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Profiling Code – The Microsoft Way

| Monday, December 24, 2012
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A colleague of mine asked me how he can find out why his laptop does consume 30% CPU in the SYSTEM process after it did wake up from hibernate. That is easy I replied: Open Process Explorer select the SYSTEM process, double click it, select the thread tab, sort by CPU and double click on the first thread which does consume so much CPU to get the call stack.

A few days later I got a mail back that it did not work. Ok could be some elevation problem. I did try it on my machine and sure enough access denied also here. Ups it is not so easy after all. A little googling around did lead to a very good article from Mark Russinovich dealing with the exact same issue. Mark did use Kernrate which seems to work still on Windows 7 but it does look rather unsupported. A few other articles indicated that xperf should also be able to do it. So I did look where to get the latest edition of XPerf. It turns out that it is part of the Windows 8 SDK and the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) für Windows® 8. You do not need to download GBs of stuff. Only select the Windows Performance Toolkit and uncheck all other stuff. That gives you a nice ~50MB download which will install it to

%PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Windows Kits\8.0\Windows Performance Toolkit

Besides the well known Xperf tool I have written several years ago some new stuff was added. Recording performance with the latest version of the Windows Performance Toolkit has never been so easy. There is a tool called WPRUI.exe which allows you to record a trace session with a nice GUI. An interesting side note is that this tool is missing in the Windows 8 SDK delivered with Visual Studio 2012. If you download the latest version again you get the GUI tool as well. It does seem to have full support from MS and they did even localize the UI which is rather unusual for such low level tools.

Read more: Alois Kraus
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