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Lara Rubbelke

Interesting Things in the World of SQL Server

Where did Activity Monitor go?

When you begin working with RC0, you may find yourself searching for Activity Monitor.  I personally spent about 10 minutes looking for Activity Monitor when I started working with RC0.  Luckily, I happen to work at Microsoft and can directly email people when I have these types of questions (well, lucky for me but perhaps not lucky for them:-))

In the past, you could only find Activity Monitor by opening the Management folder in SQL Server Management Studio.  This is no longer the place to find Activity Monitor.  Here are the two new ways to launch Activity Monitor:

1. Open Management Studio.  Select the icon on the toolbar that is the furthest right (It looks like a chart with green and blue lines).

2. In Object Explorer, right click on the server and select Activity Monitor.  Please note that the Activity Monitor is not available in the context menu unless you select the server.  You cannot launch the Activity Monitor when you select a database, another folder, etc. 

I am certain many of you are questioning why there was a change in location for the Activity Monitor. I was told that the intention was to make it "more discoverable".  This provided me a great deal of humor as I spent 10 minutes looking for it and ended up asking the product team. 

Happy monitoring!

Published Monday, June 09, 2008 4:39 PM by Lara Rubbelke
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Ann said:

Thank you so much.  I too spent a long time looking for it and BOL still points to the old location.

October 31, 2008 9:21 AM

Shaun said:

Perfect.  Man, I thought they took it away for a minute, but now see they added some good stuff...

February 5, 2009 1:15 PM

Stivan said:

What a horrible design!  I can't expand all the fields wide enough to see what I need to see nor can I scroll sideways!  The view is restricted to this panel, and there's no where near the information and usability that was there in 2005.  WTF?  Am I doing something wrong???

February 6, 2009 3:02 PM

Jim said:

You are not doing anything wrong.  For some reason they

decided to screw it up and make it pretty much useless if you are looking for what you used before.

March 11, 2009 1:46 PM

jack said:

The fields are all smooshed together.

When I try to drag them out, they just don't move.

I can't read a darn thing - I looked for an option to make it TEXT Based, but that would defeat the drop down intelligence that I think is supposed to be there.

There has to be a way to read them.

Great Idea - not so sure about the implementation.

March 12, 2009 2:33 PM

Matt said:

I can't stand the new activity monitor. It's not even horizontally scrollable! It feels like a poor web front end implementation of something that was perfectly fine.

July 2, 2009 10:53 AM

Ralph said:

I agree with Matt above. Although I found the Activity Monitor relatively easy, the usability dropped substantially. Why? It was far better in the previous version. It's now clunky. Columns don't widen easily. And columns there were there and useful are now gone.

August 20, 2009 4:45 PM

Sahil said:

I cant see the open connections - I used to use this to kill active connections before dropping and restoring dbs.. I cant anymore!! Am I missing something - this thing sucks! I hope they read all the comments above and this one and put the old one back in....

September 5, 2009 6:40 PM

Singanan said:

not sure, why it has been screwed up so badly. hope it will be considered to improve the usablity better for next SP. no readability at all.

October 9, 2009 8:19 AM

Karam said:

This is most ridiculous loss of functionality I have ever seen. The old Activity Monitor was just fine. This is a piece of shit tool to me.

October 15, 2009 12:50 PM

Mike Ralph said:

Is there any chance MS will fix the activity monitor?  It is currently of little use compared to past client tools.

October 16, 2009 9:16 AM

Bojan79 said:

I kako sada da ubijem aktivne konekcije, kada hocu da restorujem bazu? Pre sam to jednostavno radio preko starog "activity monitor" a sada moram da jurim neku proceduru... Ponekad mi se cini da Microsoft neke stvari radi namerno :)

December 11, 2009 9:31 AM

Cindi said:

Seems like just one more change to make the day more difficult.  Do real DBA's look at this stuff before Microsoft implements it?

December 29, 2009 3:52 PM

faiga16 said:

Dang! Thanks for this.

