Windows Slowdown, Investigated and Identified

Random ASCII

I recently noticed that my Windows 7 home laptop was running slower than usual. It seemed to be spending a lot of time waiting on disk I/O. When I looked at Task Manager it showed that my laptop was caching about one fifth as much disk data as normal, but the cause of this was not obvious.

Part of my job at Valve is to be a performance expert – to investigate both mundane and esoteric performance problems. So when I realized that I had a serious and systemic problem I knuckled down and brought all the tools of my trade to bear, and ultimately I found the culprit.

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