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How to troubleshoot performance issues in Windows Vista
Article ID: 950685 - View products that this article applies to.
The steps to troubleshoot performance-related issues in Windows Vista vary depending on the point at which the issue occurs. This article is intended to describe the steps that are used to troubleshoot performance-related issues that occur in Windows Vista.
For more information about how to troubleshoot other performance issues in Windows Vista, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950684/ )How to troubleshoot performance issues during startup in Windows
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/950686/ )How to troubleshoot performance issues with standby, hibernate, and resume in Windows Vista
OverviewThis article describes the steps that are used to start to troubleshoot performance-related issues in Windows Vista.
Performance issues that you may encounter on a Windows Vista based computer may include but are not limited to the following issues:
Computers that meet the minimum requirements are known as "Windows Vista Capable," and computers that meet the recommended requirements are known as "Windows Vista Premium Ready." For more information about Windows Vista Capable and Windows Vista Premium Ready computers, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc507845.aspxFor more information about system requirements for Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/919183/ )System requirements for Windows Vista
To start troubleshooting a performance issue in Windows Vista, follow these steps.
Step 1: Check the Windows Experience IndexWindows Vista includes a performance rating tool that is named WinSAT. This tool measures the performance of a computer, and the tool gives information about the performance in a way that is easy to understand for the end-user. The performance information about the computer is known as the "Windows Experience Index." You can use the information in this Index to determine what the expected performance levels are for the computer that is based on the rating of each component. When you review the performance rating for the computer, you see an overall score and a sub-score for individual components in the computer. The overall score is determined by the lowest sub-score on the computer. Therefore, if the lowest sub-score for a component in the computer is 2.6, the overall score for the computer will also be 2.6. This is because the component with the lowest performance in the system is considered the bottleneck.
When you review this score, you can use this information to determine whether there is a component in the computer that is causing the startup performance issue. When you determine the Windows Experience Index for your computer, you can use this information to correctly set expectations about the level of performance that you can expect to achieve with the current configuration. After you set the expectations, it is important to continue to troubleshoot the issue by proceeding with the next troubleshooting step. This is because, although the computer may have slower hardware, the computer may also have other issues with software configurations that can further decrease performance.
For guidance about how to make recommendations about computer performance that is based on the Windows Experience Index, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/Windows/en-US/Help/f59082f4-6385-4a61-ba7e-2de9625a780a1033.mspxNote If the computer has an overall system score of 1.0 because the video sub-score was 1.0, this overall score may not be an accurate representation of the computer's performance. In order to test the performance of the video card in the computer, Windows Vista Display Driver Model (WDDM) drivers must be installed for the video card. If the drivers for the video card are not WDDM drivers, the sub-score will automatically be recorded as 1.0 because the card cannot be tested for performance.
When you have identified performance expectations by using the Windows Experience Index, go to the next troubleshooting step.
Step 2: Check Windows UpdateIf a driver or an operating system component causes the performance issue, there may be an update that is available on Windows Update that addresses the issue. Visit Windows Update, and install any driver or operating system updates that are available. To do this, visit the following Windows Update Web site
http://update.microsoft.comIf you install an updated driver or operating system components from Windows Update, and this does not resolve the performance issue, go to the next troubleshooting step.
Step 3: Check for performance warningsFrequently, Windows Vista can automatically detect any issues that are related to performance and can make recommendations about how to troubleshoot these problems. When this happens, a warning is displayed in Control Panel. To access these warnings, follow these steps:
Step 4: Check the Reliability MonitorWhen you troubleshoot a performance issue, it is important to determine whether the problem always occurred after you installed Windows Vista or if the problem began sometime after you installed Windows Vista. You must clarify this before you continue.
If the problem has always occurred, go to Step 5.
If Windows Vista was performing acceptably after it was installed, and the startup performance problem only began to occur sometime after Windows Vista was performing acceptably, you can use the Reliability Monitor tool that is included with Windows Vista. This tool lets you examine the events that occurred around the time that the problem began so that you can determine any relationship between the event and the issue. To do this, you must determine approximately when the issue began to occur. When you determine the approximate time, you can examine the events that occurred around that time.
