TL;DR If you get here from search I want to save your time. Slow computer is the most annoying thing for me. I really understand you and hope my experience will help in your case. This post describes how to fix the possible Windows PC slowness caused by the intensive read/write operations to non-system slow HDD disk (disk D: in my case).
My home Windows PC setup is (nothing really glorious):
The quick SSD system drive for applications and games and slower HDD drives for backups and media files.
Let’s start by opening the Task Manager by pressing the key combination
Ctrl+Shift+Esc and have the
More Details expanded for detailed view.
Then go straight to the Performance tab.
For some reason all the screenshots I took didn’t survive the system reboot. Thus I have to draw everything back as it was before the fix being applied. ¯\(ツ)/¯
The first things to notice here (to be honest the first thing was the typical hard drive sound) is the high disk D: usage (in red at the screenshot), which means something is constantly reading and writing to this disk. The other thing to pay your attention is the Memory usage (in orange at the screenshot). Typically at this point people who are familiar with Windows Administration can that yell everything is clear and fix the issue.
If you have not guessed, let’s move on.
Let’s track using Resource Monitor disk Read/Write I/O by applications.
Start Resource Monitor by running
resmon.exe. Or click
Open Resource Monitor in Task Manager’s Performance tab (in green at the screenshot).
At the Disk tab you can sort the rows by Read or Write I/O column and track the application consuming the most resources.
In my case it was the
Memory Compression process with a
pagefile.sys file. Let’s examine this file more closely.
In the Windows Command Shell (cmd) execute the following:
D:\>dir /a:h Volume in drive D is Backup. Volume Serial Number is 8B73-54C4 Directory of D:\ 18.12.2019 11:28 <DIR> $RECYCLE.BIN 12.06.2020 13:27 8 192 DumpStack.log.tmp 17.06.2020 20:29 18 347 122 688 pagefile.sys 23.05.2012 22:54 <DIR> RECYCLER 27.08.2019 22:40 <DIR> System Volume Information
pagefile.sys is beefy.
Let’s take a step back and check how the Windows behaves when there is no available memory left.
When the applications you are running on the Windows computer end up needing more RAM than you physically have,
Windows will start shuffling most used things around using your disks as a virtual memory.
The file being used is
pagefile.sys, Windows virtual memory swap file.
When Windows creates
pagefile.sys it typically makes it a huge size – usually the size of RAM installed on your machine.
If you’ve added a hard drive to your system you can move pagefile.sys to free up space on your original drive and speed up your system.
Hmmm. Doesn’t sound exactly right in my case. At a high cost of the I/O speed, hard disk is much slower than the actual RAM, this way system avoids getting the out of memory.
There are few ways to resolve the issue.
First, more relevant to your system needs, add more RAM to the PC.
Second, more practical and simpler, move the
pagefile.sys out of slow HDD drive to SSD.
Open the Advanced System Settings by pressing
Windows+X, then choose
System, then click
System Info (at the right).
Click the Performance group
At the Performance Options get to the
Change the Virtual memory settings.
Unset the checkbox to Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.
Choose the drive you want to move
System managed size and click Set.
Choose the drive currently holding
pagefile.sys (disk D: in my case)
No paging file and click Set.
Save the changes and close the dialog by clicking the OK button.
The System will ask to Reboot the PC. After your computer boot Windows again you wouldn’t believe your PC can work like this (or I should say like it worked when you bought it).