10 Minor Tweaks To Enhance Windows Server Performance

After months of usage and tons of data being stored on your servers, you begin notice a slow rot in performance. Here are 10 Windows server tips that would help you improve your Windows server performance.

  1. Use an Exclusive Pagefile Drive

This is one tweak that will give you that the largest increase in server performance. A “Pagefile” is a system file that is automatically created as a form of virtual memory. Since Windows makes frequent use of this file, it is highly recommended that you place it on a dedicated drive, as opposed to a dedicated volume. Doing this makes sure that your server no longer has to wait for other applications to finish using your sever hard drive, before being able to read the pagefile data.

  1. Find and Plug Memory Leaks

Memory leaks are mostly caused by badly written or poorly tested products. By default, applications are required to send memory back to the operating system once it’s done using it. But applications that suffer from memory leak may sometime retain the memory even after it’s done using it. So logically, the app will request more memory from your OS the next time it runs, rather than using the memory it has already occupied. In the long run, this significantly reduces the amount of memory that Windows can afford to expend. As you access the leaking application(s) the long term effects of memory leakage could eventually cripple performance.

  1. Use NTFS

The New Technology File System (NTFS) might be the default file system for all servers, but offers support for FAT and FAT-32 file systems as well. Even Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) Certification training books always recommend using the NTFS file system for the simple reason that it is the most secure file system out there. Another critical reason for preference for NTFS systems that rarely gets mentioned is that itis a transaction-based system, which means that it enjoys improvements in speed and security, compared to FAT-file systems.

  1. Avoid 16-bit Apps

It’s obvious that a 64-bit Windows OS cannot execute 16-bit applications so avoiding 16-bit applications on a 64-bit operating systems is typically a non-issue. However, 32-bit Windows operating systems can run 16-bit app, but at the cost of efficiency, because Windows uses independent multitasking models for 16, 32, and 64-bit applications, it’s pretty safe to say that running 16-bit apps will reduce server performance.

  1. Defragment your Hard disk

Just like the hard drive in a personal computer, modern server hard drives can read data at high speeds when reading sequential data, but they are also prone to lag and reduced performance when they need to read data from random locations. Routinely defragging your disk drive will ensure that your data blocks are stored sequentially rather than at random locations, improving overall file-reading efficiently.

  1. Uninstall Rarely-accessed Utilities

Every server comes with a myriad of logging, monitoring and debugging utilities, half of which you would have never accessed. Disk space on servers is sensitive and limited, and having apps or utilities that you almost-never use just wastes your server’s resources. Remove any files and system utilities that you don’t access, and you’re bound to notice improvement in performance.

  1. Disable Rarely-used Services

As a service routine, you should go through your server’s ‘Service Control Manager,’ and disable the services that you don’t use, or don’t work well with your server. Doing this will not only increase your server’s performance, but will also enhance security as your systems will be running on a reduced number of services. This means that the smaller digital footprint will reduce the overall vulnerability of your Windows sever.

  1. Don’t forget to Log off

This is, by far, one of the simplest way to ensure that your Windows server constantly operates at optimal performance. You can save tons of memory and CPU resources by simply logging off from your server, when it’s not in use. Logging off has two benefits – it enhances security, while improving performance. Logging off from your server when your console is inactive works as an added layer of server security.

  1. Adjust Server Response

Servers and desktops share a lot of the basic fundamentals of storage and execution; in fact one of the few differences is that server applications aren’t executed from the server console. In such a case, optimizing your sever to prioritize background apps will most-likely improve overall performance.

  1. Hard Disk Compression

It might seem that there’s no longer a need to compress hard disks because of the introduction of the cloud. But recent findings have proven that hard disk compression could enhance performance. You already know that your hard drives is the slowest component in your server system, and that compressing your hard disk will not only reduce the burden or server resources, but will also reduce the amount of time your server takes to read files from the hard disk. However, hard disk compression isn’t going to work in every situation, and usually makes sense in cases where you’re running a disk-based app that depends on numerous individual files.

These tips are some Windows server-optimization best practices and might not make a significant difference on their own, but can considerably improve server performance when used collectively.

Author: Rahul Sharma