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What are Hard Faults per Second?

written by: Lamar Stonecypheredited by: J. F. Amprimozupdated: 5/31/211

Are hi!h "#$ and hard dri%e uti&ization '&owin! your (indow' #" to a craw&) *ou+%e 'tarted up
,-e'ource .onitor, and are 'urpri'ed at the number o/ ,hard /au&t'/'ec, tic0in! by. 1' thi' the
bott&enec0) (hat are hard /au&t' per 'econd anyway2 and how many o/ them i' too many)
S&u!!i'h #" per/ormance may ha%e &ed you to 'tart the (indow' -e'ource .onitor /rom 3a'0
.ana!er or the -e&iabi&ity and #er/ormance .onitor /rom Admini'trati%e 3oo&' in "ontro& #ane&.
3here2 you ob'er%ed a hi!h uti&ization rate in both the "#$ and the hard dri%e2 and a 'ection &abe&ed
,.emory, i' 'howin! dozen' 4or maybe5 hundred' o/ hard /au&t' per 'econd. (hat are hard /au&t')
Are they re'pon'ib&e /or your #"+' '&ow per/ormance) 6ow many o/ them are too many2 and what
can you do about it)
Hard Fault vs. Page Fault
Fir't o/ a&&2 a ,hard /au&t, wa' pre%iou'&y ca&&ed a ,pa!e /au&t, in ear&ier %er'ion' o/ (indow'.
#erhap' pa!e /au&t' were more ea'i&y under'tood /rom the name2 too. A hard /au&t happen' when the
addre'' in memory o/ part o/ a pro!ram i' no &on!er in main memory2 but ha' been in'tead 'wapped
out to the pa!in! /i&e2 ma0in! the 'y'tem !o &oo0in! /or it on the hard di'0. (hen thi' happen' a &ot2
it cau'e' '&owdown' and increa'ed hard di'0 acti%ity. (hen it happen' an aw/u& &ot2 the po''ibi&ity
o/ hard di'0 thra'hin! ari'e'. 3hat+' when a pro!ram 'top' re'pondin!2 but the hard dri%e continue'
to run /or an e7tended period. 3hi' ha' hi'torica&&y been re/erred to a' ,!ettin! into the pa!e /i&e.,
1n thi' era o/ re&ati%e&y &ar!e memory2 with mo't #"' ha%in! a !i!abyte o/ main memory or more2
hard dri%e thra'hin! and the prob&em o/ !ettin! into the pa!e or 'wappin! /i&e ha' become rare.
6owe%er2 it+' not impo''ib&e /or a 8i'ta computer with &imited re'ource' 4too many pro!ram'
runnin! at a time5 to be ma0in! a pro!ram read data continua&&y to and /rom the hard di'0. 9ach
time thi' happen'2 it+' a hard /au&t. A hi!h number per 'econd 'u!!e't' that 'omethin! i' runnin!
%ery '&ow&y.
Memory Management in Vista
Let+' &oo0 more c&o'e&y at how memory mana!ement in 8i'ta wor0'. (hen an app&ication run'2 it
doe' not u'e a&& o/ it' a&&ocated memory at the 'ame time. Some o/ the memory pa!e' a!e. Some o/
them are modi/ied be/ore they are 'wapped. 3he memory mana!er 0eep' up with which were
modi/ied2 which were :u't 'wapped becau'e they are unu'ed2 and where they are in memory or in
the 'wap /i&e. 3he ob:ecti%e i' to 0eep memory turnin! o%er in order to minimize 4much '&ower5
hard dri%e acti%ity. 3hu'2 u'in! the 'wap /i&e i' :u't part o/ norma& operation' in 8i'ta.
;ut what i/ per/ormance rea&&y i' &ou'y and the entire 'y'tem i' bo!!ed down) 1' it time to worry
about too many hard /au&t') .aybe. A hi!h number o/ hard /au&t'2 accompanied by hi!h di'0
acti%ity2 'u!!e't' that one or more pro!ram' you+re runnin! wou&d bene/it /rom ha%in! more -A.
in'ta&&ed. *ou cou&d a&'o try mo%in! your 'wap /i&e 4pa!e/i&e.'y'5 to another interna& hard dri%e 4not
to another partition on the 'ame hard dri%e5. 3hi' may pro%ide a bene/it in that (indow' can acce''
the pa!e /i&e more <uic0&y i/ it i' not /i!htin! a pro!ram tryin! to continuou'&y read data /rom the
'ame hard dri%e.
A&'o ma0e 'ure that your pa!e /i&e i' &ar!e enou!h. A 'ize a &itt&e &ar!er than in'ta&&ed -A. wor0'
%ery we&&. 43oo 'ma&& a pa!e /i&e can de/inite&y cau'e a &ot o/ pa!e /au&t'.5
Managing the Page File - Manual or Automatic?