January 7, 2010 11:40 AM

Cilla25 said:

Man, this POS doesn't even show up the database names anymore. Useless. Entirely useless. More discoverable???? It took me at least 10 mins, and books online still says it is under 'management'. Under new crappy managemnt more like it.

January 27, 2010 1:10 AM

WhyOhWhy? said:

The good/bad design of the 2008 Active Monitor is another example of M$ smiling dumb arrogance.  It's quite amazing they can come up with so many clucky nerdy bland un-friendly "features".  What did they think that we were going to use the db monitor on a zune?

February 4, 2010 2:10 PM

Suzanne said:

Completely agree with the comments here about the Activity Monitor of SQL 2008! It was one of the most useful tools in SQL 2005 that I use everyday for checking users login info. Now it is so difficult to see the info in a glance. I noticed right away that after I installed the SQL 2008 I could not find it under Management. With the help from Internet, I was able to find it but very disappointed by the poor design - it is almost unusable. I really hope that Microsoft could return back to the design in SQL 2005 ASAP! Please create a hotfix for us ASAP. Otherwise, we will delay the upgrade on other servers until MS fix the problem.

February 25, 2010 12:47 PM

Jim said:

AGREED!!!   :(

Are there any alternatives.  What is with not being able to resize the columns???  UI design 101.


March 5, 2010 2:05 PM

same problem said:

horrible design, was unable to find it

classic microsoft

March 12, 2010 8:37 AM

Flemming said:

What a NICE surprice the activity monitor was in SQL2008 :-)

Thanx M$...!

March 27, 2010 11:54 AM

Phil said:

Thanks!!  Your 10 minutes saved me a few minutes, at least.  I could not believe Microsoft really took it away!  Maybe R2 will throw out the child's toy of an activity monitor, and bring back the SQL 2005 version of it.

April 30, 2010 1:18 PM

Omid said:

Awful design!  Less information in a much less accessible format.  The SQL 2005 Activity Monitor worked really well.  I can now only view a couple of columns at a time.  Is Microsoft going to do something about this?  Is there a Connect item open on it?

July 6, 2010 10:32 AM

John said:

I concur with everything that has been said before. I can't believe anybody would actually think this is an improvement.

August 25, 2010 5:19 AM

Rick said:

SQL 2008 activity monitor is a frustrating giant step backwards in terms of usability.  A large variety and volume of great information is rendered largely unusable by the relatively small fixed grids.  

Many people, probably especially DBA's, have monitors bigger than a netbook, and sometimes more than one.  Make UI elements resizeable -- Let us use the available screen real estate as we see fit.  Make them dockable/undockable so we can move and size them as we see fit.

The one positive change was the implementation of column filtering.

August 31, 2010 11:14 AM

Ion Freeman said:

I installed the free version of R2, and thought maybe I had to go back to my fancy version to get Activity Monitor. So, I downgraded to 2008 and still nothing. Thanks for explaining why.

September 9, 2010 11:25 AM

Patrick said:

I agree with what Cindi says...  Doesn't Microsoft allow "real world DBA's" to check out these new, "improved" features before they implement them in the next version?  How do you make a new version 10x WORSE THAN the previous version????????

I used to use Activity Monitor EVERY_SINGLE_DAY with 2005, I literally kept it open and up on a secondary monitor...  Now its just easier to go sp_who2 active...  

I'm speechless Microsoft, just when I think you can't surprise me anymore, you do it again and again.



September 16, 2010 1:43 PM

Patrick said:

I'm seriously considering installing the SQL 2005 client tools just for the old activity monitor...  Wow.

September 16, 2010 1:47 PM

Bill said:

It's good to see the overwhelming hatred of the new activity monitor.  What a frustrating disappointment.  Once again they had a chance to make a great tool better - instead they screwed it up.  But Hey! it is sooo much prettier.  I have more comments but I have to requisition a new mouse for the one I just "accidentally" broke while trying to get useful info from activity monitor.

