need advice on slow file system


T

Todd

Hi All,

I cloned a customer's dilapidated XP Pro sp3 computer over
to a new fancy computer. She had "a lot" of intellectual property
on her old computer and was tickled that everything came
back *EXACTLY* the way it was.

And it did come back "exactly" the way it was. Both her
old and her new computer have very, very slow access
to their hard drives. What should take 10 seconds takes
about two minutes on both computers. All my test outside
of XP show nothing wrong with her hardware. So, what ever
was slowing her down on her old computer if still having
fun on her new computer: an exact clone.

This usually is not having all her M$ Updates in place, as
there were a few old updates, since fixed, that did this to XP.
Since all her updates are in place, that is not the cause.

If I open the task manager when something is dragging along,
it shows about 600 MB memory of 3 GB used and about 4%
CPU. AAAAAHHHHH!

Once things FINALLY get loaded off the hard drive, they
go like the wind.

I am thinking I should go into M$Config and turn off
start up items and see if this helps.

There is no difference with the Anti Virus completely
uninstalled or installed.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to narrow down
what/who is slowing down the file access? What
steps would you take to troubleshoot this?

On the bright side, I can troubleshoot this on her
old computer and bring the fix to her new computer
when I figure it out.

Many thanks,
-T
 
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G

Good Guy

Todd said:
Hi All,

I cloned a customer's dilapidated XP Pro sp3 computer over
to a new fancy computer. She had "a lot" of intellectual property
on her old computer and was tickled that everything came
back *EXACTLY* the way it was.
Have you also installed the latest drivers for your new machine? You
need to install the new drivers otherwise nothing will work properly.

Did you have any problems with activation or were you using the volume
licensed edition of XP?

Hope this helps.


--
Good Guy
Website: http://mytaxsite.co.uk
Website: http://html-css.co.uk
Forums: http://mytaxsite.boardhost.com
Email: http://mytaxsite.co.uk/contact-us
 
P

Paul

Todd said:
Hi All,

I cloned a customer's dilapidated XP Pro sp3 computer over
to a new fancy computer. She had "a lot" of intellectual property
on her old computer and was tickled that everything came
back *EXACTLY* the way it was.

And it did come back "exactly" the way it was. Both her
old and her new computer have very, very slow access
to their hard drives. What should take 10 seconds takes
about two minutes on both computers. All my test outside
of XP show nothing wrong with her hardware. So, what ever
was slowing her down on her old computer if still having
fun on her new computer: an exact clone.

This usually is not having all her M$ Updates in place, as
there were a few old updates, since fixed, that did this to XP.
Since all her updates are in place, that is not the cause.

If I open the task manager when something is dragging along,
it shows about 600 MB memory of 3 GB used and about 4%
CPU. AAAAAHHHHH!

Once things FINALLY get loaded off the hard drive, they
go like the wind.

I am thinking I should go into M$Config and turn off
start up items and see if this helps.

There is no difference with the Anti Virus completely
uninstalled or installed.

Anyone have any suggestions on how to narrow down
what/who is slowing down the file access? What
steps would you take to troubleshoot this?

On the bright side, I can troubleshoot this on her
old computer and bring the fix to her new computer
when I figure it out.

Many thanks,
-T

Number of files/folders ? Size of disk drive ?
State of fragmentation ? If copied, did you use a method
which "preserved" fragmentation or removed it ?

Any chance there is a single folder with a million files in it ?

Paul
 
T

Todd

Have you also installed the latest drivers for your new machine? You
need to install the new drivers otherwise nothing will work properly.

After I clone it I have to update all the drivers. And they are
all current and proper for the new hardware
Did you have any problems with activation or were you using the volume
licensed edition of XP?

I had to figure that out a while back. It is a total pain in the
neck until you know how.
 
T

Todd

Number of files/folders ?
Don't know.
Size of disk drive ?
old: 40 GB; new 500 GB
State of fragmentation ?
7% last I left it deframenting. Should be better now.
If copied, did you use a method
which "preserved" fragmentation or removed it ?

