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Why is this folder so slow?



 
 
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  #1  
Old April 27th 20, 02:24 AM posted to alt.comp.os.windows-10,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Yousuf Khan[_2_]
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Posts: 1,296
Default Why is this folder so slow?

I have a folder on one of my SSD drives that takes 8 to 10 hours to back
up. It is only about 1.4 GB, but it is allocated 2.4 GB of space
altogether, and there are 580,000 files here. Indicates that per file
it's using up a little bit over half of a cluster on average. File
system is NTFS.

Meanwhile, this same drive can backup the remainder of the drive in
under 2 hours, and the remainder of the drive is 390 GB! Is NTFS this
inefficient for small files like this?

Yousuf Khan
  #2  
Old April 27th 20, 02:32 AM posted to alt.comp.os.windows-10,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
VanguardLH[_2_]
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Posts: 1,453
Default Why is this folder so slow?

Yousuf Khan wrote:

I have a folder on one of my SSD drives that takes 8 to 10 hours to back
up. It is only about 1.4 GB, but it is allocated 2.4 GB of space
altogether, and there are 580,000 files here. Indicates that per file
it's using up a little bit over half of a cluster on average. File
system is NTFS.

Meanwhile, this same drive can backup the remainder of the drive in
under 2 hours, and the remainder of the drive is 390 GB! Is NTFS this
inefficient for small files like this?


Using WHAT backup software? Doing a file-based or image-based backup?

Is it a direct access to the folder, or are you using a redirection,
like a junction (reparse point)? Does that folder itself have any
redirections which could run the backup program into a loop if it
doesn't specifically ignore those?
  #3  
Old April 27th 20, 05:01 AM posted to alt.comp.os.windows-10,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Boris[_7_]
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Posts: 12
Default Why is this folder so slow?

VanguardLH wrote in :

Yousuf Khan wrote:

I have a folder on one of my SSD drives that takes 8 to 10 hours to
back up. It is only about 1.4 GB, but it is allocated 2.4 GB of space
altogether, and there are 580,000 files here. Indicates that per file
it's using up a little bit over half of a cluster on average. File
system is NTFS.

Meanwhile, this same drive can backup the remainder of the drive in
under 2 hours, and the remainder of the drive is 390 GB! Is NTFS this
inefficient for small files like this?


Using WHAT backup software? Doing a file-based or image-based backup?

Is it a direct access to the folder, or are you using a redirection,
like a junction (reparse point)? Does that folder itself have any
redirections which could run the backup program into a loop if it
doesn't specifically ignore those?


That may be it. I remember reading about junctions causing havoc if they
were in a backup scheme (I think in a folder/file backup). Amazingly,
there was some helpful information (for me, at the time) on a Microsoft
forum, about identifying junctions, found in paragraph two of darrenc1's
answer.

To the OP:

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/...rum/windows_7-
performance/what-is-a-reparse-point-can-anyone-reveal-the/17b9b457-6c8a-
4e83-a445-e603011a6b95

or

https://tinyurl.com/y8hssmg6

  #4  
Old April 27th 20, 06:33 AM posted to alt.comp.os.windows-10,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Yousuf Khan[_2_]
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Posts: 1,296
Default Why is this folder so slow?

On 4/26/2020 9:32 PM, VanguardLH wrote:
Using WHAT backup software? Doing a file-based or image-based backup?


Macrium, file-based.

Is it a direct access to the folder, or are you using a redirection,
like a junction (reparse point)? Does that folder itself have any
redirections which could run the backup program into a loop if it
doesn't specifically ignore those?


No, none of that. Straightforward unredirected.

Yousuf Khan

  #5  
Old April 27th 20, 07:03 PM posted to alt.comp.os.windows-10,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
VanguardLH[_2_]
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Posts: 1,453
Default Why is this folder so slow?

Yousuf Khan wrote:

On 4/26/2020 9:32 PM, VanguardLH wrote:
Using WHAT backup software? Doing a file-based or image-based backup?


Macrium, file-based.

Is it a direct access to the folder, or are you using a redirection,
like a junction (reparse point)? Does that folder itself have any
redirections which could run the backup program into a loop if it
doesn't specifically ignore those?


No, none of that. Straightforward unredirected.


