The Windows OS System

Windows XP
Home, Professional, Media Center, 64-‐bit Professional
Windows Vista
Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, Enterprise
Windows 7
Starter, Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, Enterprise
Three Windows OS are covered on A+
Windows XP, Vista, and 7
Use the Control Panel
to customize features of devices and to configure how a computer looks and behaves.
Use Fonts in CP
to view, remove, or add to all fonts that are currently installed on the computer
Use Devices and Printers in CP
to view, configure, add, or remove devices such as printers, scanners, and cameras.
Use Region and Language settings in CP
to configure various settings such as language preference, default currency symbols, and date and time notation.
Use Hardware and Sound in CP
to view and configure the current system sound settings, installed audio devices, sound cards, printer settings, and other hardware settings.
Use Windows Firewall in CP
to manage network traffic that is allowed or denied through the Windows host-based firewall.
Use Action Center in CP
to review recent error messages and options for resolving issues.
Use System and Security in CP
to configure Windows Update, manage Power Options, configure Backup and Restore, and use Administrative Tools
Use the various applets within the Control Panel
to perform configuration tasks for specific features or devices.
Use Ease of Access in CP
to modify the behavior of input and display devices to accommodate users with special needs
Use Task Manager
to view the current state of the system and running applications.
Use the Applications tab in TM
to view the status of all current applications running on the computer. Use this tab to terminate unresponsive applications.
Use the Processes tab in TM
to view the status of all current processes running on the computer and the CPU and memory resources they use. Use this tab to modify the priority of a process or terminate unwanted processes.
Use the Services tab in TM
to view a list of services running on the computer. You can use this tab to start and stop a particular service.
Use the Performance tab in TM
to view system-wide processor and memory statistics.
Use the Networking tab in TM
to view and monitor the status of the current network connections.
The Microsoft Management Console MMC
is a framework that provides a common user interface for performing system administration tasks. Management of a set of related features is done by adding snap-ins to the console. It provides the shell for running these snap-ins, while the snap-ins provide the details for performing specific management tasks.
Microsoft provides snap-ins for managing
Local Users and Groups
Device Manager
Disk Management
Print Management
Component Services
Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
To open a blank console, type ____ in the Run box. You can then add snap-ins to work with the configuration of your system.
The console consists of two or three panes
The tree pane (on the left) organizes objects in a hierarchy.
The results pane (in the middle) shows objects and configuration options.
The actions pane (on the right) lists the actions you can take on objects. (The actions pane is new with Windows Vista.)
Computer Management
is a saved MMC console that includes common snap-ins used to manage your computer.
Some common ways to start Computer Management include
On the Start menu, right-click Computer and select Manage.
Double-click Computer Management in Administrative Tools in Control Panel.
Use Event Viewer
to view logs about programs, system events, and security. Each entry is listed as a warning, error, or information event.
The Application log
contains a list of all application-related events such as application installations, un-installations, and application errors.
The System log
contains a list of all system-related events such as system modifications, malfunctions, and errors.
The Security log
contains a list of all security-related events such as security modifications and user login events.
A service
is a program that processes requests from other applications or users. They can start automatically and stay constantly running in the background, waiting for service requests.
Use the Services snap-in
to view and manage running services.
The service startup behavior
determines how the service is started.
When set to Automatic
the service is started automatically by Windows when the system boots.
When set to Manual
the service must be manually started.
When Disabled
the service will not run.
Performance Monitor
displays statistics that tell you about the operation of your computer.
A counter in PM
identifies a specific statistic, such as % Processor Time or % Disk Free Space.
You can add or remove counters
to customize the statistics you can see.
Real-time data
Real-time data are displayed in a graph.
Data collector set
Performance Monitor by itself does not save any data. To save statistics over time.
Reliability Monitor
maintains historical data that describe the operating system’s stability.
Overall system stability
is given a stability index that ranges from 1 to 10 (10 being the most stable). The rating is affected by application, hardware, Windows, and other failures.
Reliability Monitor cont
shows an historical chart that identifies when software installs/uninstalls and failures have occurred. By clicking on a day, you can view the changes to the system that have affected its stability.
System Information Msinfo32
to view hardware and configuration information for your computer. While much of this information is available through other tools, this feature provides a single location for viewing information.
