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Know Any Windows 8.1 File System Performance Tweaks?


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49 replies to this topic

#26
jaclaz

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Maybe connected, maybe not :unsure:, the new "spot verification service" and the new "online self-healing" model:

http://blogs.msdn.co...alth-model.aspx

 

Also most probably unconnected, but there are hints that there is something changed at a "lower" level than the filesystem driver  (at least when AF disks are involved):

http://www.forensicf...er=asc/start=0/

 

Just for the record, it is not the first time (historically) that for mysterious reasons a filesystem driver (or however *something* influencing data access or transfer speed) is much slower than a previous release, even on a much simpler filesystem such as FAT16 or FAT32:

http://www.msfn.org/...d-on-usb-stick/

and however there are so many "queer" behaviours when it comes to "real life" disk speed/access that I guess we could spend an entire lifetime doing tests each one of which will contradict the result of the earlier one.

 

And this time undoubtedly not connected, but a good example of how sometimes MS changes things (quite relevant) and says nothing about the changes, we have recent evidence that a TexFAT version 2.0 :w00t: was introduced silently :ph34r: in Windows Phone 7 (or maybe 7.5):

http://www.forensicf...wtopic/t=11393/

 

jaclaz

 




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#27
NoelC

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You may be right that there's something hidden that's responsible for this.  We can only hope it's a good thing.  But It's not really reasonable to keep it a secret, then!  I'm not the only one who cares about having to give up performance.

 

Briefly I held a secret hope that when Microsoft makes Windows capable of booting from a volume formatted with the new ReFS file system (which I have set up on one of my HDDs), things will get better.  But no, I tested it.  I can only enumerate files at the following rate (remembering that this is an HDD, not SSD, so the second number is more interesting)

 

  • 1,500 files/second first time.
  • 10,000 files/second after the data is cached.

By appearances, this is even slower than NTFS.  :(

 

-Noel

 

 

P.S., Nothing is being logged in my event logs to indicate there are any problems with the volumes on my system.


Edited by NoelC, 03 March 2014 - 06:55 PM.


#28
HarryTri

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HarryTri, you absolutely would not want to compress the contents of the WinSxS folder!

 

I did with the Disk Cleanup tool and it took some hours (on Windows 8) but it gave about 2GB of disk space. If you imply that it may cause any problems I don't have any until now.


I always love Windows XP!


#29
NoelC

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If you've compressed files on disk that are needed for execution - for example, DLLs in WinSxS, then you will almost certainly have slowed down your system.  There is some tradeoff between size of disk access and speed of CPU to decompress data, but practically speaking using file system compression slows things down in general, even on a very powerful computer system.  Compression is an especially bad idea when using SSD.  Most SSDs run worst on compressed data, because they attempt to compress it internally.

 

If you're struggling that hard to get back 2 GB of disk space, you should consider saving some pennies to get a bigger drive.

 

-Noel



#30
HarryTri

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Well, the difference in speed isn't sensible for an HDD, things may be different for an SSD. The Disc Cleanup tool compresses the WinSxS folder when it does the Windows Update cleanup anyway.


I always love Windows XP!


#31
NoelC

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Keep in mind this thread is about getting the maximum speed out of the I/O subsystem.

 

I've had experience with plenty of HDDs and the NTFS compression always slows down operations.  I don't care what's written, I've seen it in action.  From what I can see, it's typical Microsoft implementation.  Works, but isn't fast, and isn't all that good at compressing things either.

 

-Noel



#32
HarryTri

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Well, I had a look at the WinSxS folder and it seems that it isn't compressed at all. Strange... Once that I had a look at it in the past it was compressed - I think so at least, of course I have done a restore with Macrium Reflect Free afterwards after installing Windows 8.1 in order to revert to Windows 8, so I don't know.


I always love Windows XP!


#33
NoelC

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I'm glad to hear that, actually.  That makes more sense based on the poor results I've seen with file system compression.

 

-Noel



#34
epic

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Have you tried Process Lasso?



#35
NoelC

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I know most all of the Windows configuration processes, how to adjust process priorities, etc.  That's not really what the problem is, as far as I can see.  The problem seems to be that Windows is doing a lot more work inside the NTFS implementation for certain operations to achieve the exact same goals (e.g., enumerating files inside a folder, which happens all the time and thus affects a lot of different things).

 

However, thanks for the tip.  Perhaps I'll test that program in a VM and see what it tweaks.  Maybe they've found something else to tweak that I don't yet know about.

 

-Noel



#36
HarryTri

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I did a restore from my laptop's hidden partition and, after updating Windows 8 and cleaning Windows Update with the Disc Cleanup tool the result for the WinSxS folder is 11.6 GB actual size and 10.9 GB disk space, so it does become compressed after all.


I always love Windows XP!


#37
NoelC

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I've noticed another degradation in file enumeration speed.

 

Enumerating files from the root of the hard drive is now MUCH slower than it once was, topping out at about 8000 files / second even after the data has been cached into RAM.  This is now only 25% of the performance I was seeing in Windows 7.

 

It's not my particular OS setup that's slowing down, it's something in the file system design/implementation. 

 

I 've just completed testing with various operating systems on the very same hardware.  Windows 7 and 8(.0) are still as fast as ever, even fully updated.  A clean, fresh Windows 8.1 is something like 3 times slower on the same hardware, and after all updates it's a whopping 6 times slower.

 

Windows 8.1 is not only slower than its predecessors - it's growing more sluggish. 

 

And I don't think it's just File Explorer that's affected.

 

Is this an initiative by Microsoft to slow down File Explorer gradually so they can say the next new system is faster?

