Saturday, November 28, 2015

GSD Superpost: Windows Performance Troubleshooting

It has been a long time since my Case of the Unexplained Donut of Death post where I dip into the deeper waters of Windows Performance troubleshooting.

I might use…

But eventually I hit upon the Windows Performance Analysis Toolkit in Windows 8 (SDK 8) and newer (Win 8.1 & 10).  See this GSD post for linkages to more tool tips for the above items.

Later I would find an additional tool PerfView that helps with trace file collection and analysis.

Now Windows 10 is out and while I really need to invest in a deep dive of a resource like the Windows Performance Analysis Field Guide (amazon link) by Clint Huffman, there are still a lot of tools and resources still to be discovered.

I’m still trying to understand the new feature set and capability of Windows Performance Toolkit for Windows 10.

The latest tool that has inspired me is Bruce Dawson’s “UIforETW” tool.

This is a tool that records ETW traces, works around ETW performance bugs, allows configuration of trace recording options, works as a trace management UI, and more.

Basically you download it, run it, allow it to install the required WPT packages, and then pretty much start tracing. It records to a circular buffer so if you experience something interesting, save the trace and rename/note it, and the trace keeps on going while you go exploring the captured trace file. Read Bruce’s post for a full walk-through.

Bruce also has some good posts on performance troubleshooting.

This is an awesomely helpful tool to keep on your USB drive!

I had also just discovered Clint Huffman’s PAL (Performance Analysis of Logs) Tool

Both the ETW tool and the PerfView tool in particular should make it easy for me to leave a shortcut on a user’s desk so they can run the tool if I need them to capture a recurring performance issue, then let me collect the (large) trace file at a later time for deeper analysis.

However it would be nice to make a scripted “click-to-run” or “circular capture at startup” routine for ongoing troubleshooting; assuming resources (disk space and system performance) are up to the task.

I’m looking at these posts for inspiration and refinement.

Of course, just being able to collect ETL trace files and look at them with the Windows Performance Analyzer tool isn’t remotely close to fixing the issue. Generally there aren’t any singing angels present pointing the way to the problem process or issue.

You have to deep dive into the trace file to isolate the issue and drill down into the root cause; then come up with a solution.

So here are a BUNCH of video resources (and a few blog posts) to help with the learning process and to illustrate the tools mentioned and techniques used in Windows performance troubleshooting.  I’m collecting them here so I can find them quickly when I need some inspiration or deeper learning.

Defrag Tools - Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT) Videos

Defrag Tools - PerfView Videos

Defrag Tools - General Troubleshooting Videos

Advanced, Deep, and Challenging Performance Troubleshooting Videos

That should keep us busy for a while!


Claus Valca

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