I have an MSI Windpad, which has good hardware but terrible performance issues with Windows 7 & 8 (upgraded to 8 to see if performance got any better - nope!). I'm sure the problem must be with Windows, as running Linux Mint or Ubuntu on it suffers from none of the same slow downs. What is the difference, and is there anything I can do to increase performance on Windows up to the same levels of Linux?

Examples of performance differences:

  • opening an ebook takes 10-15sec on Win, 1-2sec on Linux
  • listing directory contents in Explorer for 200 files takes 60-90sec, Nautilus/Nemo 4-5sec (both in small icon list mode)
  • right click on a file in Explorer takes 5-15sec on Win, immediate in Nautilus/Nemo

Environment details:

  • Block/cluster size is standard (4kb) for both Win/Linux.
  • TRIM is used.
  • No filesystem encryption.
  • No compression.
  • No RAID.
  • Win has MS Security Essentials(7)/Defender(8). However, there is no significant performance difference with these disabled.
  • Win drivers are latest from manufacturer.
  • Actually replaced SSD with more space and faster specs, which made absolutely no subjective difference in Windows performance.
  • Only non-MS software installed in Win is Google Chrome, Adobe Reader, ComicRack, Skype and LibreOffice.

closed as not constructive by Diogo, Scott Chamberlain, EBGreen, James Mertz, Dave M Jan 8 '13 at 18:12

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  • Now that you've established that your SSD can perform much faster on a different OS, you should collect data to gain further insight into the issue on Windows. One way to do that is to run Process Monitor and capture a log of what Windows (or Explorer) is doing when you perform those actions. Analyzing that log could hold the answer to your problem. – Der Hochstapler Jan 8 '13 at 16:07
  • possible duplicate of How can I identify the culprit of my slow Windows shutdown?, That other question may have been about shutdowns but the tools it recommends cover diagnosing all slowness issues. – Scott Chamberlain Jan 8 '13 at 16:11
  • I'll give those tools from the other thread a try. I have ProcessMon on the tablet already, but it hasn't provided any good diagnostic info. – Logos Jan 8 '13 at 16:50
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    ...how is this question not constructive??? It seems pretty straightforward to me. I don't see anything in the FAQ that applies to this question. – Logos Jan 8 '13 at 21:57
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    I have developed software under both GNU / Linux and various Windows versions for many years. The Windows file system seems to be a big bottleneck: the same build (Java / Ant) took twice as long under Windows (15' versus 7-8'). More recently I have been using cmake, C++, Qt on both Windows 7 and Debian 8, the difference is even bigger. – Giorgio Nov 28 '15 at 9:16

A few things that can impact performance with SSDs (or even HDDs sometimes) include:

  • Block size (Windows calls it cluster size)
  • Whether extents are enabled in the filesystem
  • Whether TRIM is used
  • Whether an encryption layer is used
  • Whether a compression layer is used
  • What kind of RAID (software, hardware, fake) is in use
  • Virus scanners
  • Simultaneously reading and writing to the same physical area of the memory
  • Filesystem access patterns of programs using the filesystem (lots of small files versus a few large files, for example; also whether data is read by seeking/jumping around in the file a lot or if it's just read from start to finish)
  • Drivers -- sometimes generic, unoptimized drivers on Windows, especially for the motherboard or SATA controller, can be enormously slower than the latest hardware-specific drivers from the manufacturer
  • Filesystem design: sometimes one filesystem is just better than another, and since Linux is a hotbed of filesystem research while NTFS has been relatively stagnant, this would not surprise me :)
  • Age of the SSD, which is pretty much a non-factor here since you know that it performs well on Linux.

With so many factors it's hard to know what the culprit is. If I were to guess out of the above, I'd say it's:

  • 10% likely due to superior filesystem design on Linux (assuming you're using ext4)
  • 50% likely due to a very inefficient virus scanner that may use a file access pattern that tortures (exploits a worse case scenario) the performance of the SSD
  • 50% likely due to a generic/outdated driver
  • Not very likely to be the other things

But without other information or "what have you tried?" steps, it's hard to be more specific than this.

  • Added requested info to question. While I'm sure that ext4 is likely better than NTFS, it seems unlikely that it's the sole culprit (as antivirus and driver issues do not apply). – Logos Jan 8 '13 at 16:44
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    So you're saying if you take the MSI Windpad out of the box fresh from MSI with OEM Windows installed, it takes that long to do the things you describe? If not, what exact actions have you taken since unwrapping it, and what are the most recent actions you can remember before and after the performance change? – allquixotic Jan 8 '13 at 17:00
  • Yes, if you take it out of the box it takes that long to do those tasks. I also did a fresh recovery install from the recovery disks not long after I got it, and have the same problems. – Logos Jan 8 '13 at 17:09
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    You'd think this would be a major production issue that MSI would identify and fix. It sounds like a design flaw. I'd take it up with MSI, or if you're still within warranty, try to get a replacement unit (it may just be your specific one). – allquixotic Jan 8 '13 at 17:11
  • @allquixotic: I completely agree with you. A brand new machine with a fresh Windows install on an SSD, or a fresh install on an even faster SSD taking 5-15s for the context menu to show up, and 1-1.5 minutes for a mere 200 files to be listed in Explorer, points to serious issues. What I also would like to know is, just how much crapware does the machine come loaded with? – Karan Jan 8 '13 at 19:12

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