Viewing information in Msinfo32
Operating system version
Computer manufacturer, processor type, available memory
Installed devices and drivers used
Running tasks
Applications that run at system startup
You can only view, not modify, configuration settings
System Configuration Utility Msconfig
to configure your system to enable optimal troubleshooting and diagnosis of technical issues.
Use the System Configuration Utility to
Configure startup preferences
Configure system components
View and customize Windows setup components
Customize bootup configuration
Turn services on or off
Enable and disable startup utilities and programs
DirectX Diagnostic Tool Dxdiag
is a tool that shows information related to DirectX operation.
is a set of programming interfaces for multimedia (video and audio).
Dxdiag displays information such as
Operating system version
Processor and memory information
DirectX version
Settings and drivers used by display devices
Audio drivers
Input devices (mouse, keyboard, USB)
Command Prompt
to execute command-line commands.
To open a command prompt
On Windows XP, click Start, then Run…. Type cmd in the Run box and press Enter.
On Windows Vista/7, click Start and type cmd in the Search box.
is a tool for modifying entries in the Windows registry. The registry is a database that holds hardware, software, and user configuration settings.
Whenever a change is made to preferences, software, hardware, and user-settings, those changes are stored and reflected in the registry. The preferred method of modifying the registry is to use the applications or management tools that write to the registry. For example, many Control Panel applets make changes to registry settings. There will be some advanced settings that can only be made by directly editing the registry.
ODBC Data Source Administrator
to create and manage ODBC data sources.
To open the ODBC Data Source Administrator in Windows 7
1.On the Start menu, click Control Panel.
2.In Control Panel, click Administrative Tools.
3.In Administrative Tools, click Data Sources (ODBC).
The Windows Memory Diagnostic
tests the Random Access Memory (RAM) on your computer for errors. This utility is not included with Windows and must be downloaded from Microsoft’s Online Crash Analysis web site.
Advanced Security
Everyday configuration tasks for the Windows Firewall are completed using the Windows Firewall applet in Control Panel. However, in Windows 7, advanced firewall configuration tasks can be performed using an MMC snap-in called Windows Firewall.
Windows Firewall with Advanced Security
supports a more granular firewall configuration than can be created using the Windows Firewall applet in Control Panel.
Advanced security can filter traffic based on parameters such as
Source IP address
Destination IP address
Port number
ICMP protocol
Windows Aero
is a set of features that improves the visual appearance of Windows.
Aero features
include window glass effects (translucent windows), window animations, live thumbnail previews, Flip 3D (3D window previews).
Windows Aero is available
only in Vista and Windows 7, but is not available in the Home Basic (Vista) or Starter (Windows 7) versions. The set of features available depends on the hardware support. For example, Flip 3D and live thumbnails require a graphics card with DirectX 9 support and 128 MB of memory.
The Windows Experience Index
is a tool that measures how well a computer’s hardware and software can respond to Aero functions. The measurement is expressed in a base score. The higher the base score, the better your computer responds to Aero’s functionality. Typically, a computer with a base score of 3.0 or higher can display all Aero functionality.
In the Control Panel
choose System and Maintenance then Performance Information and Tools to view the base score. To run a manual test for updated information, click Update my score.
To disable Aero features
edit the Personalization settings in the Control Panel. For Window Color and Appearance, choose a color scheme other than Windows Aero.
The Windows Sidebar
provides a way to display information on your desktop. It holds gadgets, small programs that provide information or easy access to frequent tools. This feature is only available in Windows Vista. In Windows 7, gadgets are displayed directly on the desktop.
Working with gadgets
Right-click the Sidebar or the Sidebar icon in the notification area to add gadgets or bring gadgets to the front. Edit the Sidebar properties to view a list of running gadgets. You can drag gadgets off the Sidebar and position them anywhere on your desktop.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 include an improved quick search tool. The search tool is accessible through the Start Menu, Windows Explorer, and the Control Panel.
Use the Indexing Options in the Control Panel
to customize what is indexed. Modify the list of locations to include or exclude specific drives, folders, or other locations. Modify the list of file types to include or exclude files from being indexed based on the file extension. You can index files based on the filename and properties, or include the file contents in the index.
Use the Search settings in Folder Options
to customize how searches are performed.
Region and Language Settings
Options applet in the Control Panel to manage language capabilities for your system.
Regional settings
control how times, dates, numbers, and currency are formatted and displayed. For example, dates are displayed differently in different parts of the world and for different languages.