I used an exact sector by sector clone. Blank space is
ignored (Clonezilla). So, what ever was fragmented on
the old one is fragmented on the new one.
Any chance there is a single folder with a million files in it ?

Now that is interesting. I have a utility (Tree Size) for that too.
I will definitely check this.

Thank you,
-T
 
T

Todd

Number of files/folders ?
Don't know.
Size of disk drive ?
old: 40 GB; new 500 GB
State of fragmentation ?
7% last I left it deframenting. Should be better now.
If copied, did you use a method
which "preserved" fragmentation or removed it ?

I used an exact sector by sector clone. Blank space is
ignored (Clonezilla). So, what ever was fragmented on
the old one is fragmented on the new one.
Any chance there is a single folder with a million files in it ?

Now that is interesting. I have a utility (Tree Size) for that too.
I will definitely check this.

Thank you,
-T
 
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Y

Yousuf Khan

Hi All,

I cloned a customer's dilapidated XP Pro sp3 computer over
to a new fancy computer. She had "a lot" of intellectual property
on her old computer and was tickled that everything came
back *EXACTLY* the way it was.

And it did come back "exactly" the way it was. Both her
old and her new computer have very, very slow access
to their hard drives. What should take 10 seconds takes
about two minutes on both computers. All my test outside
of XP show nothing wrong with her hardware. So, what ever
was slowing her down on her old computer if still having
fun on her new computer: an exact clone.

One solution might be an SSD. :) But that'll just put off the problem
for another day, letting the computer get even more inefficient and
overloaded.

However, slow down issues are usually caused by overloaded disks, rather
than memory or CPU. You should check the event log for error and warning
messages right after a reboot, and attempt to fix each one of them one
after another.

Another solution you might want to try is to realign the disk
partitions. XP usually aligns disks based on the old CHS disk access
method, which results in partitions starting at the 31KB boundary. While
Vista and 7 align them based on the LBA disk access method, starting at
the 1MB boundary. 1MB (or 1024KB) partitions are more appropriate for
newer hard disks, and definitely more appropriate for SSD's. The only
problem with it is that you'll lose about 1MB in the partition at the
beginning rather than only 31KB. But with hundreds and thousands of
Gigabytes available, who cares?

This article is about SSD's, but they are also appropriate for modern
Advance Format Disks: http://is.gd/DZgNT5.
This usually is not having all her M$ Updates in place, as
there were a few old updates, since fixed, that did this to XP.
Since all her updates are in place, that is not the cause.

If I open the task manager when something is dragging along,
it shows about 600 MB memory of 3 GB used and about 4%
CPU. AAAAAHHHHH!

Yeah, the tools available under XP are not nearly as good as they are
for Windows 7 for diagnosing these sorts of problems. If you were in
Windows 7, I'd suggest you go to Resource Monitor and monitor the disk
accesses from it. Resource Monitor is not available for XP though.
Once things FINALLY get loaded off the hard drive, they
go like the wind.

Sure, there's nothing quite as disk crunching as bootup on Windows. Once
the disks settle down, everything goes fast.

Yousuf Khan
 
P

Paul

Yousuf said:
One solution might be an SSD. :) But that'll just put off the problem
for another day, letting the computer get even more inefficient and
overloaded.

However, slow down issues are usually caused by overloaded disks, rather
than memory or CPU. You should check the event log for error and warning
messages right after a reboot, and attempt to fix each one of them one
after another.

Another solution you might want to try is to realign the disk
partitions. XP usually aligns disks based on the old CHS disk access
method, which results in partitions starting at the 31KB boundary. While
Vista and 7 align them based on the LBA disk access method, starting at
the 1MB boundary. 1MB (or 1024KB) partitions are more appropriate for
newer hard disks, and definitely more appropriate for SSD's. The only
problem with it is that you'll lose about 1MB in the partition at the
beginning rather than only 31KB. But with hundreds and thousands of
Gigabytes available, who cares?

