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Other Extremely Low Photoshop Performance in XP

Discussion in 'Software' started by Unicorn, 4 Nov 2013.

  1. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    I have a customer who is still editing on an old XP machine using CS4, and they have asked me to try and speed up the machine because Photoshop and Bridge are extremely slow at loading files or applying filters and effects to images. The core spec is acceptable for a 5-6 year old machine:

    C2Q Q6700 (which I overclocked to 3GHz)
    4GB RAM (3.25GB usable)
    Geforce 9500GT
    1TB Seagate boot disk (new earlier this year)
    2TB Seagate backup/storage disk (also new earlier this year)
    Windows XP 32 bit.

    I have already done all the usual 30 minute XP cleanup tasks like cleaning the registry, deleting unnecessary junk files, a full system virus and malware scan etc. The system itself is running fine, but Bridge and Photoshop are still extremely slow - so slow you couldn't edit one photo never mind a whole album without wanting to throw the machine through the closest window.

    I've already advised that an upgrade to Windows 7 before April next year is a good idea, as well as advising the removal of the two abysmal Seagate disks at that time (I benched them... they are pathetic) and replacement with a boot SSD and a faster 3TB mechanical for storage. They have agreed to that and probably an entirely new system which I will be providing and supporting, consigning the old XP system to web and email duties in their home office.

    What's bugging me is why Bridge and PS are so slow compared with how they used to run on almost exactly the same system. I'm almost convinced that it has something to do with Adobe application settings more than the overall state of the OS which is in the best state it can be, barring a re-install. Are the Adobe application settings or a massive build up of application data causing this?
     
    Last edited: 4 Nov 2013
  2. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    You don't mention what sized of photos? Is it a new high MP camera?

    You also don't mention anything about whether the RAM is getting maxed out and how much is being thrashed to and from disk?
     
  3. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    It's a 5D MKII, she shoots in RAW so the files are obviously very large, but this is a very new problem. It was fine until a couple of weeks ago.
     
  4. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    I see that its old software but are Adobe still maintaining it with updates and patches?
     
  5. Kovoet

    Kovoet New Member

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    Cs4 is very slow in the first place and remembering xp doesn't read more than I think it 3.5 gb of ram. Only from cs5 did it start speeding up. I had cs 4 not for very long as I also found it very slow
     
  6. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    AFAIK they are still supporting it with updates and patches because it now supports GPU screen redraw operations which I'm not sure it did before - application updates are one thing I need to confirm but it should be up to date. This is a very new problem. She has been editing on the machine in question for 5 years now and it has never demonstrated this issue.

    As far as scratch disks and memory usage go, yes CS4 is maxing out the memory whilst working on large files and the scratch disk settings allow the use of both the backup/storage volume and the boot volume, but as I've said, both mechanical disks are pathetically slow. I have benchmarks from both stored on the machine itself, I'll remote into it later and post them here so you can see. Again though, this problem is brand new, the machine has been completely usable for what we believe is five years now, and the disk change earlier this year was only to increase storage capacity. For the record, I didn't do that work. They are about the last disks on the planet that I would have chosen for this application.
     
    Last edited: 4 Nov 2013
  7. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    What I was suggesting was that an update or new feature could be a responsible for the slow down, since the whole setup is old and outdated. Perhaps there are a few restore points you could look at and see if anything updated in the last few weeks.
     
  8. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Yes that had occurred to me when you mentioned updates. I'm saying the same thing - it should be up to date so it's quite possible that a recent update has impacted performance.
     
  9. deathtaker27

    deathtaker27 #noob

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    it does have a static page file, and disks are not set to slow down after x mins?
     
  10. tuk

    tuk Don't Tase Me, Bro!

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    If rolling back doesn't work or you cant go back far enough:

    Devise some kind of processing test using her RAW files, then completely re-install XP, running the processing test between updates to check for the extremely low photoshop performance.
     
  11. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Yes the system has a static page file and nothing in either the BIOS or OS is slowing down or affecting performance of the disks in any way.

    That's my next course of action if I can't resolve it with the methods already mentioned - I was also considering a full fresh install of XP and CS4 on an old SATA II SSD just to demonstrate the performance difference between the current disks and modern storage. I should note that "low Photoshop performance" isn't strictly true - it's low Performance in Photoshop. I haven't yet confirmed that PS itself is to blame although it's looking more and more likely.
     
