Dude where's my PFE?

I am a Premier Field Engineer (PFE) for Microsoft.

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  • Blog Post: DPC triangle…

    So once upon a time, a PFE had a problem with his video game stuttering.  The game would be playing fine and then suddenly, the sound would skip until he rebooted his PC.  Nothing in the event log, device manager reports all good… So we collected an xperf trace using the following flags: xperf...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: How to collect a netmon 3.4 and xperf kernel trace and stop when a problem occurs.

    <updated 7.29.2013 for updated NETSH and WPR commands, thanks Carl Luberti!> So at a customer location the following question was posed to me: “In our VDI environment, how do we capture trace information? How can we set a capture for the network and xperf the user can start (or logon...
  • Blog Post: How to collect a trace for audio or video problems in Windows 7

    Assume the following:  You have a Windows 7 host that you want to collect a trace from.  The user complains of audio issues, stuttering, latency, etc…or video frame rate is low.  Something annoying. Like my previous post, lets cover a few basic rules here as we get started: 1.  If...
  • Blog Post: Disk in-Depth

    I started an article on Disk performance and characteristics for the PFE Performance Wiki a while back.  I had actually forgotten about it (those who know me know my memory is Swiss Cheese sometimes).  Anyway, here is a link to the article: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents...
  • Blog Post: PAL 2.3.1 released!

    Why?  VMware template.  Awwww yeah, the Dude strike again.  If you are running in VMware, we can capture the memory ballooning driver and real processor util in the guest and publish it to a PAL report.   This release delivers! http://pal.codeplex.com/
  • Blog Post: Today’s (Cloud) Tip…Performance Guidance for SQL Server in Windows Azure Virtual Machines

    Post courtesy of Evan Basalik One of the most resource intensive applications you can run on Windows is SQL Server. To some extent, this is demonstrated by the vast amounts of performance guidance and troubleshooting documents that exist all over the web. When running SQL Server in an Azure Virtual Machine...
  • Blog Post: How to setup a rolling 200 meg log file in 2003 with a PAL template that sustains reboots

    1.  Get a PAL template or other perfmon template.  You can run PAL at pal.codeplex.com or use one created for you by CTS or another party. Simply open PAL, go to the “Threshold File” tab at the top, and Export the template by clicking “Export to Perfmon Template”.  Note to save it as a...
  • Blog Post: How to collect a good boot trace on Windows 7

    Assume the following: You have a Windows 7 host that you want to collect a trace from. A good trace. One that you know other people will be able to decipher as well as yourself. Maybe I’ve asked you to collect a boot trace so I can look at it and pointed you to this blog. Maybe your Sherpa of IT...
  • Blog Post: SPA, not your typical freeware

    In the Vital Signs workshop, we touch upon the tool SPA (Server Performance Advisor). This unsung hero of performance evaluation deserves some love, which is why I'm writing about it over 5 years after its last update was published and made available on the downloads site, here: http://www.microsoft...
  • Blog Post: The effects of Acoustic Management on rotational media disks.

    So one of the trends I’ve been seeing in WDRAPs I’ve performed is that companies are making use of older hardware for newer tasks on a much more frequent basis than before. Budgets seem to mandate a 4-5 year (or longer) pc recycle timeframe and the net result of this is companies are running...
  • Blog Post: The Dude’s Greatest Hits

    As requested by several customers, I’m putting up a list of tools I find useful in troubleshooting, etc… First up…. Data Gathering I use the following tools to gather data from systems.  Each has its own place, much like a mechanic has many tools, so does the average engineer… PFE MPS Reports . ...
  • Blog Post: Boot delay in MOM 2005 Agent - notes from the field

    Mom2005 agent for FCS v1 can slow boot times by around 20 seconds (typically)... So I did a WDRAP recently where part of their slow boot experience was related to FCS. It's not FCS's fault though, it rides on top of the old MOM 2005 health agent. Oddly enough, the MOM 2005 health agent, in the registry...
  • Blog Post: 33 Seconds lost at boot…

    Imagine you are an enterprise customer who has several thousand desktops that boot slow.  Inordinately slow…slow enough that your user base resists requests to reboot them for patch cycle or power savings efforts or diagnostics. So imagine you do the right thing, you keep the BIOS and firmware up...
  • Blog Post: How to sustain your data collector set through a reboot!