This article is about SSD's, but they are also appropriate for modern
Advance Format Disks: http://is.gd/DZgNT5.


Yeah, the tools available under XP are not nearly as good as they are
for Windows 7 for diagnosing these sorts of problems. If you were in
Windows 7, I'd suggest you go to Resource Monitor and monitor the disk
accesses from it. Resource Monitor is not available for XP though.


Sure, there's nothing quite as disk crunching as bootup on Windows. Once
the disks settle down, everything goes fast.

Yousuf Khan

For SSDs, you want alignment to flash pages. Some power_of_two larger
than a flash page, is a good choice for the offset to the first partition
start. (The Microsoft chosen value, is meant to cover what they feel
are common flash page sizes.)

On HDDs, you want alignment to 4KB. This is because modern drives have
switched (at least internally) to 4KB sectors, from the old 512 byte
sectors. Some hard drives offer "512e" or 512 byte emulation, to help
older OSes. And 512e emulation, with a non-aligned partition, can
cause some performance issues. Probably more-so on write than on read.
Read-ahead on reads, can probably hide stuff like that. I've noticed
some quirky behavior on my 512GB hard drives, and I blame it on
internal sector size (when using "dd" disk dump program, my most
modern drives prefer pretty small block sizes, whereas my older
disks back to the dawn of time, the larger the block size, the faster
it goes).

This page could probably stand to be updated, because things
have changed a bit since this was written. The 4KB issue
has "gone underground" since this announcement, so you may find
the disk manufacturers doing less to tell people about what to do.
(The WD Align or Seagate-equivalent programs, are actually written
by Acronis. They can probably still be downloaded, but in one case,
may require some kind of registration to get the software. Of course,
you can do your own aligning, if you put your mind to it. The problem
I have with all this kind of stuff, is how it breaks the older
tools you've already paid for. My copy of Partition Magic, hates
surprises...)

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2888/2

Paul
 
Y

Yousuf Khan

Hi All,

I cloned a customer's dilapidated XP Pro sp3 computer over
to a new fancy computer. She had "a lot" of intellectual property
on her old computer and was tickled that everything came
back *EXACTLY* the way it was.

And it did come back "exactly" the way it was. Both her
old and her new computer have very, very slow access
to their hard drives. What should take 10 seconds takes
about two minutes on both computers. All my test outside
of XP show nothing wrong with her hardware. So, what ever
was slowing her down on her old computer if still having
fun on her new computer: an exact clone.

Oh, and I totally forgot about running Bootvis to try to speed up disk
loading on XP:

Step-By-Step: Use BootVis to improve XP boot performance | TechRepublic
http://www.techrepublic.com/article/step-by-step-use-bootvis-to-improve-xp-boot-performance/5034622

Yousuf Khan
 
T

Todd

Oh, and I totally forgot about running Bootvis to try to speed up disk
loading on XP:

Step-By-Step: Use BootVis to improve XP boot performance | TechRepublic
http://www.techrepublic.com/article/step-by-step-use-bootvis-to-improve-xp-boot-performance/5034622


Yousuf Khan

Hi Yousuf,

Thank you for the help.

Disk access drags even after boot time. For instance,
if you try to install a piece of software that would ordinarily
take a minute, you risk being seen falling asleep by the customer
waiting for the thing. Now once the new software is up and running,
it goes like the wind, although you have a pretty good wait for it
to load.

-T
 
M

Mayayana

Open Internet Explorer -> Tools -> Internet
Options. Delete all cache (stored files) and
set the cache limit small -- maybe 50 MB.

Also in IE, disable any add-ons that are not
necessary. If they don't use IE then remove
all extensions and BHOs via the Registry.

(IE is tied into the system, affecting Explorer.)

Do a disk cleanup and have it delete all Temp
files.

Go to sysinternals.com. Download Autoruns.
Use that to limit the programs that run at
startup. A lot of software sets itself to run at
startup. Auto-backup, iTunes, printer junk....
there can be a dozen or more things running that
shouldn't be. 600 MB in RAM is far more than should
be being used.

