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I fell it is always best to apologize before you did anything - no one can say much of anything bad about that What I am actually apologizing about is I did not read all the 55 comments before posting my response and I am not nearly the techie many of you are - but maybe someone can help resolve something for me.
I do like a lean & mean OS, which implies I am becoming more & more dissatsified with Microf--k Winbl--s each new version of it they make. Regarding PC's, I first started using MS-DOS - before that did college projects on at terminals connected to mainframes.
Yet I don't know if the real problem is bloating per se or the things Windows does which a user has no control of. It always seems to be writing to a file, logging your activities, PSTORES.EXE opens every time I enter anything in a dialogue box (including this). After it is open, I find I have to wait to connect to web sites (with fast ethernet DSL), wait for files to open, etc. Same thing with SPOOL.EXE, which often pops up for no apparent reason (may have to do with the printer software - I discovered my Lexmark X74/75 includes spyware of sorts). The things that Windows does is not much different than the things that spyware does - it is like the cops of PC's that are allowed to spy on you but everything else is spyware and a no-no.
So my point - yes I feel some programs are probably written very inefficiently and probably run a bit slower because of that (I only know FORTRAN 77 and write simple but very efficient scientific programs) - and yes there are MB's upon MB's of system files, drivers, etc. that sit on the hard disk and are never used. Yet they don't get it the way and these do not seem to be the major problems. The major problem is it seems to always be doing some kind of crap with USER.DAT, INDEX.DAT, etc. files that are unneccessary. There always seems to be some program running which is unneccessary and slowing things. Are the newer Linux-based OS's, FreeBSD, and other alternatives really any different in that respect (I refer to those with a reasonably user-friendly GUI and similar to some extent to Winblows so they are not such a pain in the ass to use).
The system I am typing on (laugh): Compaq Presario 5245 with AMD K2-6 at 400 MHz, 320 MB RAM, Windows 98. Don't want to upgrade to any higher Windows - am considering going back to DOS
There's your entertainment for the night