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I have a setup where a Windows XP machine gets backed up to a server on the LAN, using rsync. Because of operational requirements, the backup needs to happen while the machine is in use. While this is not a problem for our Linux machines, this Windows box is slowed down to the point of being unusable by the rsync accesses.

Is there a way to limit the disk I/O priority of a process in Windows XP, similar to ionice in Linux?

Note that just reducing rsyncs bandwidth (via the --bwlimit switch) does not help, because the problem arises from lots of seeks and reads of very small files. So in order to have any effect at all, I'd have to set the bwlimit to such a small value that larger files, which are read sequentially and have hardly any impact on performance at all, would take ages to transfer.

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One simple solution is to use a faster ( RPM ) hdd and/or sdd. –  Ramhound Feb 26 '13 at 15:29
    
You can't change just the I/O priority, but you can change the priority of the whole process -- which might have the desired effect. To change the task's priority manually, right-click on the process in Processes tab of the Windows Task Manager and select Set Priority on the context menu. The question Setting process priority everytime it is launched? has an answer that describes alternative ways of doing it. –  martineau Feb 26 '13 at 16:53
    
IIRC, Windows XP does not have such a thing as I/O priority. That was introduced with Windows Vista. –  Harry Johnston Feb 28 '13 at 2:07
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Unfortunately Windows XP can not limit disk I/O priority. Only thing you can do is change process priority in task manager and this affects to whole .exe process and its cpu resources.

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