Windows 8 Tip of the Day–Understanding Startup Items

Todays Tip from Robert Mitchell…

First for Windows RT,

As part of the effort to improve battery life and PC responsiveness, the startup apps support in Windows RT was removed.

Change Description:

Windows RT does not honor startup app entries in the following locations:

· Run key under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

· Run key under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

· Run key under HKLM\Software\wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

· Run key under HKCU\Software\wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

· Startup folder under user profile start menu

· Startup folder under all user profile start menu



What does the startup impact mean in Task Manager?




Those values have to do with how much time is added to the startup sequence by that item.

· High impact – Apps that use more than 1 second of CPU time or more than 3 MB of disk I/O at startup

· Medium impact – Apps that use 300 ms – 1000 ms of CPU time or 300 KB – 3 MB of disk I/O

· Low impact – Apps that use less than 300 ms of CPU time and less than 300 KB of disk I/O

The ones that are marked as ‘not measured’ are new start up items from things I’ve installed since the last reboot.  Windows won’t classify them until my next reboot.

Xperf for the layman, performance analysis unchained, Windows Assessment Toolkit revealed.

If you have been following along in performance land the last year or three, you’d hear about xperf and the WPT (Windows Performance Toolkit).  Mayhap you’ve had some time to practice and you know what you are doing.  Cool.  This tool might still interest you.

If you, on the other hand, haven’t heard of these, or haven’t had the time to spend to get good at them, then this tool will definitely interest you.

It is the Windows Assessment Toolkit.  Unlike the Windows Assessment Server, which I’ll speak to later, Windows Assessment Toolkit it a stand alone, infrastructure-less toolkit designed to help layman and skilled professional alike with client performance analysis. 

This is an option for both Windows 7 and Windows 8 by the way.

So without further ado, lets get rolling…

Step 1 – Get the tool

Go here and run the web installer for the ADK.  Cycle through the installer until you get to the checkbox list of tools and pick 2 as seen below:



Let it install.

Step 2 – Use the tool (data collection and review)

Launch the Windows Assessment Console for the Toolkit like so:


So here we have the Console Launching…and then, the console:





So, browser running slow can’t figure out why?  Want to see how long the battery will really last?  Does it take forever to startup and you want to know why?  Just some of the test cases at your finger tips.  Note all these in the default pane run only on Windows 8 or Windows RT.  But when you select “Run Individual Assessments”:


A fair amount of them can be run on Windows 7 as well as 8.  So if you don’t want to stand up the infrastructure of a Windows Assessment Server, use this to vet out the performance of hardware, your build, third party filter drivers like AV, DLP, NAC, etc.

The key to this UI though is to click “Configure” down at the bottom next to the Run button, because that’s what you can use to determine which of these ad-hoc test cases can be run against Windows 7 as well.


Note this test case can run on Windows 7.  If you wanted to make a test case to give to someone or to place on another machine, just click “Package…”


And then you can run it on a machine without having to install any console.

So click Run to do a test case.



And then it dumps you into a report view when it is complete.  All the items are clickable, and can take you into the ETW trace files if need be.  For example:


See below, we’re selected on one of the found issues and on the right hand pane we get an explanation of what the problem and recommendation are to remediate, along with a link to TechNet on what the ‘deal’ is.


Take the time to use this in your environment on workstations….why you are going to ask?  What does it get me?


Well, the driver certification and verification jobs will identify problem drivers in your build that could cause BSODs or other problems…

The File Handling test case will give you a crystal clear idea of DLP or AV’s ‘cost’ to performance in terms of file io.

Boot up is a general holistic view of the boot up process and the impact of everything on it.

Internet Explorer browsing experience is a collection of pages the job will hit locally for graphics rendering.  It’s pretty slick.  Run it and see.  How good is your GPU and GPU driver at hardware rendering?  Find out.

Check this out, see how it works, and it’ll even point you to issues in the ETW files and you can use this as a jump start to real ETW trace analysis on your own.

Hope you liked this post!

The Dude…

Download this KB now!

And test it first please.

