Performance Monitor is a tool that does exactly what its name suggests: it monitors the performance of your Windows system. Performance Monitor can display the results in graphs, bar charts, or as numeric values. You can use the results of this monitoring to identify which components of your Windows device you need to enhance or to replace. Read this guide to learn how to get Performance Monitor started.
NOTE: This guide covers Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. Some methods work in all three versions of Windows, others just in one or two. For each method, we mention the Windows version in which it works. If you do not know the version of Windows that you have, read this tutorial: What version of Windows do I have installed?.
1. Open Performance Monitor using search (all Windows versions)
In Windows 10 and Windows 7, you can search using the full name of the tool Performance Monitor. In all Windows versions, you can search by the name of its executable file: perfmon.
In Windows 10, click or tap the search field on your taskbar, type "Performance Monitor" or perfmon in it, and click or tap the result with the same name.
In Windows 8.1 start typing "perfmon" on the Start screen. The typing activates the search function and, in the results that appear, click or tap perfmon.
In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and type "Performance Monitor" in its search field. In the list of results, click on Performance Monitor.
2. Open Performance Monitor from the Start Menu (Windows 10 only)
You can find and open Performance Monitor in the Windows 10 Start Menu. Click Start, scroll down the list of apps, and open the Windows Administrative Tools folder. There you find the Performance Monitor shortcut.
3. Open Performance Monitor by asking Cortana to do it (Windows 10 only)
If Cortana is enabled on your Windows 10 system, you can ask her to open Performance Monitor for you.
After you activate Cortana by saying "Hey Cortana" or by clicking or tapping the microphone button in the taskbar search field, say "Open Performance Monitor." Cortana confirms your command:
During the execution of the command, Cortana displays the "Starting Performance Monitor" message:
4. Pin Performance Monitor to the taskbar, Start Menu (Windows 10 and Windows 7) or the Start screen (Windows 8.1)
If you access Performance Monitor frequently, the convenient places where you can pin it for quick access are the taskbar and the Start Menu (Windows 10 and Windows 7) or Start Screen (Windows 8.1).
First, find Performance Monitor in the Windows 10 Start Menu. Click Start, scroll down the list of apps, and open the Windows Administrative Tools folder. Right-click or long press on the Performance Monitor shortcut. In the menu that opens, you have options to "Pin to Start" for the Start Menu and More. When you click or tap on More, the menu extends with the first option to "Pin to taskbar."
In Windows 8.1 start typing "perfmon" on the Start screen. The typing activates the search function and, in the results, right-click or press-and-hold perfmon. In the menu that appears, choose "Pin to Start."
You have to pin Performance Monitor to the Start screen, to be able to pin it to the taskbar. Right-click or long tap on the Performance Monitor tile in the Start screen, and select "Pin this program to taskbar" in the menu that opens up.
In Windows 7, open the Start Menu and type "Performance Monitor" in its search field. Right-click or long press on the Performance Monitor in the results list. In the menu that appears you have options to "Pin to Start Menu" and "Pin to Taskbar."
5. Open Performance Monitor from System Configuration (all Windows versions)
You can launch the Performance Monitor tool from System Configuration. Go to the Tools tab in System Configuration, select the Performance Monitor and click or tap Launch.
6. Open Performance Monitor from Computer Management (all Windows versions)
Performance Monitor is bundled by Windows in Computer Management together with other components like Event Viewer and Device Manager. You can find the Performance Monitor tool in the menu tree on the left side of the Computer Management window. Click or tap on Performance to access the full Performance Monitor.
7. Use the Run window (all Windows versions)
Press Win + R on the keyboard to open the Run window. In the Open field type "perfmon" and press Enter on the keyboard or click OK.
Performance Monitor is now open, and you can start using it.
8. Open Performance Monitor from Command Prompt or PowerShell (all Windows versions)
You can use Command Prompt or PowerShell too. In any of these apps, type perfmon on the command line and press ENTER.
The command line utilization for Performance Monitor can be enhanced using parameters - read how to use Performance Monitor (perfmon) command-line parameters.
9. Create a Performance Monitor shortcut (all Windows versions)
If a desktop shortcut is your preferred way to start apps, you can create one for Performance Monitor. In the Create Shortcut window type the destination "perfmon" (without the quotes). Read this guide if you need help creating shortcuts.
10. Open Performance Monitor by using Windows Explorer (Windows 7) or File Explorer (Windows 8.1 and Windows 10)
Windows Explorer from Windows 7 or the File Explorer from Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 are convenient ways to start Performance Monitor. Type "perfmon" in the address bar and press ENTER on the keyboard.
11. Open Performance Monitor by running its executable file (all Windows versions)
The Performance Monitor executable file is found in the System32 subfolder of the Windows folder. You need to identify the file perfmon.exe and then double-click or double-tap on it.
NOTE: In the file list above you may notice two files "perfmon". Both perfmon.exe and perfmon.msc run the same application when you double-click or double-tap on them. Leaving aside the technical details on how they are implemented (the files are indeed different), the only practical difference is that the command line parameters work only when using perfmon.exe.
How do you open the Performance Monitor?
We showed you eleven methods for starting Performance Monitor so that you can select the one that is most suitable for your needs. Which is your preferred method to start Performance Monitor? Let us know in a comment below, and share your favorite ways of accessing Performance Monitor.