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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Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper
by tracyanne on Wed 20th Oct 2010 01:41 UTC
tracyanne
Member since:
2010-10-20

to simply install Linux, in less than an hour you could have a fully functioning Ubuntu or Linux Mint system up and running. It would even transfer the files from the Windows My Documents folder, if you wanted, into the home directory of the Linux system.

All of that would take about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the speed of the computer, and another half hour to add the media codecs/Flash plugins for Firefox, and do some personalisation.

All the software needed would already be installed, and there'd be no need to worry about Anti Virus software or malware in general. And the system will never slow down like a windows system does.

Think of all the time and effort saved.

Reply Score: -3

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

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.

Reply Parent Score: 4

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

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.

FTA:
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

Reply Parent Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

to simply install Linux, in less than an hour you could have a fully functioning Ubuntu or Linux Mint system up and running. It would even transfer the files from the Windows My Documents folder, if you wanted, into the home directory of the Linux system.

All of that would take about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the speed of the computer, and another half hour to add the media codecs/Flash plugins for Firefox, and do some personalisation.


Then I would have to spend the next several months trying to find viable alternatives for the 40+ apps I use on Windows (wonder if they have anything for editing patches on my Yamaha Motif XF synth?), on top of wasting a lot of time trying to make some of these apps run under Wine, once I realize that there are no Linux alternatives for them.

In short, no thanks. Setting up Windows properly takes about a day for me, but then that setup is good for at least the next year.

BTW: Nice article. I didn't read the whole thing, but one thing I'm not sure is mentioned in the article is... never install anything on your Windows box that says Norton or Symantec on it. The same goes for Adobe, except for Flash (which is unfortunately necessary for a lot of web sites/apps). You could also do yourself good by avoiding iTunes/Quicktime if you can.

Edited 2010-10-20 01:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

to simply install Linux


That's irrelevant since this article is about Windows.
I know this might be hard to believe for many Linux fans but there people who like Windows.

Think of all the time and effort saved.


Think of all the time wasted learning a new desktop and new applications.

Reply Parent Score: 5

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Think of all the time wasted learning a new desktop and new applications.


Firefox and OpenOffice behave almost exactly the same on Windows as they do on Linux. Menus behave the same way, as does copy and paste, as does the volume control, hyperlinks, tabs, scrollbars, manipulating (opening, closing, minimising, dragging, resizing) Windows, managing files ... many tasks are performed in near-identical fashion. Different applications like Okular instead of Adobe reader, Amarok instead of WMP, or Kopete instead of Windows messenger, or Kwrite instead of Notepad, or digikam instead of Picasa, or Krita instead of Paint.NET, or K3b instead of Nero, are similar enough and familiar enough in context that they aren't at all difficult.

Compared with the intimidating complexity and dire words of warning about what not to do, as described in the article that is the OP of this discussion, picking up the use of a Linux distribution desktop (especially a KDE desktop) is a piece of cake.

I know this for a fact because I have seen dozens of people do it.

Edited 2010-10-20 05:09 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

Trollish but insightful - what do I do?

Just a few thoughts - the problem with old PCs is the the quality of cases, power supplies and fans is so poor, combined with the need to buy new keyboard mouse and monitor it often hardly makes it worth while. Recently turned an old box into a pfsense (FreeBSD) headless firewall - that seemed to make sense.

Admittedly off topic the PCs in my house dual boot 95% of the time I use Linux 5% Windows when I need to do something in Access which I need and doesn't work well in Wine.

My sons PC 50% of the time in Linux he uses Windows for gaming, there is nothing installed in Windows but an AV and games - he probably games too much - I think Rome Total War is quite educational am I deluding myself?

Edited 2010-10-20 04:50 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

Gone fishing Member since:
2006-02-22

Oh the other problem of setting up old PCs in Windows is the hours you are going to spend finding drivers - Avoiding those evil drivers sites that just want to install malware to the box.

Going to funny sites in Taiwan to find some driver for old hardware - not fun

Reply Parent Score: 3

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

My reaction exactly, Tracyanne, but some people believe Windows == Computing, just as some people believe the earth is flat.

In this case the continued use of Windows shouldn't be the problem. The problem here is the offloading of the "polishing of the compact piece of excrement" to someone who still believes that it is a worthwhile effort.

It's what I (try to) do with questions about "fixing" Windows. I let users do the boring tasks themselves if I can. Me sitting at their computers and doing the work, while they are watching TV, gives me too much frustration and them far too less pain and suffering over their computing choices.

Even if you can "tune" up Windows, to what avail? It still stays Windows with all its deficiencies as a platform. Most of all being a bare OS, dependent on additional software to reach a state of sufficient reliability and being a money drain.

If you don't stay on the upgrade treadmill, you'll end up with a machine stuck in a bygone software era, where new software and hardware can't function.

But to each their own.

Reply Parent Score: 1