    This is a special post, from the Microsoft Premier Field Engineers (PFE) Vital Signs Instructors alias…something we felt should be shared. If you had noticed, it’s difficult to sustain a data collector set in Perfmon for 2008 R2 through a reboot, so it automatically starts after the reboot.  Well...
  • Blog Post: Introducing Windows Server 2012 Free e-book available

    I highly recommend giving this a read so you are ready for Windows Server 2012.  The dude had a hand in proofing the book and even has a sidebar on page 25 on performance monitoring.  Give it a read, rumor has it there may be some floating around at TechEd Orlando and Amsterdam as well… PDF...
  • Blog Post: Yet another xperf analysis post

    Pump up the volume, Pump up the volume… Slow Boot: Yep, that’s slow.  Clearly not in CPU usage though…what about disk? Nope (the dude knows nothing about this trace except he (when looking at it the first time) named it ROFLCOPTER)…. So basically the system hangs at boot from 30 second mark through...
  • Blog Post: What does a good boot look like (aka, what should I be happy with)?

    It’s a question I wasn’t prepared for in class last week, but one that made sense really.  For the IT Pro that doesn’t eat breath and sleep this stuff, what does a good or ‘fair’ trace look like? Something like this: What we are looking at here is a boot up that finishes before 45 seconds, with...
  • Blog Post: What is Windows Performance Analyzer all about and why should you use it instead of xperfview?

    Consider the following trace in xperfview: This should be familiar to you, it’s the DPC storm / storport doorbell that looks like this: So how does this trace look in WPA from the Windows 8 ADK (RP edition)? A little different, but the Dude isn’t closed minded here, so lets give it a whirl: Observe. ...
  • Blog Post: 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 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2775511 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 http...
  • Blog Post: RunAsRadio.com

    I just realized I forgot to link to my xperf into talk on RunAsRadio.com back in October.  Boy is my face red… http://www.runasradio.com/default.aspx?showNum=182 Check out their podcasts, it’s a great repository of technical information!
  • Blog Post: The dude does xperf…

    So the Dude (that’s me) has gone over how to collect xperf traces a few times now, but what do we do after we’ve collected a solid .etl file you may ask?  Well, that’s what this post is all about.  This is how the Dude does it.  The Dude you see is listening to Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd...
  • Blog Post: When an Exchange Server doesn’t Exchange…

    “Well the high sheriff, told his deputy, won’t you go out and bring my Lazarus?” Why am I quoting the Po Lazarus tune, the opening song of “O Brother Where Art Thou?” when I’m supposed to be talking about the Exchange Server that doesn’t?  It’s the Chewbacca defense!  This Exchange Server is...
  • Blog Post: Windows 8 ADK solves GPO Logon Delay questions, film at 11….

    Symptoms: Logons take forever and you’ve collected an xbootmgr/WPR/xperf123/xperfui trace. What GPO can it be? Easy! Open Windows Performance Analyzer from the Windows 8 ADK: Open Said Offending Trace: Expand…System Activity and then find the Generic Events, click and...
  • Blog Post: Ladies and Gentleman (and low lifes), it is with outstanding pleasure tonight that I am able to present to you, the reader, with an xperf trace….

    For those who didn’t yet know, the Dude is a fan of old school rap.  So one of these days, not much to do, I was chillin with my old school crew and I ran into a slow boot scenario… (Yes, I am in fact listening to Mona Lisa by Slick Rick the Ruler!) So I’m not picky, let me share this trace out...