Vista Running Slow - Check Preferred DNS Server
Windows Vista Running Slow - Check Preferred DNS Server
My advice on speeding up Vista is aimed primarily at those who have a reasonable spec machine. I imagine this to be the situation, you have installed Vista without problem, but you are disappointed because it is running slowly, and, or programs hang. In a nutshell, you would expect XP to run faster on that particular hardware.
Topics For Vista - Running Slow
1a) Machine Specification - Reasonable will Support Aero Graphics
Let me amplify what I mean by a reasonable spec machine.
1b) Machine Spec - Unreasonable will not even run the Basic Vista Edition
2) Clean, New Installation of Vista -v- Upgrade from XP
Choose a clean installation, avoid upgrading from XP. If you MUST upgrade, then download the Vista Upgrade Advisor and then obey every single instruction. If the Upgrade Advisor says remove software, or upgrade hardware, then obey. You cannot pick and choose, you must comply in full, or else your upgrade to Vista will result in poor performance.
3) Obtain The Latest Drivers - DriverQuery
To help you check the version of your drivers check with DriverQuery.
Now it's over to you and research the driver manufacturer's site for the latest version.
When I booted Vista everything worked fine, Windows Explorer opened in about 2 seconds, just as fast as it launched in XP. However, after about 30 minutes the same explorer based activities suffered an excruciating 20 second delay. Other symptoms included delay a when opening files. Applications such as Word and Excel would hang for 30 seconds, or more, when you asked them to open a file. Moreover, the delay was consistent and reproducible.
I checked Vista's Task Manager. CPU activity was low, and there was only one instance of explorer. My conclusion: there was no suspicious virus activity, and certainly there was no program hogging the processor.
Sleep and Hibernation
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When I discovered that DNS configuration was the root cause of Vista running slow and hanging, I was simultaneously relieved and embarrassed. Quite why DNS server configuration caused my explorer to hang, I have yet to discover, all that I can say is that the following actions cured my problem.
My situation was this; the Vista machine had joined a domain. I began with basic TCP/IP troubleshooting techniques. All machines were on the standard 192.168.1 local network. Machine 22.214.171.124.200 was a Windows Server 2003 machine, which had been successfully providing local DNS information to XP machines for two years.
Ping from the Vista machine
Ping 192.168.1.200 --> Good quick response from the server's IP
Ping ServerName OK
Ping servername.domain.com - Nothing. Hmm alarm bells, this could be a DNS configuration problem.
Where I went wrong, or where Vista behaves differently, is that Ping servername.domain.com worked from the XP machines. I have not exhausted this line of research, instead I focused on re-configuring TCP/IP Properties, DNS settings.
One complication was that my that each XP machines correctly obtained its IP address from the DHCP server, whereas the Vista machines got their IP address from an intelligent router / hub. However, even when I disabled DHCP on the router, the problem persisted, until I reconfigured the 006 DNS scope settings as outlined below.
Ipconfig / all at the Vista machine
IP Address of Vista Machine 192.168.1.1
IP Address of First (Preferred) DNS server 192.168.1.254 Hmm... this is the IP of the router, and not the server.
As we will see, the root cause seems to be that the local DNS server is not the primary DNS server. By that I mean the actual DNS server on the local subnet is not the First entry in the Vista's list of DNS servers. (See diagrams below.)
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A Vista machine joined to a domain, ought to be able to ping its domain controller by fully qualified domain name, especially when both are on the same subnet. Quite how name resolution problem is related to the Vista machine running slowly I am not sure.
Manual IP address v DHCP
There are two solution depending on whether or not your Vista machine is configured as a DHCP client. When troubleshooting this slow Vista problem, I find it more convenient to experiment with the DNS server settings manually, than to alter the DHCP Scope options at the server.
What I can say is that drilling down to the Vista machine's TCP/IP properties, and then changing the DNS server IP address, solved the slow explorer problem for me. By showing you what I did, I hope that you can make these changes on your Vista machine, naturally, you will need to research the IP address of your DNS server. Optionally, you will need the IP address of your router or internet gateway.
What I did was to explicitly set the IP address of the Preferred DNS server. I also set the router as the Alternative DNS server; my idea was to preserve internet connectivity.
Note 1: The previous setting had been: Obtain a DNS address automatically. However the primary DNS server was 192.168.1.254, while 192.168.1.200 was the secondary DNS server.
Note 2: What I found was that setting the Windows Server 2003 machine as the Alternative DNS (and the router to the Preferred DNS Server) did not work. Setting the IP address this way around caused the slow explorer behavior to return. In my experiment, the Local DNS server must be the Preferred DNS server.
DHCP Solution (Better)
While the above method for configuring the DNS server suits troubleshooting, for a long term solution on a DHCP network, configuring the Scope is a better option. I am assuming you are familiar with DHCP configuration, in which case you may know that the DNS Server is Scope type 006. What I found was that you need to make sure that very DNS server is the first option on the IP address list.
Where you have more than one DNS server, or a gateway to another DNS server, than you can experiment with the order by clicking on the Up and Down buttons.
When you apply this technique, use Ipconfig on the Vista client to check what's happening. Remember 'Run as administrator' before you launch the command prompt, otherwise ipconfig /renew will not work. The other command that you need is ipconfig /all, this should display all the DNS servers. Furthermore, the order revealed by ipconfig /all should match that set on the DHCP server's Option 006. (See screenshot to the right).
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Think of all the frustration that this free SolarWinds utility saves when you are troubleshooting authorization problems for user's access to a resource. Give this permissions monitor a try - it's free!
For problems relating to the following areas, I would try turning off the Firewall at both the Vista end and at the server end.
It almost goes without saying that turning off the firewall is only designed as a temporary measure to help you isolate the problem. If this works then refine the technique by allowing the appropriate port or service.
Instructions to Turn Windows Firewall Off
Miscellaneous Ideas (Clutching Straws really)
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Configuring Windows Vista Topics: