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below is a question I posted on stackoverflow . as suggested by Martin Clarke I also post it here.

We have a really strange problem. One of the servers in the server farm becomes really slow. We see a number of timeouts in the logs and overall response time is not where it should be (and is on other servers in the farm).

What is also strange is that it is not just the web app - Just logging into the server takes up to 1.5 min to show you the desktop. Once you are in, the system is as responsive as ever - unless you try to launch something, i.e. notepad - it takes another minute to launch and after launch it works fine.

I checked a number of things - memory utilization is reasonable, CPU is below 15%, windows handles, event logs do not show anything.

Recycling the process does not fix it - it still takes over a minute to log in. Rebooting the server helped, but now it started to slow down again.

After a closer look we found out that Windows Temp directory is full of temp files - over 65k files. This is certainly something to take care of. But my question is could it be the root cause of the sluggishness, or there is still something else lurking in the shadows?


After more digging I am zeroing in on the issue related to the size of temp directories. This article: (see the original post this thing will not let me include a second link) describes something very similar. It still does not answer the question why the server is still slow even there is no activity.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Ok, It is official, all of this was grief caused by this issue. When one of our servers was again behaving badly we cleaned the temp directory and it fixed the problem, including the slow login.

This last part still baffles me - I do not understand how excessive number of files in a temp directory can cause login to take over 1 min, leave alone launching a program, but whatever it is clearing the directory fixed it and I can live with it.

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My guess is that disk access is the problem. Slow login and slow application start suggest that. Check with the performance monitor (use the disk counters) and with process monitor to track down what process cause this disk access.

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Unfortunately I have reasons to believe that it is not so. See my edit for more info. – mfeingold Nov 10 '09 at 22:19

Are you logging in locally or through remote desktop? If from a remote desktop, it may be a network setting. I've seen this a few times with the Chimney TCP settings. Broadcom's NIC, for example, has problems with that setting. Try turning that off and seeing if it addresses your issue:

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From what I read in the article you are referring to it only applies to Windows 2008. We are still on the Windows 2003 SP2 – mfeingold Nov 10 '09 at 22:18
It was actually worse in Windows Server 2003 SP2. That's what it was first introduced by default. That article is how to do it, but likely doesn't give the full picture. – Scott Forsyth - MVP Nov 11 '09 at 0:54

You mentioned temp files. Have you verified that debug is not enabled in the web.config? This is a not uncommon performance killer. When debug is enabled, there are copious amounts of extra files created in the temp folders.

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Are all these servers identical in HW & SW. Do they have the same set of SERVICES (in automatic mode)

Try disabling the IIS service & emptying the /temp folder - when your server is running slow.

Im sure these 3 servers are load balanced and the other 2 will kick-in to share load.

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Yes they are identical – mfeingold Nov 11 '09 at 5:06

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