Linked by Howard Fosdick on Tue 19th Oct 2010 23:23 UTC
Windows In previous OS News articles, I described how mature computers up to ten years oldĀ can be refurbished and made useful. One article identified and evaluated different approaches to refurbishing. This article tells how to performance tune a mature Windows computer to make it serviceable again. I hope it will interest anyone who wants to tune Windows.
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to simply install Linux, in less than an hour you could have a fully functioning Ubuntu or Linux Mint system up and running. Blah, blah, blah. You're missing the whole point: this is an article of how to tune up Windows for those _who want to keep Windows_. This is not about which OS is better. There's plenty of reasons to continue to use Windows and Linux is not always a reasonable alternative and thus a guide that attempts to help tuning up an existing Windows installation is a useful one.

True enough.

For many people a Linux installation would be just fine and they could do everything they needed to do using it, but they simply don't know about it. This is a great pity, but it should be recognised as the pratical fact.

Looking at the article itself though is a handy reminder of just how much trouble it is to try to maintain Windows.

Windows performance deteriorates over time.

True ... but why for heavens sake? That souldn't happen ... the machine hardware itself is the eaxct same performance over time, that doesn't deteriorate.

Just one point I note on this: a few days ago I was doing a "maintenance cleanup" of a Windows machine that is used only rarely, and MSE said that it had to download a new virus definition, and install an updated version of itself. Fair enough, I thought ... until the virus definition file started to download. Good grief ... how huge was that file? I've had whole CDs download faster.

Apparently from some reports there are two million new pieces of Windows malware which have first appeared just in this year alone. Two million. Per year!

Then I'm thinking ... Windows has to load that file when MSE starts, and it has to scan each executable on demand against the contents of the file ... which is huge. I can't see any way that an older machine with up-to-date virus definitions is going to have anywhere near acceptable performance. It is going to take at least a few minutes to boot, and every program is going to take ages to start. It will be frustration plus trying to use such a machine ... even after any efforts to "tune" its performance.

Perhaps this is why Windows performance seems to deteriorate over time ... it doesn't really, it is just that Windows has a whole lot more background work to do now compared to what it used to have. In addition if the virus definitions are held in RAM, Windows probably has less available memory than it used to.

So ... unles you really, truly, absolutely have software which is strictly and unequivocably "Windows only" ... it might be worth consider switching an older machine over to Linux even if it means having to work around some compatibility issues. Really. It is worth a thought ... it might be saner to do that than to throw out older but still-functional hardware that can no longer perform adequately with Windows.

Edited 2010-10-20 02:26 UTC

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