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Every server-level Microsoft application (and many non-MS applications, too) maintain performance counters -- real-time statistics about the program's behavior that can be collected and analyzed. Exchange 2003 is no exception, of course, and it too maintains a bevy of real-time statistics that can be gathered either programmatically or through the Performance Logs and Alerts console.
Sometimes Exchange 2003 performance counters don't show up, however, and this may lead people to think something's seriously wrong. What's actually happening is a little complicated, but deserves a detailed explanation.
The WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) interface, which controls and aggregates performance counters, uses a process called ADAP (AutoDiscovery/AutoPurge) to assemble a list of all the available performance counters in the system. Essentially, each running service is polled and "asked" for a list of all available performance counters. The list of performance counters is then assembled from this poll. Consequently, if the Exchange 2003 Service isn't running when this is done, no Exchange 2003 performance counters will show up.
Fortunately, you can force a refresh of the ADAP process from the command line. Make sure Exchange 2003 is running, then use wmiadap /f to re-parse all of the available libraries on the system. Note that you may need to restart the WMI service (winmgmt) after this.
About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter and a regular contributor to SearchExchange.com.
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This was first published in February 2005