS site) and finally came across a techie if I remember correctly at one of the MS sites and he said to “just ignore them.” “Or, on a slow day just count them for fun and see which day has the most.” It’s probably third party software contributing to the error codes but it was amusing to say the least so I still spend my time cleaning the apartment or taking a shower while waiting on the darn thing to start up.

  2. ROBERT FREEMAN

    I HOPE THAT YOU CAN HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND MY PC ALOT BETTER THAN I DO NOW.I’ 74YEARS OLD AND CAN USE ALL THE HELP I CAN GET!!!

  3. diane johnson

    my computer is running SO slow! i don’t know how to get it back to normal speed. can you help me? thank you, diane

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