PC Hardware

Resource Meter

The Resource Meter is used to monitor (in real time) the use of system resources. When activated, it adds a small bar graph to the taskbar in the notification area indicating the percentage of free resources, based on the computer's total resources. As the bar gets smaller (fewer resources available), it will change color indicating a potential problem. If the color changes to yellow, this means that resources have dropped to 30 percent. If the color changes to red, the resources have dropped to 15 percent. If the resources drop to 10 percent, Windows warns you that the computer is in imminent danger of hanging (unable to respond to user input), so you must start closing applications to avoid losing data. Figure 17.8 shows the Resource Meter in the notification box of the taskbar.

Figure 17.8 Resource Meter

For more details, hold the mouse over the Resource Meter icon for a second or two. This will cause a banner to display that shows the individual resource percentages. You can also double-click the icon to display the Resource Meter dialog box. (See Figure 17.9.)

Figure 17.9 Resource Meter dialog box

You might use these tools if a customer complains of getting out-of-memory errors, or that the computer's disk drives seems to run all the time. By monitoring memory use, you can determine how much memory is required to run all the applications, and which applications are consuming the most memory. From that information, you should be able to determine the best course of action. If a client is trying to decide whether or not to upgrade a processor, you can also monitor the CPU kernel to determine just how busy it is. If it is working more than 80 percent of the time, a new processor might be warranted.