Now this just blew my mind. I had a problem with MySQL being incredibly slow on Windows 2003 running IIS... on ASP/VBScript pages. PHP is also installed on the server and so is Microsoft SQL 2005 Express. (Yes, we're running ASP, PHP, MySQL and MS SQL on the same Windows 2003 Server using IIS.)
I was browsing the internet for a solution and saw a suggestion that I change output_buffering to on if MySQL was slow for PHP pages. Since we also served PHP pages with MySQL from the same server, it caught my eye. For the hell of it, I went into php.ini and changed output_buffering to on and suddenly MySQL and ASP was faster... MySQL and PHP was faster... Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express and ASP was faster.... everything was faster... even stuff that had no PHP!
And I didn't even have to restart IIS. As soon as I saved the php.ini file with the change, everything got faster.
Apparently PHP and MySQL and IIS are so intertwined somehow that changing the buffering setting really effects the performance of the entire server.
So, if you are having performance problems on Windows 2003 & IIS, you might try setting output_buffering = On in php.ini if you happen to have PHP installed. Having it set to off apparently effects the performance of Windows 2003 and IIS severely... even for webpages that do not use PHP or MySQL.