When you troubleshoot storage problems, it is easy to identify where there is slow storage, but it can be very difficult to determine what specifically is causing the slowdown. In the case of Windows Servers, I recently came across an advanced view within Task Manager that helps aid the troubleshooting of storage consumption processes.

Task Manager does a good job by default of enumerating the processor and memory consumption of a particular service or application, but we have to dig a little deeper to map each processes’ disk usage in real-time. From the View menu within Task Manager in the Select Columns option, we see some really helpful options in the lower half of the screen (Figure A).
Figure A

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I/O Reads and I/O Writes is a quantified representation of operations performed by the processes. I/O Read Bytes and I/O Write Bytes represents the throughput or consumption of the process. Once you enable these columns, they immediately add value to the display (Figure B).
Figure B

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Now you can troubleshoot a particular service or application that is consuming the storage I/O on a Windows system. The usual suspects (SQL Server and Exchange) will be likely frontrunners in this category, especially if the display is sorted by bytes. If the process identified as the highest consumer of storage I/O is a surprise, you may need to stop or reconfigure the process to slow down its storage throughput consumption.

How do you utilize the storage I/O feeds within Task Manager? Share your comments in the discussion.