Windows contains a variety of system utilities that are well-hidden. Some are buried deep in the Start menu, while others can only be accessed via a command.

Most of these tools can be easily launched if you know their names — just open your Start menu or Start screen, search for the name of the program, and press Enter. On Windows 8, you may have to select the Settings category on the search screen first.

Performance Monitor

You can use Windows Performance Monitor to examine how programs you run affect your computer’s performance, both in real time and by collecting log data for later analysis.

Windows Performance Monitor uses performance counters, event trace data, and configuration information, which can be combined into Data Collector Sets.


Performance counters are measurements of system state or activity. They can be included in the operating system or can be part of individual applications. Windows Performance Monitor requests the current value of performance counters at specified time intervals.

Event trace data is collected from trace providers, which are components of the operating system or of individual applications that report actions or events. Output from multiple trace providers can be combined into a trace session.

Configuration information is collected from key values in the Windows registry. Windows Performance Monitor can record the value of a registry key at a specified time or interval as part of a log file.

Resource Monitor

The Resource Monitor application offers a detailed look at your computer’s resource usage. You can view computer-wide CPU, disk, network, and memory graphics, or drill down and view per-process statistics for each type of resource.

This means that you can see which processes are using your disk or network heavily, view which processes are communicating with which Internet addresses, and more. The Resource Monitor provides much more detailed resource statistics than the Task Manager does.


You can launch the Resource Monitor by opening the Task Manager, clicking the Performance tab, and selecting Resource Monitor. It can also be accessed by searching for Resource Monitor at the Start menu or Start screen.

Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup is a Microsoft software utility first introduced with Windows 98 and included in all subsequent releases of Windows. It allows users to remove files that are no longer needed or that can be safely deleted.
As can be seen in the picture, Disk Cleanup can delete Temporary Internet Files (associated with Internet Explorer), Downloaded Program Files, and Offline webpages. Disk Cleanup also allows you to empty the Recycle Bin, delete Temporary Files, and delete Thumbnails.


Access it by searching for Disk Cleanup at your Start screen or Start menu.

Windows Memory Diagnostic

Windows includes a Memory Diagnostic tool that can restart your computer and test your memory for defects, like the popular MemTest86 application. If you want to check your computer’s memory for errors, you don’t need a third-party tool — just open the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool.


In Windows 7 you can start Windows Memory Diagnostic by typing memo or memory into the Start Menu search box. Then, click the appropriate search result.
In Windows 8, type memory on the Start screen, choose Settings and then click or tap the search result that says “Diagnose your computer’s memory problems”.

System Information

The System Information utility allows you to view information about the current computer — everything from the model number of its CD-ROM drive to its attached peripherals, configured environment variables, and startup programs. It doesn’t provide the slickest interface, nor does it provide all the information a third-party system information tool like Speccy does, but it will display a lot of system information without forcing you to install another program.


Open it by searching for System Information at your Start menu or Start screen.

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