September 30, 2010 10:23 AM

Brad said:

... well, after attempting to reinstall SQL 2008 to get the "Activity Monitor" to display.... I came across this article :(   Thanks,!

October 4, 2010 5:19 PM

Tom said:

Well it's now November 2010 and nothing has been done to change this awful awful feature.. cheers Microsoft.

November 9, 2010 5:12 AM

Phil said:

Luckily I have a mixed environment so still have to have 2005 tools for the sql 2000 boxes. Still a pain to have to have 2 different environments open at the same time.

November 9, 2010 11:14 AM

Nick said:

Its pretty rubbish, i had to use sp_who2

November 10, 2010 10:34 AM

Andreas said:

many thanks, I was lost in the woods  but now back on track.

January 18, 2011 7:54 AM

Neil said:

Glad to see there are other people in the same boat. I don't even bother using it anymore, its so frustating to use and very limited in use. The old Activity Monitor was 100x more useful. I and other DBAs I know prefer to use sp_who2 instead.Hope they take this crap out in the next version and give us something more useful

February 8, 2011 3:18 PM

Montgomery said:

I just started using the 2008 activity monitor. It sucks big time. Puts me at a big disadvanage over the old stuff.Like Neil I'm grateful sp_who2 still works.                                      If microsoft employees happen to look at this pass it on. Give us an option to have the old monitor back!!!!   And I've  been sticking my neck out for a long time trying to keep sql server in house against the evil ORACLE forces. You keep jacking up the prices and making the product more difficult to use. I'm no longer sticking my neck out.

April 13, 2011 2:57 PM

Montgomery said:

Did find out you can fire up a sql 2005 sql server management studio session and connect to your 2008 instance. activity monitor appears to show the 2008 stuff in the old 2005 format ok.... so the data is there in the same places as it was for 2005.     Microsoft just give us our monitor back.

April 13, 2011 3:02 PM

Ima said:

How do you connect 2005 management studio to 2008 sql server?  I get an error message when trying that.

April 30, 2011 8:28 PM

Lara Rubbelke said:

Hello Ima,  Have you applied sp3 to SSMS?

April 30, 2011 9:30 PM

Mark said:

I completely agree with the above comments. How could Microsoft get this so wrong? Has a fix still not been created? I am now using SQL 2008 R2, but the activity monitor is useless. I want the 2005 version back. Thanks to this article I am now aware of and will be using sp_who2 instead.

May 30, 2011 9:09 PM

peter said:

now almost november and still no improvement

I find it completely  depressing that a company the size of microsoft seems not to care what people think. How could this possibly get through any quality control or testing?

I have never seen such a badly implemented thing

What was wrong with the old activity monitor? It seemed fine to me

Have the people at microsoft got nothing better to do than take a working piece of software and make it unusable?

I came across this blog trying to find out how to refresh the darn thing

September 28, 2011 5:03 PM

Carol said:

Expand to full screen and you will at least be able to adjust the columns

October 13, 2011 1:53 PM

Joe said:

What a giant step backwards from the Activity Monitor of 2005.  I don't think anyone has complained about the limited vertical space yet so I will.  Nice accordian GUI control MS.  I have this giant monitor that could easily display all sessions but because the Processes section is fixed to a certain height when expanded, I can only see 8 and 2/3 processes at once.  What a POS!  You guys are blowing it.  Windows phone sucks.  Metro UI sucks (Atari called and said they want their desktop back!).  IE has sucked for so long it is embarassing.  You had better pay attention to the user above that said they are no longer sticking their neck out for your stuff.  

January 3, 2012 2:44 PM

Mark said:

It is unfortunate to say, but even in SQL 2014, it still has not been improved.

The slowness and inability to resize columns and section height is just terrible.

I understand one change was due to a security concern, but that should be something that is controllable at least to be able to provide a read-only view to users without enough rights.

This very much feels like a downgrade, just like they did with Skype.

July 8, 2015 7:34 PM

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