Improving Windows 10 performance by 3000% with these simple tricks
On October 2nd Microsoft released version 1809 (Codename: Redstone 5) for those who wanted to update manually.
On the 9th of October it started rolling out via automatic windows updates. Unfortunately there was an oversight in the update mechanism leading Microsoft to pause the update temporarily as during the upgrade users documents got deleted. While waiting for the fixed version of Windows 10 to be released we started doing our regular performance tests, as we did with Server 2019 and Office 2019 recently and the results where…well, not what we expected.
Of course we didn’t want to leave you hanging so we’ve also come up with a few simple tricks that will boost your scalability to numbers that won’t get you in trouble.
1607, 1703, 1709: The Good
Let’s start with an overview of recent versions of Windows 10, Microsoft was onto something good. With every release the VSImax increased a little (after performance tuning!), and the baseline dropped. In other words you could fit more users on a server, and their performance as long as the system is not saturated would be better, not a lot, but still considering all the changes they do a great job. With every release though you have to wonder, do I need these new features in my VDI environment, or can I take them out?
1803: The bad
With 1803 the first Meltdown and Spectre patches came along causing a massive dip in scalability and a slower system overall. When the baseline is increasing in a lot of cases it’s because of something at the system or storage layer, as these tend to influence every action on the system, even when there is no shortage of CPU, Memory or Disk resources at all. In June L1TF made things even worse.
1809: The ugly
Yes, the chart is not wrong, your VSImax will drop completely to the bottom of the chart when you simply install the latest Windows 10 1809 feature update. Could it be that poor performing? Luckily the answer is No. But you’ll need to do some work to make it perform as you’re used to in VDI environments. With every performance test we optimize the operating system by using e.g. VMware’s OSOT or the Citrix Optimizer and they are not tuned to the latest release of Windows 10 yet. The result of this is that even if you optimize a system (as you should) a next -> next -> finish optimization is not enough. To prove this I went into the golden image and did some digging.
Damn you OneDrive, stealing all my CPU power. Not great when you’re handling a logon storm at 09:00 AM. So I set out to uninstall it, turns out; that’s not enough it’s actually part of the Active setup and will trigger again during a user’s logon. To definitely get rid of it I’ve Uninstalled via control panel, Set a Policy and deleted some registry keys.
Additionally I’ve noticed that there are new policies available for Windows 10 1809, you can’t get them from the Microsoft website just yet, but you can always copy them from your 1809 machine to the machine where you want to edit them (you can find them in the c:\windows\policydefinitions\ folder). I’ve disabled a couple of Microsoft Edge features, and the new Defender Anti-virus policies.
Having completed these actions I kicked of the automation in our lab to do some performance tests with Login VSI and I’m happy to report that my VSImax shot back up to a 120. Still not what I’d expected it to be at but definitely an improvement to where we started.
So now what?
I believe it’s actually quite simple, the EUC community is always helping each other, so I’ve got a proposal. Why don’t we work together to get Windows 10 1809 to perform equal or better than 1803. How? Simple: In the comment section below you can suggest things for me to tune, I’ll go over them with our team of performance experts and put them through the test. Once that is done it’s only a matter of time before the CTXO and OSOT teams implement this in their tuning products so we can all enjoy automated performance tuning again.
- To help you out: I’ve got a few things:
We encourage you to submit your ideas and suggestions in the comment section to help others get the biggest improvements!
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About the company Login VSI
The company Login VSI provides end-user performance insights for virtualized desktop and server based computing environments. Enterprise IT departments use flagship product Login VSI (for load testing) and new addition Login PI (for continuity testing) in all phases of their virtual desktop deployment—from planning to deployment to change management—to build and safeguard a good performance, a high availability, and (as a result) a good and consistent end-user experience. For more information about Login VSI or for a free test license contact us.