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I've got Windows Vista Business and when my machine chugs I think it is because of paging, but I never know how to verify this.

Procexp doesn't seem to provide useful information because it appears that nothing is going on when the chugs happen.

perfmon seems like it has the counters I need, but I'm never sure what counters I should add to cover the information I want. For perfmon, I prefer numbers that are percents, so I can gauge load.

Here are the counters I have up, but they don't always seem to correlate to chugs:

  • % disk time (logical)
  • page faults/sec (an indicator of lots of paging activity)
  • processor/%priviliged time
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The word Vista in the name is often a hint.. – Dentrasi Jun 15 '10 at 7:15
With process Explorer, right click on the column headers bar, then Select Columns. The two most important tabs in the dialogue box will be Process Memory and Process Performance. When you say it "chugs" can you describe in more detail what happens? – Pulse Jun 15 '10 at 7:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've found the Resource Monitor very useful for diagnosing this kind of slow-down where even Procexp isn't highlighting anything. I think it's accessed from the Performance and Reliability tools on Vista. The page of interest is the disk tab. I have found that this highlights the processes that are clogging the IO. The Disk Activity pane will show you the individual files that are being accessed the most. Often I find it's the Windows Search indexer service writing to the .edb file.

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If your system is busy page swapping, a process list won't show you that because it is the kernel that is busy and it is mostly busy waiting for the disk. There is no magic number of faults per second that is okay and once you go past, it is horrible. So there really isn't an answer to your question.

On modern machines, the CPU is so much faster than disk that page faults take an eternity from its perspective. If you are thrashing on swap, get more memory or run less stuff. I realize the latter can be difficult in a Windows box (gee, do I really need the QOSTPRQ service running??).

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Check out the first half of my XPerf answer at SO, with it, you can analyze your problems in detail.

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You can use this guide to trim down your Vista services which will free up some memory and other resources:

Best advise is to upgrade to Windows 7 if you can.

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