An enterprise hotfix rollup is available for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

This is a collection of the various updates we kept (we being PFEs who do WDRAP in particular) and Yong Rhee published for us, like

This is now a Rollup for Enterprises.  It is not in Windows Update, but is in the Catalog here:

Most customers should see a minute or more reduced from boot, and a more peppy system, as a result.

This was a great collaborative effort amongst CTS, WINSE, PFE and MCS.  A huge thanks to everyone involved.

Jeff Stokes

“The Dude”

Windows 8 Tip of the Day–Startup and MSConfig

Another gem by Robert Mitchell!


Today’s Tip…

I remember back in NT4 the only way to track down your startup items was to look in the registry and the Startup group.  Then MSCONFIG.EXE came along in Windows 2000 and made troubleshooting so much easier.  In Windows 8 we see yet another change.  While MSCONFIG.EXE is still there, it no longer has a list of the startup items.  This has been moved to Task Manager.


Not only can you enable/disable startup items but it shows how much each item is affecting the startup time.  The items that are showing up as ‘Not measured’ were items that were installed after my last reboot.  So they system hasn’t had a chance to time how much they will affect startup.

Windows 8 Tip of the Day, SMB protocols

Today’s Tip…brought to you by Robert Mitchell!

SMB 2.0 was first introduced in Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008.  It was considered to be tighter and removed some of the chattiness of the previous version.

SMB 2.1 was introduced in Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 and included an opportunistic locking mechanism

SMB 3.0 was introduced with Windows 8/ Windows Server 2012 and included a number of improvements…

Feature or functionality


SMB Transparent Failover

Enables administrators to perform hardware or software maintenance of nodes in a clustered file server without interrupting server applications storing data on these file shares. In addition, if a hardware or software failure occurs on a cluster node, SMB clients transparently reconnect to another cluster node without interrupting server applications that are storing data on these file shares.

SMB Scale Out

Using Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) version 2, administrators can create file shares that provide simultaneous access to data files, with direct I/O, through all nodes in a file server cluster. This provides better utilization of network bandwidth and load balancing of the file server clients, and optimizes performance for server applications.

SMB Multichannel

Enables aggregation of network bandwidth and network fault tolerance if multiple paths are available between the SMB 3.0 client and the SMB 3.0 server. This enables server applications to take full advantage of all available network bandwidth and be resilient to a network failure.

SMB Direct

Supports the use of network adapters that have Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) capability and can function at full speed with very low latency, while using very little CPU. For workloads such as Hyper-V or Microsoft SQL Server, this enables a remote file server to resemble local storage.

Performance Counters for server applications

The new SMB performance counters provide detailed, per-share information about throughput, latency, and I/O per second (IOPS), allowing administrators to analyze the performance of SMB 3.0 file shares where their data is stored. These counters are specifically designed for server applications, such as Hyper-V and SQL Server, which store files on remote file shares.

Performance optimizations

Both the SMB 3.0 client and SMB 3.0 server have been optimized for small random read/write I/O, which is common in server applications such as SQL Server. In addition, large Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) is turned on by default, which significantly enhances performance in large sequential transfers, such as SQL Server data warehouse, database backup or restore, deploying or copying virtual hard disks.

SMB-specific Windows PowerShell cmdlets

With Windows PowerShell cmdlets for SMB, an administrator can manage file shares on the file server, end to end, from the command line.

SMB Encryption

Provides end-to-end encryption of SMB data and protects data from eavesdropping occurrences on untrusted networks. Requires no new deployment costs, and no need for Internet Protocol security (IPsec), specialized hardware, or WAN accelerators. It may be configured on a per share basis, or for the entire file server, and may be enabled for a variety of scenarios where data traverses untrusted networks.

SMB Directory Leasing

Improves application response times in branch offices. With the use of directory leases, roundtrips from client to server are reduced since metadata is retrieved from a longer living directory cache. Cache coherency is maintained because clients are notified when directory information on the server changes. Works with scenarios for HomeFolder (read/write with no sharing) and Publication (read-only with sharing).