What did you use to check if there were junctions defined within the
folder? For example, you could use Nirsoft's NTFSLinksView tool to scan
for junctions to list them. You can specify the start folder from where
to search, like the folder with the 500K+ files, or search from the root
folder of a drive (junctions cannot point to other drives). Alas, if
you pick the problematic folder, a scan will only show any junctions in
that folder, not those that point at that folder. You might want to
scan from the root folder, and then check if that folder is under a
junction. Windows has been using junctions for a long time, especially
when Microsoft decides to change the name of the special folder, like
changing "Documents and Settings", the old name, and "Documents", that
both point to C:\Users. Could be your problematic folder is under a
junction, like Documents.

https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/pa...ageId=23397420

That gives some information. As I recall, Macrium is supposed to ignore
symlinks and junctions when creating backups (to prevent looping). That
is, it still records the reparse points, but it shouldn't follow them.

Make damn sure that Macrium Reflect is *NOT* following reparse points
(recording them is okay, but following them during a backup is usually
not okay). Go into Reflect under its Other Tasks menu to select Edit
Defaults. Under the Backup tab, and under the Reparse Points category,
make sure "System - Do not follow" is selected. However, the default
for User Reparse Points is to follow them, but I've seen users screw
them up and generate circular links. See what happens when you set
"User - Do not follow". Those are for the default settings used when
you /create/ a backup job. For old saved job definitions, they may
differ than the current global defaults. Also go into the backup job's
definition and set the reparse follow options the same ("Do not follow"
for both system and user defined reparse points).

You could run a test by moving or copying the problematic folder to
elsewhere that is guaranteed not to be under a junction (after first
checking the folder itself has no junctions), like copying the folder to
C:\problemfolder, and then having Reflect backup just that folder.

Are the files in the problematic folder in use? If open for write,
another process has to either wait for the file handle to close (get
deleted) or times out. Although I also use Macrium Reflect, configuring
it to run pre- and post-job commands is *very* clumsy. You have to
create a Powershell, VBscript, or batch file and have Macrium run that
as its scheduled task. Once you create the script template, you edit it
to add your own commands before or after the backup job. The problem
that I've run into is that Reflect will have the script run the backup
job by calling Reflect as a service which has admin privileges, but
doesn't load the command shell itself with admin privs in which the
script runs, so commands you enter there that require admin privs won't
run. There might be a way around that, but I gave up on Reflect's
clumsy pre- and post-command workaround feature, plus you have to
maintain the script instead of having an easily configurable command
line to edit in the Reflect GUI when creating or editing a backup job.
However, if you can get Reflect's script feature to work to emulate a
pre- and post-job feature, you might look at running the SysInternals'
handle.exe command to see which files might be in-use (have open file
handles) before the backup job starts.

Getting locked out from reading a file can be thwarted by using VSS
(Volume Shadow Service). I'm pretty sure on image backups that Reflect
defaults to using VSS. I don't see an option to not use VSS. However,
under Other Tasks menu, Advanced tab, check if Reflect will
"Automatically retry without VSS writers on failure". If there is a
problem with VSS, Reflect will try to backup without VSS.

Also check the VSS service will change into Running status. Go into
Windows services (services.msc), scroll down to "Volume Shadow Copy"
service. It should be set to Manual startup mode, and not Disabled. It
runs when called. It does not stay running during the entire time that
Windows is running. It is only needed when a shadow copy is needed to
get at in-use or system-restricted files, and you are not backing up the
entire time you have Windows loaded. If you go into Event Viewer,
Application logs, and filter on event ID 8224, you'll see informational
events for "The VSS service is shutting down due to idle timeout."

I forget the idle interval, probably 15 minutes, but once started the
VSS service will eventually stop after the last time it got called by a
VSS requestor and after a VSS writer has completed its task. Those
users that whine the VSS has idle-stopped don't understand this service
is not meant to be always running (Automatic mode). It is manually
called by a requestor, used for a while, and then it stops because it's
not being used anymore. Been that way since Microsoft introduced VSS
back in Windows XP to facilitate backing up of in-use and system files.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/win...w-copy-service

Right click on that service and select Start, or select it and click the
Start button. Did it change into Running status (for awhile)?

Some programs install their own VSS writers. As I recall, Paragon
supplied their own optional VSS writer you could select instead of using
the Windows-provided one. Reflect uses the copy-on-write writer already
provided by Windows. You can see a list of VSS writers by running in a
command shell:

vssadmin list writers

Sorry, I haven't delved far enough into this to know which system VSS
writer that Reflect will employ. Might be the ASR Writer as noted at
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/win...ox-vss-writers.
Not sure even Reflect cares, as it likely just issues some system API
call to use VSS.