A bottleneck
occurs when a component is unable to keep up with demand and subsequently slows down other processes or functions. When a system seems to respond slowly, it’s important to be able to accurately identify the component(s) that are causing the problem so you can take the proper actions to improve performance.
Components to examine to improve performance
Processor (CPU)
Hard disk
Ways to identify components that are causing a bottleneck
is to monitor system performance statistics. These statistics give you a measure of the activity of a certain aspect of the system. By recognizing abnormal statistics, you can identify the component that is overloaded or not responding appropriately.
A counter for bottlenecking
is a specific statistic you can monitor (such as the amount of free memory or the number of bytes sent on a network card).
An object for bottlenecking
is a statistic group, often corresponding to a specific type of hardware device or software process (such as processor or memory).
To track statistics
Use Task Manager, System Monitor, Resource Monitor, and Performance Monitor.
Processor utilization
is the amount (percentage) of time the processor spends doing non-idle tasks.
% Processor Time (processor utilization)
Processor utilization should be relatively low, up to 40% on average. Processor utilization will spike (85 – 90% or higher) when a major task is launched or a significant task is performed. Utilization is reported for each processor in a multi-processor or multi-core system. A CPU that supports Hyper-Threading will show two utilization graphs for each processor
CPU is likely the bottleneck
If the processor utilization is consistently high (over 90%), then the.
% Disk Time (highest active time)
statistic identifies the percentage of time that the disk subsystem is busy reading from and writing to disk.
If this value is consistently over 90%, check the following
Average Disk Queue Length
Memory statistics
Average Disk Queue Length
This holds read and write requests that are waiting to be processed by the disk controller. It tells you the number of read and write requests that are typically waiting to be processed.
A high number indicates
that the system has requested data from the hard disk, or has tried to save data to the hard disk, but that request could not be fulfilled immediately (i.e. it has to wait).
This number should be below 2 times the number of disk spindles. Most physical hard disks have a single spindle (although some newer drives have 2 or 3).
RAID arrays
will have at least one spindle per physical disk.
The System Cache
value identifies memory that is being used for a disk cache to improve read/write operations from the hard disk. The available (free) value identifies how much memory is unassigned.
Windows Vista/7
the free value will always be very low as the operating system will use most or all of the available memory to improve performance, look at the memory use meter and graph for an accurate idea of how much physical memory is actually being used.
Problems with the amount of memory
If the amount of memory being used is close to the amount of RAM installed, you might need to add RAM or quit some running programs to free up memory.
Memory committed bytes (commit charge)
When a process runs, the operating system assigns memory to the process. The amount of committed memory (commit charge) identifies how much memory has been assigned to running processes.
Will start to cause a bottleneck
If the total value exceeds the amount of physical RAM, then the page file is being used instead of physical RAM
Virtual memory errors
If the total value is close to the limit value, then both the physical RAM and the page file are full.
Helping your computer memory
To temporarily make more memory available, quit running programs or increase the page file size. The only permanent solution will be to add more physical memory.
The page file usage
identifies the amount or percentage of the page file that is being used.
Page file
A common recommendation is for it to be 1.5 to 2 times larger than the physical memory. In most cases, you will let the system manage the page file size. It is normal for the it to show some use, even when the system has sufficient physical memory. It uses a percentage that is near 100%, you can increase the page file size as a temporary measure. Adding more memory is the best permanent solution.
The operating system allocates memory to processes in 4,096 KB blocks.
assigns virtual memory addresses
Instead of assigning physical memory addresses, the operating system assigns this to shield the process from the details of the physical memory storage system.
The paging supervisor
is a process that maintains a table that correlates virtual memory addresses with the actual physical memory locations.
When physical memory is low
data in RAM that is currently not being used by the CPU can be moved to the hard disk to free up memory for other processes.
The page file
The area on the hard disk used for storing the contents of RAM is called.
A page fault also called a hard fault
When the CPU needs to access data in RAM, this occurs when that data does not exist in RAM but is instead in the page file.
is the process of moving data from RAM to disk and back. Before the CPU can work with data required by a process, that data must be placed into RAM.
Memory pages per second
statistic identifies the number of hard faults that occur each second. A high number for this statistic accompanied by high disk activity (% Disk Time or the disk activity light constantly flashing) could indicate a condition known as thrashing.
A high number for this statistic accompanied by high disk activity (% Disk Time or the disk activity light constantly flashing) could indicate a condition known as thrashing.