Tip/Trick: Optimizing ASP.NET 2.0 Web Project Build Performance with VS 2005
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by Scott Guthrie
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Common Tips/Tricks for Optimizing any VS 2005 Build Time

Here are a few things I recommend checking anytime you have poor performance when building projects/solutions (note: this list will continue to grow as I hear new ones - so check back in the future):

1) Watch out for Virus Checkers, Spy-Bots, and Search/Indexing Tools

VS hits the file-system a lot, and obviously needs to reparse any file within a project that has changed the next time it compiles.  One issue I've seen reported several times are cases where virus scanners, spy-bot detecters, and/or desktop search indexing tools end up monitoring a directory containing a project a little too closely, and continually change the timestamps of these files (they don't alter the contents of the file - but they do change a last touched timestamp that VS also uses).  This then causes a pattern of: you make a change, rebuild, and then in the background the virus/search tool goes in and re-searches/re-checks the file and marks it as altered - which then causes VS to have to re-build it again.  Check for this if you are seeing build performance issues, and consider disabling the directories you are working on from being scanned by other programs.  I've also seen reports of certain Spybot utilities causing extreme slowness with VS debugging - so you might want to verify that you aren't having issues with those either.

2) Turn off AutoToolboxPopulate in the Windows Forms Designer Options

There is an option in VS 2005 that will cause VS to automatically populate the toolbox with any controls you compile as part of your solution.  This is a useful feature when developing controls since it updates them when you build, but I've seen a few reports from people who find that it can cause VS to end up taking a long time (almost like a hang) in some circumstances.  Note that this applies both to Windows Forms and Web Projects.  To disable this option, select the Tools->Options menu item, and then unselect the Windows Forms Designer/General/AutoToolboxPopulate checkbox option (for a thread on this see: http://forums.asp.net/1108115/ShowPost.aspx).

3) Examine which 3rd party packages are running in Visual Studio

There are a lot of great 3rd party VS packages that you can plug into Visual Studio.  These deliver big productivity wins, and offer tons of features.  Occasionally I've seen issues where performance or stability is being affected by them though.  This is often true in cases where an older version (or beta) of one of these packages is being used (always keep an eye out for when a manufacturer updates them with bug-fixes).  If you are seeing issues with performance or stability, you might want to look at trying a VS configuration where you uninstall any additional packages to see if this makes a difference.  If so, you can work with the 3rd party manufacturer to identify the issue. 


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