Disable any unnecessary services; especially
indexing.

Never use Symantec software. You said that AV
isn't causing a problem, but what about firewall?
A lot of firewalls have turned into bloated multi-
function programs. Likewise with malware hunters,
etc. It's all junk. You shouldn't need to be dynamically
hunting for malware. And both AV and malware hunters
have become a losing proposition. You end up with
every file action being scanned for 10s of thousands
of signatures, while most attacks are being done with
vulnerabilities that are not even officially known yet.

Download Procmon from Sysinternals and see
what is happening when nothing should be.
 
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C

Char Jackson

Hi Yousuf,

Thank you for the help.

Disk access drags even after boot time. For instance,
if you try to install a piece of software that would ordinarily
take a minute, you risk being seen falling asleep by the customer
waiting for the thing. Now once the new software is up and running,
it goes like the wind, although you have a pretty good wait for it
to load.

-T

It sounds like the IDE ports are configured to use PIO mode instead of
DMA. Even if originally configured to use DMA, Windows will step down
to PIO if it thinks it needs to, so it's worth checking.

Device Manager, IDE/ATA/ATAPI Controllers
 
T

Todd

It sounds like the IDE ports are configured to use PIO mode instead of
DMA. Even if originally configured to use DMA, Windows will step down
to PIO if it thinks it needs to, so it's worth checking.

Device Manager, IDE/ATA/ATAPI Controllers

Hi Char,

The hard drive is controlled by a Siig SC-SA0L11-S1 PCIe card.
But a good tip none the less.

-T
 
T

Todd

Open Internet Explorer -> Tools -> Internet
Options. Delete all cache (stored files) and
set the cache limit small -- maybe 50 MB.

Also in IE, disable any add-ons that are not
necessary. If they don't use IE then remove
all extensions and BHOs via the Registry.

(IE is tied into the system, affecting Explorer.)

Do a disk cleanup and have it delete all Temp
files.

Go to sysinternals.com. Download Autoruns.
Use that to limit the programs that run at
startup. A lot of software sets itself to run at
startup. Auto-backup, iTunes, printer junk....
there can be a dozen or more things running that
shouldn't be. 600 MB in RAM is far more than should
be being used.

Disable any unnecessary services; especially
indexing.

Never use Symantec software. You said that AV
isn't causing a problem, but what about firewall?
A lot of firewalls have turned into bloated multi-
function programs. Likewise with malware hunters,
etc. It's all junk. You shouldn't need to be dynamically
hunting for malware. And both AV and malware hunters
have become a losing proposition. You end up with
every file action being scanned for 10s of thousands
of signatures, while most attacks are being done with
vulnerabilities that are not even officially known yet.

Download Procmon from Sysinternals and see
what is happening when nothing should be.

Hi Mayayana,

Awesome. Well thought out process. Love it. Thank you!

The AV is Kaspersky Work Space Security (the business version).
I know it was not the problem as I had it completely uninstalled
to see if it was the cause. (Used Kavremover)

Don't care for Symantec software as well.

Many thanks,
-T
 
P

Paul

Todd said:
Hi Char,

The hard drive is controlled by a Siig SC-SA0L11-S1 PCIe card.
But a good tip none the less.

-T

A simple HDTune read benchmark, will confirm this for you.

A flat line at 4-7MB/sec is PIO, while a curve with more decent rates
(up to around 135MB/sec for a cheap HDD) is DMA transfer based.

http://www.hdtune.com/files/hdtune_255.exe

A sustained benchmark test such as that one, is sector based, so
fragmentation plays no part in the benchmark. The test works
in the same way a run of "dd" would work - purely sequential at
the sector level.

Paul
 
T

Todd

A simple HDTune read benchmark, will confirm this for you.

