By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 1997, The Syracuse Newspapers
Windows 95 PCs have a built-in system monitor that can tell you a lot about what your computer is doing. You'll find it in the System Tools folder on your Start Menu. (It's inside the Accessories folder.)
The System Monitor is more powerful than it may seem. When you first run it, you may not see much, but you can add any of dozens of monitoring functions by pressing the first toolbar button (if the toolbar isn't hidden, as shown in the View menu). And you can choose any of three different kinds of charts, too, by pressing the last three toolbar buttons.
But system monitoring is boring unless it shows you something vital. You can make your System Monitor do just that by turning on a feature that few Windows users know about. You can make it show you up to 10 different readouts on how your modem is doing when you're connected to the Internet.
You heard it right. You don't need any fancy "Net Meter" to monitor your modem and its send-and-receive functions. As always, there's a trick to it, so read the next part carefully.
You have to turn on the monitoring functions first. Open the Control Panel, click Modems, select the modem you use for Internet connections if you have more than one, then click these options: Properties, then Connections, then Advanced. Check the box next to "Record a log file," then click OK wherever need to close the dialogs.
Connect to the Internet your normal way. Then run the System Monitor and click the first tool button (or use "Add Item" under the "Edit" menu). You should see "Dial Up Adapter" listed. Click that option and choose any (or all) of the monitoring functions.
You can make the System Monitor window as large or as small as you like. If you don't have much screen real estate, you can choose numbered readouts and make the window very small. I like the charts that keep a running tally of the ups and downs of my connection.
An oddity about the way the System Monitor ignores the modem in its standard setup can be seen if you turn off the modem log a few days later. Because the Registry has already created the proper keys (sections) for the System Monitor, you no longer need to turn on the modem log to keep track of the modem's performance. The System Monitor will track the modem even if the log is off.
(If this doesn't seem to be the case on your system, just keep the log turned on. Windows 95 has gone through three versions so far, and the behavior of my system may be different from yours.)