[tex-live] Pathological search path for TeXMF.cnf

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Mon Mar 16 19:15:23 CET 2015

On Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 2:02 PM, Philip Taylor <P.Taylor at rhul.ac.uk> wrote:

> I have copied the entire 4Gb+ of the TeX Live 2014 installation from the
> fast machine to a 250Gb drive attached direct to my router, and therefore
> accessible from all machines on my home network.
> On the slow machine, I set up a pseudo-drive letter and modified path :
> Net use T: \\DSL-3780\usb\TeX\Live\2014
> Set Path=T:\Bin\Win32;%Path%
> I then try XeTeX from this remote file system :
> D:
> CD D:\Users\Philip Taylor\AppData\Local\Dropbox\LPL\Catalogue\Version
> 2\16-Mar-2015
> XeTeX -output-directory=../Remote-content Master
> and whilst it limps along initially, while loading (e.g.,)
> ./Image-float.tex, ./Captions.tex, ./Prelims.tex,
> ./Dynamic-content/Master.toc, ./Dynamic-content/Master.toc,
> ./Dynamic-content/TOC.aux, ...
> it then becomes blindingly fast once it gets onto processing the guts of
> the book.
> I shall now have to re-clone the TeX installation from the DSL-3780 to a
> hard disc on the slow machine and see if I can still replicate that
> performance gain.

All that suggests a disk problem.

Overheating (e.g,, CPU cooling fins heavily loaded with dust), damaged
cables/connectors, or badly fragmented drives can
cause poor performance.  I have seen Windows machines slowing down when a
disk is about to fail.   The S.M.A.R.T system is not very good at
identifying failing drives, but in some cases you can see increasing counts
for error recovery and reallocated sectors.  I have also seen Windows
systems get slow due to some filesystem metadata problem.   Running chkdsk
may help, but you may be better off reformatting the drive and
reinstalling.  The last system where we tried chkdsk (because a task that
should take a couple hours was taking 24) came up with "file not found"
popups during the reboot so had to be reformatted.  I was concerned that
the disk might be failing, but several months later the task is maintaining
the expected performance.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia
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