A flat line at 4-7MB/sec is PIO, while a curve with more decent rates
(up to around 135MB/sec for a cheap HDD) is DMA transfer based.

http://www.hdtune.com/files/hdtune_255.exe

A sustained benchmark test such as that one, is sector based, so
fragmentation plays no part in the benchmark. The test works
in the same way a run of "dd" would work - purely sequential at
the sector level.

Paul

Hi Paul,

Remember that the problem is identical on both machines. My hardware
tests on the new machine shows no hardware problems. Live Xfce CD
screams so fast it is dizzying. I had a bare XP installed to test
the hardware before the clone, and oh boy! If there had been a
hardware issue, the bare XP install would have taken two weeks,
instead of ~30 minutes (got to love SATA3). The problem is in
the installed operating system after the clone.

Thank you for the help,
-T
 
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G

Good Guy

Todd said:
Remember that the problem is identical on both machines. My hardware
tests on the new machine shows no hardware problems.
This would suggests that your old Windows system was corrupted and you
cloned it to put it on your new system. The corruption is still there
and it won't go away unless you start from scratch using the original
CDs for Operating system and for the applications you are using or you
want to use.

Cloning is a technique to make an identical copy of the system and so
the corruption has been transferred to the new system.

My personla opinion is to wipe the new system blank and start again.

Hope this helps.

--
Good Guy
Website: http://mytaxsite.co.uk
Website: http://html-css.co.uk
Forums: http://mytaxsite.boardhost.com
Email: http://mytaxsite.co.uk/contact-us
 
C

Char Jackson

Hi Paul,

Remember that the problem is identical on both machines. My hardware
tests on the new machine shows no hardware problems. Live Xfce CD
screams so fast it is dizzying. I had a bare XP installed to test
the hardware before the clone, and oh boy! If there had been a
hardware issue, the bare XP install would have taken two weeks,
instead of ~30 minutes (got to love SATA3). The problem is in
the installed operating system after the clone.

Thank you for the help,
-T

The thing that I and Paul are talking about isn't a hardware problem,
necessarily, it's primarily a configuration issue and is easy to test,
as Paul mentioned above.

Your descriptions so far lead me to believe that the issue is solely
disk access time and nothing to do with IE, Win Explorer, firewalls,
or antimalware processes.
 
T

Todd

This would suggests that your old Windows system was corrupted and you
cloned it to put it on your new system.

No suggestion about it. That is exactly what happened
The corruption is still there
and it won't go away unless you start from scratch using the original
CDs for Operating system and for the applications you are using or you
want to use.

Cloning is a technique to make an identical copy of the system and so
the corruption has been transferred to the new system.
Exactly


My personla opinion is to wipe the new system blank and start again.

I would be about two days installing everything back on it
and even at that, she still would have stuff wrong (meaning
different) and various items would never be the same.
And she would be down for about two weeks awaiting various
vendors to come in and reinstall all kinds of niche software.
It would be ugly.

She has a lot of intellectual property on the thing that
she must preserve.
Hope this helps.

Thank you for your time and suggestions. I appreciate
you sharing with me.

-T
 
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T

Todd

I would be about two days installing everything back on it
and even at that, she still would have stuff wrong (meaning
different) and various items would never be the same.
And she would be down for about two weeks awaiting various
vendors to come in and reinstall all kinds of niche software.
It would be ugly.

She has a lot of intellectual property on the thing that
she must preserve.

One thing about this project that is cool. She will
have no down time, as I still have access to her old
computer. Troubleshoot on the old computer and bring
the fix up to her on her new computer. I don't have
to kick her off her new computer for endless hours or
myself have to work after hours into the night. (I
get to go home too!) And, that is a first for me.

This is turning out to be a challenging and fun
project (I know, I need a life). I will get
back if and when I fix this.

I have talk the customer into further troubleshooting
because, believe it or not, even with the slow file
system, the new system is still light years above
her old system. And, she actually likes it. Just,
every time I sit down at it, I know it ain't running
right. And, I build it. It is a pride thing.

Thanks you all for the help!

-T
 

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