 

-Noel



#38
DosProbie

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For those of you running a Samsung SSD Drive you can set your drive to "Rapid Mode" via Samsung Magician Software which will enhance the overall system performance for 8 and 8.1.

 

http://www.thessdrev...sd-performance/

 

 

~DP :whistle:



#39
HarryTri

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I upgraded to Windows 8.1 twice and then reverted to Windows 8. Degraded performance, many removed features, lots of bugs (which at least where corrected with the subsequent updates)... In my opinion Windows 8.1 is rather a free downgrade to Windows 8 than an upgrade. My laptop came with Windows 8 and will stay with them as much as possible, no matter how much Microsoft urges for the free "upgrade". Let's hope that Windows 8.2 and Windows 9 will be a different story. :ph34r:


I always love Windows XP!


#40
NoelC

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I've called Microsoft out on it on their forums.  Let's see if they will make it faster in the next update or the one after that.

 

It's hard to be too terribly upset, since 8.1 is quite stable now, and most I/O operations aren't slowed as much as the enumerations appear to be.  Still, it would be nice if it were as fast as it could be AND stable.  :yes:

 

-Noel



#41
shae

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On 8.0 here, Properties on C:\ gets 50K files/sec on the second run.



#42
NoelC

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Thanks for checking.  This is as it should be.  I can reproduce that in a Win 8.0 VM on the very same hardware that will only count up 8,000 files/second running Win 8.1.

 

Fortunately, in further testing I've seen programs such as grepWin enumerate all the files on the disk (e.g., during a search) at a MUCH faster pace, so I can only assume it has something to do with the implementation of File Explorer itself.  GrepWin enumerates all 900,000 files on C: in 23 seconds.  I guess I shouldn't let it bother me. 

 

I don't know why this particular function is slowed down so much in Win 8.1.  I have never run across anything that justifies it.

 

And something in the file system implementation just got a bit faster with the latest (June) Windows 8.1 updates.  I've been able to measure file access improvements of about 5% across the board (confirmed on several different systems).  Other than the File - Properties enumeration other I/O operations are almost up to the performance levels I was seeing with Windows 7.

 

Compare this graph to the one I got when I started this thread that showed disk access down to about 100 MB/sec.

 

PerformanceTest%20Advanced%20Workstation

 

-Noel


Edited by NoelC, 13 June 2014 - 05:38 PM.


#43
MagicAndre1981

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please try this hotfix:

 

Update to remove memory management flush serialization for all file system drivers in Window

http://support.micro...b/2981965/en-us

 

Now the operations should run in parallel. See if this improves your disk performance.


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#44
NoelC

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Cool, thanks Andre!  I've requested it, and I will report back (assuming it doesn't turn my system into hamburger).

 

A web search doesn't turn up much in the way of people discussing this one yet.  I did watch that little defrag video segment, and it was very basic indeed.

 

I look forward to seeing how this affects my file system access.

 

If you don't hear back from me in a few days, send a...

 

3302234314_b5f8002ed7.jpg

 

-Noel



#45
NoelC

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Dang, couldn't even get out of the starting blocks...

 

KB2981965WillNotInstall.png

 

Not sure what else to do...  It wouldn't install in either my Win 8.1 Enterprise VM or my Win 8.1 Pro Media Center Edition workstation, with the same (above) error.

 

I'll bet it's either because I took that stupid upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro Media Center Edition, or because a subsequent update has altered Ntoskrnl.

 

My Ntoskrnl is 6.3.9600.17238. not the 6.3.9600.17237 the article claims is required.

 

Guess I'll have to wait for this to come out in a typical Windows Update.

 

-Noel


Edited by NoelC, 11 September 2014 - 11:21 PM.


#46
MagicAndre1981

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in this case you have a newer version of th kernel and the Update is no longer needed.

 

I requested better error message since Vista, but MS ignores this.


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#47
NoelC

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The question is, has that hotfix been rolled into the kernel?  Is it possible to know?

 

Can't say I've sensed any improvements at all in file system performance lately to be honest.

 

-Noel



#48
MagicAndre1981

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updates are cumulative. If you have a higher version, the fix is included.


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#49
NoelC

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I have never run across hard information from Microsoft that says they are, but you're closer to the internals than most anyone I've known, so I believe you implicitly.

 

Well, then, this fix makes no difference whatsoever to file system performance, whether in real use or in benchmark tests.  That's disappointing.

 

-Noel



#50
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You stated that you simply formatted your OS partition. (I'm assuming you used Window's tools, included in the installation ISO/DVD. Correct me if I'm wrong)

 

Do you use a hardware RAID controller, or is it a "fakeraid"? If hardware, does it have it's own memory banks?

 

 

I know this isn't the cause, but it's worth looking into.. Are your partitions aligned properly, and is the stripe size optimal for the disks erase block size?

 

 

 

You stated you left your boot partition intact between OS benchmarks. This indicates that you didn't do a low level erase on each disk in the array and rebuild it. Without releasing the charges in the NAND cells, it must be done at the time of the write, thus causing several nano seconds of delay multiplied by the millions(?) of cells. (this is completely subject to different disk firmwares, which are industry secrets so nobody can know what takes place, so let's assume the worst)

 

 

Perhaps the disks aren't/weren't TRIMed adequately before each benchmark, and during normal usage. Check into your system's garbage collection implementation and see what controls it between the two OSes (Windows, RAID controller, disk firmware, etc).

 

I know on my PCIe SSD fakeRAID-0 RevoDrive, there's no way for me to actually instruct Windows to perform TRIM, however Linux does it quite easily. Strange..?

 

 

Thats all I got for now, thanks for starting this thread, I learned a few quick tricks to boost my systems performance.

 

-HNx






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