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I'm trying to find out why my application is very slow on a certain machine (runs fine everywhere else). I think i have traced the performance-problems to hard-disk reads and writes and i think it's simply the very slow disk.

What tool could i use to measure hd read and write performance under Windows 2003 in a non-destructive way (the partitions on the drives have to remain intact)?

9 Answers 9

260

There is a built-in disk performance checker in Windows called winsat:

winsat disk -drive g

(Run winsat with Administrator privileges)

More info: Info on winsat disk on technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc742157.aspx

e.g:

C:\WINDOWS\system32>winsat disk -drive g
Windows System Assessment Tool
> Running: Feature Enumeration ''
> Run Time 00:00:00.00
> Running: Storage Assessment '-drive g -ran -read'
> Run Time 00:00:04.17
> Running: Storage Assessment '-drive g -seq -read'
> Run Time 00:00:08.64
> Running: Storage Assessment '-drive g -seq -write'
> Run Time 00:00:17.47
> Running: Storage Assessment '-drive g -flush -seq'
> Run Time 00:00:03.53
> Running: Storage Assessment '-drive g -flush -ran'
> Run Time 00:00:04.16
> Disk  Random 16.0 Read                       21.05 MB/s          6.0
> Disk  Sequential 64.0 Read                   38.29 MB/s          4.9
> Disk  Sequential 64.0 Write                  39.67 MB/s          4.9
> Average Read Time with Sequential Writes     1.324 ms          7.4
> Latency: 95th Percentile                     2.585 ms          7.3
> Latency: Maximum                             26.977 ms          7.9
> Average Read Time with Random Writes         1.299 ms          8.1
> Total Run Time 00:00:39.41
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    Finally a solution which is a) build in b) command line - Thanks a lot. To use it on a 2012 Server Core OS I had co copy the files winsat.exe, d3d11.dll, dxgi.dll, d3d10.dll, d3d10_1.dll, d3d10_1core.dll, d3d10core.dll from a windows 8 computer. Jul 20, 2015 at 8:14
  • 42
    You have to run the command prompt as an administrator, otherwise it pops a new command prompt and disappears as soon as it's finished, taking the results with it. Oct 14, 2015 at 11:05
  • 5
    Unfortunately doesn't work on virtual servers :(
    – Stalinko
    Jul 15, 2016 at 9:44
  • 1
    @mtk It looks like the WinSAT score assigned to the result. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_System_Assessment_Tool Feb 6, 2017 at 20:01
  • 3
    Unfortunately does not support software RAID. Oct 11, 2018 at 14:15
21

HD Tach has been end of lifed. HD Tune appears to be equivalent: http://www.hdtune.com/

HD Tune screenshot

4
  • 2
    Pretty graphs FTW! +1 Jan 27, 2009 at 10:51
  • The link is dead and there's now a HD Tach End of Life Announcement at their website saying it's no longer supported.
    – Hugo
    Mar 27, 2012 at 12:49
  • @Hugo good spot, have updated my answer accordingly
    – TopBanana
    Mar 29, 2012 at 9:00
  • 2
    the free version of HD Tune 2.55 does not allow to benchmark disk write:( Jul 4, 2015 at 3:30
9

For those who might be looking for something capable of testing SQL type scenarios there's Diskspd.exe which has superseded SQLIO.

8

You can use Perfmon to gather physical disk based counters, such as:

  • Physical Disk (instance)\Disk Transfers/sec counter for each physical disk

  • Physical Disk(instance)\% Idle Time

  • Avg. Disk Queue Length

Or download PAL (very useful monitoring tool) and use the built-in template targeting the OS.

8

ATTO Disk Benchmark is freeware and does not require installation.

enter image description here

1
  • As of 2022 requires both to fill a form and also installation... :|
    – Frankie
    Mar 10 at 22:18
6

IOMeter will do this. It can do non-destructive testing by writing to its own files within the partitions.

6
  • 4
    Iometer sucks for the casual user. Requires an installer (wth for) tries to open friggen sockets and the UI is your typical OSS ui--ugly, way more complex than necessary, and ultimately confusing to anybody that doesn't RTFM.
    – user939
    Aug 30, 2009 at 21:41
  • 1
    Worked fine for me ;-} Aug 31, 2009 at 17:59
  • The latest version 1.1.0 doesn't run in XP, version 2006.07.27 does. Sep 12, 2016 at 15:06
  • I must admit the UI is far from being user-friendly. It still gets the job done and, unlike most other benchmarking tools, measures latency. Sep 12, 2016 at 15:10
  • It also saves results in CSV; if you select the same file again, it appends to it - quite nice for comparison, graphing etc. Sep 12, 2016 at 15:43
4

The performance counters in windows can show you transfer-speeds, current disk queue etc in order to trace the actual bottleneck on the machine when your app is running.

Look at Performance Object: Physical Disk

And look especially at the queue-counters. A disk can be very fast ad sequential reads, but as soon as it tries to access the disk simultaneously the queue might peak and give you horrible performance.

1

Try with Harddisk benchmark programs: http://www.hdtune.com/ http://www.passmark.com/products/pt_advdisk.htm

0

Also there is a tool, which is used by Microsoft engineers to test hard drive performance (information taken from the tool project's github readme file): https://github.com/microsoft/diskspd. Although not sure if it's compatible with Windows 2003

A nice thing about it is that it can measure IOPS performance (e.g. it's possible to compare your VM with Azure instance IO performance specifications).

Example usage:

diskspd.exe -c10G -d30 -b4K -h -o32 -t4 -r -w100 tempfile.dat

Output: enter image description here

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