Performance and Hard Disk Swapping

Participant ,
Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021

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Some InDesign tasks that require moving a lot of pages and graphics can take a long time. Many minutes to an hour or more.

I have a desktop Windows 10 Pro PC with:

  • Xeon W-2155 @3.3 GHz (13.75MB Cache, 10-Cores, 20-Threads, 48 lanes, 140W, Benchmark 24983)
  • 128GB Kingston ECC DDR4 2666
  • Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 2GB Fanless
  • Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3 x4 SSD (3500/3300 MBps R/W)

Given those performance issues, I just doubled the RAM to 256 GB.

Nonetheless, some tasks, such as changing a heading style to move 200 pages with text and graphics, still takes forever (in Internet time, that is): half an hour or longer.

Looking in Task Manager as this so-far half-hour task is whirring, shows the following:

  • 9% total CPU usage, of which about 5% is attributable to InDesign (5% of total, not 5% of 9%)
  • 6% of total RAM usage, of which about 2 GB is InDesign's.
  • about 1% of the SSD disk usage, almost all of which is InDesign's, at 0.6-0.8 MB/s.

This system does have a fast SSD "hard drive," but wouldn't InDesign get my task done in minutes instead of hours if it could use more RAM and avoid swapping to disk, even if it's a fast SSD?

Still seeing an hourglass at 45 minutes. Sigh.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021

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There are lots of reasons why that might be, but let me offer something quick to try that may help:

 

  1. Open the File
  2. Select the File>Save As... menu command.
  3. Save the file in its original location with the original name. When the redundant command pops up and asks if you want to replace/overwrite the existing file, say yes.

 

This minimizes/simplifies the existing file by creating a current state of the existing file, rather than yet another incremental update to the file over its original version, with unknown additional incremental updates of the file.

 

If that trick doesn't work, and it does far more often than you may think, another remedial fix would be to go back to that File>Save As menu command, and in the Save as Type: options box change it to InDesign CS4 or later (IDML)(*.idml) InDesign interchange file. Close the InDesign document (*.indd) file, then open the .idml file and save it back to your original file location and same name again to replace the offending .indd file.

 

These two actions help you clean out any debris in the file, and can fix a myriad of file issues that get more difficult by how old and complex the original file may be. It doesn't fix all complications, but it fixes issues often enough that this is the first place I'd start.

 

Please let us know if this helps, or it doesn't. From there we can offer some more suggestions which may help.

 

Hope this does help you,

 

Randy

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Participant ,
Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021

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Thanks for the tips, Randy!

When I came back after two hours, InDesign had crashed.

It automatically restarted and had the file without the change I had tried to make. (See https://community.adobe.com/t5/indesign/new-page-gt-new-odd-page-kills-span-columns/m-p/11857602); I was making the changes starting at the end of the 200 page document, and moving to the beginning. The slow performance and eventual crash only occurred once I made the change to the very first of the headings.

I tried "Save As" and overwrote the original file.

Again, seeing an hourglass, and will have to wait to see how long the SSD churns this time. Interestingly, though the CPU  usage is about the same in Task Manager, this time the RAM used by InDesign is only 1 GB instead of 2 GB. The SSD transfer rate is about 1.5 MB/s, so significantly faster. Maybe it will finish before crashing. That's progress, I guess. I will report back after InDesign finishes its disk-thrashing.

Thanks again!

Update: after an hour, RAM usage up to 1.6 GB, and SSD transfer rate down to 0.6-0.7 MB/s. Still thrashing.

Another update: after an hour and a half, InDesign had exited. When I restarted it, the unchanged file was there. Saved as .idml and then as .indd, that cut a couple of MB off  the file size. When I again tried to change the paragraph style on that one heading, Task Manager showed InDesign using about 5% of CPU (that's always been about the same), 1.2 GB of RAM, and the SSD transfer rate was up to 1.9 MB/s. Decided to leave it to go out to get dinner. When I got back an hour and a half later, InDesign had once again exited without making the change.

Decided to use the Pages Panel to add a page so that the H1-new-page heading was already on an odd page before changing it to H1-new-odd-page paragraph style. This resulted in an hourglass for maybe a minute and then everything seems fine. So this particular problem is fixed, but it still seems that InDesign could be recompiled to take advantage of more than 2 GB of RAM. (Easy for me to say, I know.)

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021

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I guess the good news is you see measurable progress. The bad news, of course, is that in the total scheme of things it's not much.

 

Barring some of your hardware somehow being bad, you have more than enough horsepower to push InDesign. Heck, by my meager 16 GB of RAM and SATA 2.5 SSD, you've got four times the drive speed and 16 times the RAM. I'm not worthy.

 

By my experience, there's not much that could slow down the program to a crawl, per se. I know that some folks have found performance improvements by turning off hardware acceleration for their hard-core video cards. I don't know the specifics of your 2GB video card, but as counter-intuitive as it sounds, folks have found performance improvement by turning their high-end video upgrades off.

 

Are you having these performance slowdowns with any file? Or just specific files? What kind of documents are you working on? How big are the document files – in file size and page count? You mention working with lots of pages and graphics. I've done catalog work where large sections have slowed my systems down to a crawl. I'm no apologist for Adobe, but when I run across real slowdowns, they're often associated with file issues.

 

If you can let us know more about the files you're working with, hopefully we can help you past this.

 

Randy

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021

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You indicate that your document is “200 pages with text and graphics.” Are those graphics embedded or linked to? How big is the actual InDesign .indd file? Generally speaking, if you embed graphics other than simple vector objects created within InDesign (such as high resolution raster images or pages from a PDF file), you are setting yourself up for performance problems.

 

In terms of your Windows system configuration, there is absolutely nothing there that would be the cause of the performance issues. 128GB of RAM, much less 256GB is absolute overkill. Your problem is not paging. And it is not your graphics card (the GPU of which isn't used by InDesign anyway, unlike Photoshop or Illustrator). It is just that there is quite a bit of “work” being done when you change the formatting characteristics of styles and effectively everything on those 200 pages must be examined and potentially moved, even microscopically. If graphics are embedded, such movements within the document simply increase the workload.

 

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

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Participant ,
Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021

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Hi, Dov, and thanks for your reply.

The file is 56 MB. The graphics are all linked, none are embedded. Not sure if that counts as big or small for a 200 page file, depends on you look at it.

Randy, thanks for your reply as well.

It has to do with this particular file and this particular paragraph style change. Once I learned to break my 200-page files into Stories by section, I have not had similar problems with the other files. Of course, I have not tried this particular new-page > new-odd-page paragraph style change on them yet, and I plan to. But I think I will use the "add a new page to make the section start on an odd page" procedure first!

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 25, 2021 Feb 25, 2021

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56MB is pretty big for the .indd file itself. And if you are linking graphics, perhaps the bulk of the document size is the lower resolution preview image stored within the file.

 

Yes, breaking the file into sections would definitely help.

 

Good luck!

 

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

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