    Last edited: 4 Nov 2013
  12. tuk

    tuk Don't Tase Me, Bro!

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    How can we explain everything being fine a few weeks ago tho?

    Is PS set to update automatically in the background? ...if so check the update log on the PS website to see if anything has changed in the last few weeks.

    If nothing has changed and you've not tried already ..re-install PS? ..or if something has changed then re-install PS and test before/after applying the new patches.
     
  13. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Well yes, that's true but you know... Innocent until proven guilty and all that.

    Adobe application updates are likely on auto, I'm not certain though. The machine is in a studio 25 miles away and I do have permitted remote access for support, but I think the photographer is out on a shoot today and the machine is not running.

    I have not yet tried to reinstall PS, that will be one of the things I'll try if the other options don't pan out. I will need some guidance on backing up and migrating PS application settings though, as this photographer has lots of custom filters etc installed and a completely custom workspace layout.
     
  14. tuk

    tuk Don't Tase Me, Bro!

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    You might want to consider cloning the entire drive before you start ..that way, worst case scenario, you can put it back the way you found it.
     
  15. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    That was done when it was in my workshop at the end of last week (mandatory for all machines that come through the door) and the image is still on my server :thumb:
     
  16. Kovoet

    Kovoet New Member

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    Bud never put adobe on auto as they do tend to send rubbish now and then
     
  17. Unicorn

    Unicorn Uniform November India

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    Here's an update on this and a request for more advice - the page file was set to system managed on the boot drive, I have now changed that to the XP maximum of 4096MB. One major development is that this is an intermittent issue - it works fine for a few images processed and then all of a sudden, takes 5+ minutes to apply an action or filter to an image and remains like that the rest of the day, killing all productivity. The filter pack in use is the Google Nik Collection.

    Disk benchmarks:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I also noticed this discrepancy in the amount of RAM that Photoshop has available to use compared with the installed total according to DirectX Diagnostic tool:

    [​IMG]

    Although as far as Adobe are concerned that seems like normal behaviour for a 32 bit application and does make sense.

    Also possibly worth mentioning, I noticed for only about the 5th time in my years of supporting Windows XP the "Task Manager has been disabled by your Administrator" error when this isn't a managed/restricted machine, fixed instantly using the registry key:

    Code:
    REG add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v DisableTaskMgr /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
    That re-enabled it but what worries me is that it was disabled by some spyware, but my virus and spyware scans turned up nothing.
     
    Last edited: 5 Nov 2013
  18. tuk

    tuk Don't Tase Me, Bro!

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    Assuming everything was fine a few weeks ago you don't want to really mess with current os settings too much, unless you have reason to suspect the page file has been reconfigured in the last few weeks.

    Try this:

    Put the page file back to normal size then delete the page file, which will basically format the page file & test, if not resolved, then increase new PF to 4096MB & test again.


    1. Right click on "My Computer" and then click "Properties".

    2. On the resulting "System Properties" window, click on the "Advanced" tab and then the "Settings" button for "Performance".

    3. On the "Performance Options" window, click the "Advanced" tab and then the "Change" button in the "Virtual Memory" section.

    4. Click on the C: drive and then click on the option for "No paging file" and then hit "Set".

    5. Click "OK" all the way back out and Restart the system. You should find the pagefile.sys file is gone.

    6. Re-enable page file & reboot
     
  19. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Whitelist Bit-Tech in your adblock!

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    Page file stuff is worth a try, but I'm still siding with team "Blame Photoshop Updates" on this one, as it just seems more likely. The customer wouldn't have changed any system settings, would she?

    Are there any other processes drawing attention when this happens, besides photoshop? Anything with high I/O activity or CPU usage? Is photoshop maxing out the CPU during the slowdown?

    Anything else hogging disk activity, like a realtime scanner, would be an obvious culprit. Though I can't imagine why that would suddenly become a problem overnight.

    edit 06/11/13:

    I don't know why I or anyone else didn't think of this sooner, but have you checked the HDDs' health lately? Sudden, app-specific slowdown is exactly what you'd expect from bad sectors on the drive...
     
    Last edited: 6 Nov 2013
  20. FaeLLe

    FaeLLe New Member

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    Did you try defragment your hard drive (unless you use an SSD)?

    The page file could be getting scattered all over the place resulting in increased seek time latency.
     

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