Today I was setting up some performance counters, to help debug a strange multi-system problem, and hit a minor cascade of problems. Perfmon's counter setups informed me that it couldn't save my counters, as the associated service couldn't be started.
I opened services.msc and found that the "Performance Logs and Alerts" was configured as "Disabled". I tripped this over to manula, then found that service refused to start. The Services subsystem did drop an entry in Event Viewer, with Event ID 2003, which told me the service couldn't start.
The fix is to configure the service to use the Local System account, rather than a Network Account. I think my domain controller is missing again... that could explain my troubles. But, that's a battle for another day.
Summary: Can't start Performance Logs? Seeing EventID 2003? Try manually starting the service under a Local System account.