VSS is only usable when NTFS is used as the file system. You didn't
mention WHERE is the problematic folder. If it is a folder on an
internal drive that uses NTFS, VSS can come into play (if the targeted
files are locked). If the folder is on some external storage media,
like a USB HDD or flash drive, could be that uses FAT32 or some other
file system than NTFS, so VSS can't be used there.

If VSS fails when called by Macrium Reflect, the backup job's log should
note the error. See:

https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/di...oft+VSS+errors
  #6  
Old April 27th 20, 10:17 PM posted to alt.comp.os.windows-10,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Yousuf Khan[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,296
Default Why is this folder so slow?

On 4/27/2020 2:03 PM, VanguardLH wrote:
What did you use to check if there were junctions defined within the
folder? For example, you could use Nirsoft's NTFSLinksView tool to scan
for junctions to list them. You can specify the start folder from where
to search, like the folder with the 500K+ files, or search from the root
folder of a drive (junctions cannot point to other drives). Alas, if
you pick the problematic folder, a scan will only show any junctions in
that folder, not those that point at that folder. You might want to
scan from the root folder, and then check if that folder is under a
junction. Windows has been using junctions for a long time, especially
when Microsoft decides to change the name of the special folder, like
changing "Documents and Settings", the old name, and "Documents", that
both point to C:\Users. Could be your problematic folder is under a
junction, like Documents.


I don't have to look for junctions, I know where they are. If there were
junctions here, I would have put them in myself, otherwise they aren't
there.

Yousuf Khan
  #7  
Old April 27th 20, 02:46 AM posted to alt.comp.os.windows-10,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Paul[_28_]
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Posts: 1,467
Default Why is this folder so slow?

Yousuf Khan wrote:
I have a folder on one of my SSD drives that takes 8 to 10 hours to back
up. It is only about 1.4 GB, but it is allocated 2.4 GB of space
altogether, and there are 580,000 files here. Indicates that per file
it's using up a little bit over half of a cluster on average. File
system is NTFS.

Meanwhile, this same drive can backup the remainder of the drive in
under 2 hours, and the remainder of the drive is 390 GB! Is NTFS this
inefficient for small files like this?

Yousuf Khan


Have you tried to "defragment" the drive ?

Normally, the "optimize" dialog will not offer defragmentation
as an option in Windows 10. It's supposed to offer "TRIM" as
the option for an SSD.

However, there is a "Copy On Write" or COW issue with SSDs.
Under the right circumstances, there will be a slowdown.

Now, consider what you're doing. Your backup software uses VSS
to make a shadow copy. It's possible some "COW activity" is happening
during the backup.

The Optimize dialog knows about this, and the Optimize dialog
has some sort of metric it uses to decide what to do. While
most of the time, it will only offer TRIM, I bet in your
case, it's "going to have a COW" and defragment your drive.
This should not be as thorough as a regular defragment,
and the design of what's done, should have something to do
with whatever the root cause of "having a COW" is.

I've not seen this slow behavior here, so have no
first hand experiences to offer on it. Note that over the
years Windows 10 has existed, the behavior of the Optimize
panel has been "as crazy as Cocoa Puffs". The software
frequently could not properly tell an HDD from an SSD,
and it would be damn hard to see any "subtle" behaviors,
when this software has had so many bugs in the past. I've
had a machine full of HDDs offer nothing but TRIM and
the Optimize panel declared all my drives as SSD drives.
Which is total bull**** and most annoying when you
actually want the defrag to work. As far as I can remember,
Optimize is working in 1909 OK now. It's been a hell of a
bumpy ride though, over the years.

See if you're offered a defrag option.

Do Properties on the drive letter, and in the Tools tab
you'll find the Optimize. Then retest your backup rate
after the partition has been cleaned up.

Paul
  #8  
Old April 27th 20, 07:06 AM posted to alt.comp.os.windows-10,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Yousuf Khan[_2_]
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Posts: 1,296
Default Why is this folder so slow?

On 4/26/2020 9:46 PM, Paul wrote:
Have you tried to "defragment" the drive ?


No, considering it's an SSD. But as you pointed out later, the optimize
option is available for both of my SSD's, but optimize recognizes them
as SSD's, so the only optimization available is trimming, no defragging.

Normally, the "optimize" dialog will not offer defragmentation
as an option in Windows 10. It's supposed to offer "TRIM" as
the option for an SSD.

However, there is a "Copy On Write" or COW issue with SSDs.
Under the right circumstances, there will be a slowdown.


Yes, likely this is exactly that circumstance. Do you know what the
symptoms of that circumstance are?

Now, consider what you're doing. Your backup software uses VSS
to make a shadow copy. It's possible some "COW activity" is happening
during the backup.