To use this tool to troubleshoot a performance issue that began sometime after Windows Vista was installed, follow these steps:
Step 5: Disable the indexer for Windows SearchA common cause of poor system performance is that there is an application or a service that constantly stresses the hard disk. This can cause other components that are running to be deprived of the resources that they require in order to function correctly and at an acceptable speed.
One potential example of this kind of application is the indexer for Windows Search. Because the indexer uses low priority I/O, performance is not decreased for most computers. This is because the indexer service only accesses the hard disk when the indexer service determines that another component of the system is not already accessing the hard disk, and the hard disk is idle. In an older computer that has a slower hard disk, the hard disk may be unable to react quickly enough to new requests for disk access from other system components. This will cause system performance to decrease.
To test To test whether the indexer service is causing performance problems, disable the Windows Search service so that indexing no longer occurs. Before you do this, you have to determine whether the indexer has completed indexing the system. To check the status of the indexer service, follow these steps:
In either case, you can test to see whether the indexer is the cause of the performance issue by disabling the Windows Search service. To disable the Windows Search Service, follow these steps:
Scenario 1In this scenario, the performance issue no longer occurs. Additionally, you find that the indexing process had not completed. In this scenario, the likely cause of the performance issue is the Windows Search service. We recommend that you turn the service back on and leave it running to enable the index process to be completed. The system will continue to be slow during the initial indexing phase. However, when the indexing is complete, system performance will likely return to expected levels.
Scenario 2In this scenario, the performance issue no longer occurs. Additionally, you find that the indexing service had finished indexing. Or, you find that the performance issue did not previously exist, but that the performance issue occurred recently. In this scenario, it is likely that the database that the search indexer uses has become damaged or corrupted. In this case, you must rebuild that database. To do this, follow these steps.
Step A: Restart the Windows Search service
For help with Windows Search problems in Windows Vista automatically, click Run now button from the Automated Troubleshooting Services page and follow the steps in this wizard:
Fix problems in which Windows Search is not working or searches are slower
Step 6: Disable Aero GlassAnother potential cause of performance issues in Windows Vista occurs when Aero Glass is enabled. However, the performance issues occur when the system only meets the minimum requirements for Aero Glass. This experience resembles the experience that you have when you run any software on a system that only meets the minimum requirements. In this case, the experience may not be optimal.
To test whether performance issues are related to Aero Glass, disable Aero Glass on the computer. To do this, follow these steps:
When Aero Glass is disabled, try to reproduce the performance issue to see whether the problem still occurs.
If you no longer experience performance problems, the hardware may be unable to use Aero Glass to produce an optimal visual experience with Windows Vista. If you want to use Aero Glass and to avoid an adverse effect on performance, you must upgrade your hardware. In this case, you most likely have to upgrade the computer's video card.
If you decide to upgrade the video card, make sure that the card that you selected has the "Certified for Windows Vista" logo. To view this logo, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/buyorupgrade/logo.mspxIf you continue to experience performance problems, the issue most likely is not related to Aero Glass. In this case, you must re-enable Aero Glass before you continue to troubleshoot the performance problem. To do this, follow these steps:
Step 7: Start the computer in safe modeWhen you start the computer in safe made, you can determine whether the cause of the startup-related performance issue is related to a background service or to a driver.
To start in safe mode, follow these steps:
Step 8: Perform clean-boot troubleshootingIf you verify that the performance issue does not occur in safe mode, start Windows Vista in a clean-boot environment to determine the programs or the services that are causing the issue. This process will systematically eliminate any of the third-party services or applications that are running on the system that could potentially be the cause of the problem.
For more information about how to perform clean-boot troubleshooting in Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929135/ )How to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot in Windows Vista
Article ID: 950685 - Last Review: July 16, 2012 - Revision: 1.0