Category Archives: Investigative Reporting

Why Modern Software is Slow–Windows Voice Recorder

I apologize for this title because there are many things that can make modern software slow. Blindly applying one explanation without a bit of investigation is the software equivalent of a cargo cult. That said, this post describes one example … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, uiforetw, xperf | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

Slower Memory Zeroing Through Parallelism

While investigating some performance mysteries in Chrome I discovered that Microsoft had parallelized how they zero memory, and in some cases this was making it a lot slower. This slowdown may be mitigated in Windows 11 but in the latest … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, uiforetw | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Determinism Bugs, Part Two, Kernel32.dll

It was literally the day after I cracked the __FILE__ determinism bug that I hit a completely different build determinism issue. I was asked to investigate why the Chrome build number reported for Chrome crashes on Windows 11 was lagging … Continue reading

Posted in Bugs, Chromium, Computers and Internet, Investigative Reporting, Programming, Symbols | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Finding Windows HANDLE leaks, in Chromium and others

Three years ago I found a 32 GB memory leak caused by CcmExec.exe failing to close process handles. That bug is fixed, but ever since then I have had the handles column in  Windows Task Manager enabled, just in case … Continue reading

Posted in Bugs, Code Reliability, Investigative Reporting, uiforetw, xperf | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Arranging Invisible Icons in Quadratic Time

Near the end of January I was pointed to a twitter thread where a Windows user with a powerful machine was hitting random hangs in explorer. Lots of unscientific theories were being proposed. I don’t generally do random analysis of … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, Programming, Quadratic, Rants, Symbols | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Windows Timer Resolution: The Great Rule Change

The behavior of the Windows scheduler changed significantly in Windows 10 2004 (aka, the April 2020 version of Windows), in a way that will break a few applications, and there appears to have been no announcement, and the documentation has … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Investigative Reporting, Performance, Rants | Tagged , | 66 Comments

What Outranks Thread Priority?

This investigation started, as so many of mine do, with me minding my own business, not looking for trouble. In this case all I was doing was opening my laptop lid and trying to log on. The first few times … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, uiforetw, xperf | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

O(n^2), again, now in WMI

I recently hit some multi-minute delays on my workstation. After investigating I found that the problem was due to a lock being held for five minutes, and during that time the lock-holder was mostly just spinning in a nine-instruction loop. … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Programming, Quadratic, Rants, uiforetw, xperf | Tagged , , , , | 23 Comments

63 Cores Blocked by Seven Instructions

I seem to have a habit of writing about super powerful machines whose many cores are laid low by misuse of locks. So. Yeah. It’s that again. But this one seems particularly impressive. I mean, how often do you have … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, Programming, Quadratic, uiforetw, xperf | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Taskbar Latency and Kernel Calls

I work quickly on my computer and I get frustrated when I am forced to wait on an operation that should be fast. A persistent nuisance on my over-powered home laptop is that closing windows on the taskbar is slow. … Continue reading

Posted in Investigative Reporting, Performance, uiforetw, xperf | Tagged , , , | 33 Comments