Yes, VSS is used by the software, which is Macrium Reflect 6 BTW.
Reflect's logs show that it creates the VSS shadows immediately before
beginning the backup.

This backup runs after midnight, and there is little activity while any
of the backups run. All of the backups run after midnight and they
finish relatively quickly, except this one.

The Optimize dialog knows about this, and the Optimize dialog
has some sort of metric it uses to decide what to do. While
most of the time, it will only offer TRIM, I bet in your
case, it's "going to have a COW" and defragment your drive.
This should not be as thorough as a regular defragment,
and the design of what's done, should have something to do
with whatever the root cause of "having a COW" is.


VSS is used on all of the backup jobs. None of the others exhibit this
behaviour. In fact, I've experienced this issue for nearly a decade now.
The problem started on Windows XP, continued on into Windows 7, and
continues to plague me in Windows 10. This particular folder has also
been migrated around from HDD to SSD, to a 2nd SSD, etc. So it's not a
problem that is specific to HDD's or SSD's, or to any particular version
of Windows.

I'll tell you what this folder is. It's actually my Thunderbird News
folder (exactly what I'm using to ask this question here), which exists
under the my User folder structure. The problem was discovered when I
started doing daily backups of my User folder and discovered that the
User folder was taking forever. After investigating it some, I figured
out that the problem was this particular substructure under News. Once I
excluded the News folder, backups finished 6 times faster! So I moved
the backups of the News folder to their own job, and let the rest of the
User folder get backed up separately. Before, you ask, I only backup the
News folder once a week, but it's still a pain in the ass watching it
take so long even once a week.

Some other background. When this particular backup is happening, it's
not the drives that are showing as busy, it's the CPU cores! 4 out of
the 8 cores on my FX-8300 are fluctuating between 50% to 100% busy,
while the other 4 are not that busy.

Yousuf Khan
  #9  
Old April 27th 20, 08:57 AM posted to alt.comp.os.windows-10,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Paul[_28_]
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Posts: 1,467
Default Why is this folder so slow?

Yousuf Khan wrote:


Some other background. When this particular backup is happening, it's
not the drives that are showing as busy, it's the CPU cores! 4 out of
the 8 cores on my FX-8300 are fluctuating between 50% to 100% busy,
while the other 4 are not that busy.

Yousuf Khan


I seem to remember at some time in the past, you offered
advice on putting an exception for an AV program,
so it does not scan that particular directory
(something in Thunderbird).

If your CPU cores are railed, I'd be tracing down the
PID of the offender.

One way to do it on a Pro SKU of OS, is

tasklist /svc # should not work on Home

and that will tell you what is inside a SVCHOST. You
can also do that with Process Explorer from Sysinternals,
running concurrently with Task Manager, and flip over
to Process Explorer to see what is in a busy PID in
Task Manager. If you elevate Process Explorer using
"Run as Administrator", it can even take a stack snapshot
of a SVCHOST, and you can get additional information.

For example, I have a SVCHOST with 15 things in it,
and one is wuauserv. If a Windows Update scan is running,
that SVCHOST lights up -- but then you have to guess
that's the guilty service, as the rest of the services
aren't normally a problem.

When Macrium is running, CPU effort goes into two things:

1) Running a checksum to stamp the .mrimg when finished.
This detects corruption later (like when restoring perhaps).

2) Compression. If the lightweight compressor is turned on,
that will use a core. I don't think Macrium uses multi-core
for its compressor.

If you were seeing more than that, I'd be looking at
MsMpEng as a culprit, as it could cause quite a penalty
if every small file involved a scan by the Windows Defender.

When I ran hashdeep64 in Windows 10, I think the calc
ran 8x slower than normal, to give some idea what a
penalty Windows Defender causes on reads.

Paul
  #10  
Old April 27th 20, 03:18 PM posted to alt.comp.os.windows-10,comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage
Yousuf Khan[_2_]
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Posts: 1,296
Default Why is this folder so slow?

On 4/27/2020 3:57 AM, Paul wrote:
I seem to remember at some time in the past, you offered
advice on putting an exception for an AV program,
so it does not scan that particular directory
(something in Thunderbird).

If your CPU cores are railed, I'd be tracing down the
PID of the offender.

One way to do it on a Pro SKU of OS, is

** tasklist /svc*************** # should not work on Home


Not even necessary, I can tell you right now which process is
responsible, it's the Macrium Reflect binary. Also the System process
which I assume the Reflect binary also makes heavy use of during this time.
 




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