You can summon several utilities that manage or monitor performance characteristics of a Windows system from the command line. Some of these commands, such as perfmon, will launch the Windows XP Performance Monitor, which is now a console in the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Others, like logman, do not. In the case of logman, you can use that utility to run performance counters, as well as collect events in a trace log for both your local systems as well as other connected network systems. You'll also find the tracerprt command useful; it processes your trace logs or real time data to help you create either a CSV file or a trace-analysis report. Similarly, the relog command takes performance data collected by performance counters and extract them to TSV, CSV, binary or SQL files.
There are also commands that add or modify the counters in use. In addition to logman, which can manage performance counters, you can use lodctr to register a new counter and specify the explanation text for a service or device driver. You can use lodctr to restore counter settings as well as save them and their related descriptions. Use the unldctr command to delete a service or device driver from your registry, which removes the performance counter from further use. The Management and Administration sections of the Command Line section of the Windows help system contains more explanation of the uses of these and other related commands, as do the Windows Resource Kits.
Barrie Sosinsky is president of consulting company Sosinsky and Associates (Medfield MA). He has written extensively on a variety of computer topics. His company specializes in custom software (database and Web related), training and technical documentation.