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I am having sudden spikes in disk read activity, which can tie up my system for a few seconds at a time. I would like to figure out the cause of this before I set my machine to go live.

With Performance Monitor I know I can log activity, but this does not show me individual processes that cause a spike.

Resource Monitor allows me to see processes, but I have no way to keep logs. It seems unless I have Resource Monitor open at the time of a spike, I will not be able to identify the process causing the spike.

Can someone suggest a way to log with Resource Monitor, or an alternative tool that can?

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You can add I/O counters to perfmon for any or all processes. –  joeqwerty Feb 6 '11 at 21:04

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What I mostly do is just open a command prompt and then I type perfmon.msc. That gives me the performance monitor. Then I create a Data Collector set, with the counters I need. But after that analyzing the data collector log is the harder part.

I wrote a blog article about analyzing performance logs on my own blog, it's here for your reference (and also a description which counter is used for what): Key Performance Counters and their thresholds for Windows Server (suggested by Microsoft). There are a lot of counters you can use, and there also some templates. Those templates are inside the PAL tool (Performance Analysis of Logs): http://pal.codeplex.com/

This tool can also analyze the performance logs for you and give you a nice HTML formatted report. Of course you can always choose to not use this tool and analyze the peformance logs yourself.

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