1n 8i'ta or (indow' =2 to chec0 the pa!e /i&e 'ize2 pre'' the (indow' button on the 0eyboard or
c&ic0 the Start orb and type in ,'y'tem., 1n the 'earch re'u&t' at the top2 c&ic0 the item that 'imp&y
'ay' ,Sy'tem., 3hi' i' a 'hortcut to Start > "ontro& #ane& > Sy'tem. "&ic0 ,Ad%anced Sy'tem
Settin!', and then c&ic0 the ,Ad%anced, tab. 1n the ,#er/ormance, area2 c&ic0 on ,Settin!'., 1n the
re'u&tin! dia&o!2 you 'hou&d 'ee your pa!e /i&e 'ize under ,8irtua& memory.,
1n (indow' ?#2 ri!ht@c&ic0 ,.y "omputer, and 'e&ect ,#ropertie'., 3hen c&ic0 ,Ad%anced, and
/o&&ow the 'ame 'tep' a' in 8i'ta.
Shou&d you &et (indow' ,automatica&&y mana!e the pa!in! /i&e 'ize /or a&& dri%e'), 3here are pro'
and con' in%o&%ed. An ad%anta!e o/ (indow' hand&in! it i' that you won+t run out o/ pa!e /i&e
un&e'' you run out o/ hard dri%e 'pace. A di'ad%anta!e i' that a %ariab&e /i&e2 un&i0e a /i7ed@'ize /i&e2
may become /ra!mented and cau'e e%en more hard dri%e acti%ity. A/ cour'e2 i/ (indow' run' out o/
'wap 'pace in a /i7ed@'ized /i&e2 it may prompt&y cra'h.
An my #"2 1 ha%e three interna& hard dri%e'. Ane i' a 4/a'ter5 one 3; dri%e2 and another i' a 5 B;
dri%e that (indow' run' /rom. 1 decided that 1 didn+t want a 'wap /i&e on the ": dri%e at a&&2 but 1
didn+t mind (indow' hand&in! the 'wap /i&e automatica&&y on the other dri%e. So 1 un'e&ected
,Automatica&&y mana!e pa!in! /i&e 'ize /or a&& dri%e', and then c&ic0ed the ": dri%e. 3hen 1 c&ic0ed
,Co pa!in! /i&e, and ,Set., 1 did the 'ame /or the 'econd hard dri%e. Fina&&y2 1 c&ic0ed the one 3;
dri%e 1 p&anned to u'e2 c&ic0ed ,Sy'tem mana!ed /i&e 'ize, and ,Set.,
For that dri%e2 ,8irtua& .emory, i' 'howin! a' -ecommended: DD11 .; and "urrent&y A&&ocated:
32D1 .;. 43he #" ha' 3 B; o/ -A..5
1/ you pre/er to manua&&y mana!e your 'wap /i&e 'ize2 try ma0in! it about 15E &ar!er than your
amount o/ -A..
More on the Name hange
So addin! more memory and mo%in! or en&ar!in! the 'wap /i&e are po'iti%e 'tep' that can be ta0en
when there are too many hard /au&t' per 'econd. Seein! i/ there+' an update /or the pro!ram cau'in!
the bott&enec0 may he&p2 too.
;ut &et+' &oo0 at the imp&ication o/ .icro'o/t+' chan!in! the name /rom ,pa!e /au&t, to ,hard /au&t.F
3here are actua&&y three &ocation' that item' in memory can be in. Ane i' in memory. Ane i' on the
hard dri%e in the 'wap /i&e2 and the third i' in the ,memory cache., 3he cache i' ba'ica&&y a 'ma&&
poo& o/ the mo't recent&y u'ed ,pa!e'., 3he'e !et to han! around in -A. /or a whi&e. 1/ unu'ed2
they are mo%ed out to di'0. (hen a pro!ram re<ue't' the content o/ a certain item /rom memory2 i/
it+' in main -A.2 the pro!ram !et' it %ery <uic0&y. 1/ it i' in the cache2 becau'e it+' a memory@to@
memory tran'/er2 the pro!ram 'ti&& !et' it <uic0&y. 3hi' i' ca&&ed a ,'o/t pa!e /au&t., 3he thin! to
bear in mind i' that thi' tran'/er i' very /a't@ much /a'ter than readin! the content /rom the hard
dri%e@ 'o it can be con'idered a beni!n part o/ the operation o/ a pa!ed memory 'y'tem. 6owe%er2 i/
the needed pa!e i' no &on!er in the cache2 (indow' !oe' huntin! it in the 'wap /i&e2 and thi' i' a
,hard /au&t, or ,hard pa!e /au&t.,
.icro'o/t doe'n+t want u' to worry our pretty &itt&e head' about the 'o/t 'tu//2 'o they don+t te&& u'
about it anymore.