“Any computer user that’s owned and installed software onto their computer knows that the more you install, the slower the beast runs. Most also know that it’s not just quantity and that what you install plays a large factor in how slowly your computer runs. The aim of this article is to find out what types of application slow down a computer the most. I’m going to be measuring the ‘speed’ as the time it takes to shutdown, restart and get back to desktop (with auto-login) and start an application in the computer’s start-up settings.”
What Slows Windows Down?
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2006-09-12 10:24 pmNotParker
“I’m going to be measuring the“speed” as the time it takes to shutdown, restart and get back to desktop (with auto-login) and start an application in the computer’s start-up settings.”
The test is more than just boot time.
2006-09-12 10:29 pmumccullough
Anything with a lot of disk access can create a performance bottleneck.
Basically, the answer seems to be twofold:
1. Things that use up lots of RAM and require frequent disk access. Antivirus/malware products fall squarely into this category. Since viruses and malware are primarily targeted at Windows, this problem doesn’t really exist on other platforms. Now, it’s fair to say that in the future this may change, but it’s also fair to comment that, by design, other operating systems are more difficult to target, and so this problem will probably never affect them as severely.
2. Things that add to the registry. This means pretty much everything. Again, since other OSes don’t have registries, this problem does not exist on other platforms.
The obvious conclusion: firstly, security by design is a better longterm paradigm, from a performance point of view, than usability and streamlining. Even though usability and streamlining seem like a great idea, security should still come first. Secondly, the registry is a terrible idea. Yet, I understand that Vista will still have one. I had thought that the registry was one thing that Microsoft was seeking to obsolete in Vista when they first announced it as Longhorn. What changed? Even if Vista’s security is second to none (although I don’t believe that most people will run Vista without antivirus/malware products installed), its performance will still suffer because of the registry. All Microsoft’s clever tricks to avoid this are only hacks and patches to hide the symptoms of the underlying problem.
In other words, not to seem like a Microsoft basher, but these SIGNIFICANT performance problems ONLY affect Windows. A modern OS should not suffer from these sorts of issues.
Disclaimer: I just defended Microsoft in the other Vista article thread, so don’t moderate me down
Edit: forgot to say, isn’t this kind of a “duh” article…?
Edited 2006-09-12 23:50
2006-09-13 12:53 amWorknMan
Secondly, the registry is a terrible idea. Yet, I understand that Vista will still have one. I had thought that the registry was one thing that Microsoft was seeking to obsolete in Vista when they first announced it as Longhorn. What changed?
I agree .. the registry sucks. It probably has to be there fore backwards compatability, but I would like to see it depreciated ASAP.
2006-09-13 2:55 ammmebane
What’s so bad about the registry?
2006-09-13 3:13 amberzerko
2006-09-13 8:25 amhyper
what do you suggest to replace it? ‘*.conf’ and ‘.*’ file hell?
2006-09-13 8:43 pmKroc
plists (xml) work beautifully in OS X. No hell at all. Really, the registry has to go, and shared + private .ini files would be far better (like how it was in Win3.1)
2006-09-13 11:50 amaxilmar
The Windows registry is bad because:
1. it is a central repository: if it is corrupted, the computer becomes unoperable.
2. all apps are competing for the same resource.
3. special tools and APIs are needed for managing it.
4. applications can not simply be copied from one computer to the other.
I never understood why the registry exists. The best approach I have seen in the Amiga O/S: each executable has an .info file that contains all settings; the .info file is nothing than a simple text file, and when the executable is copied, the .info file is copied along.
2006-09-13 12:26 pmSeehund
The Foo.info files in AmigaOS do not contain all program settings — there is no standard defined where and how apps should save their settings. You can however add things like start arguments and cache size to an *.info file.
The Foo.info file is also more than simple text files (unless you run an icon replacement system like NewIcons, I think), as it contains the bitmap data for the corresponding Foo file’s icon. Delete the *.info file and you get a default icon for the corresponding file.
2006-09-13 1:29 pmSphinx
No one has ever had to re-install due to a corrupt .ini file.
2006-09-14 8:14 amhussam
the bad thing about the registry is that can become a oversized fragmented database that is constantly being read by all programs. Also when you uninstall a program, a empty space is created where entries existed before and when new entries are added, they don’t fill these voids so the registry gets fragmented and fragmented and MS doesn’t provide a tool for compacting it.
Back when I ran windows a few years ago, I tried compacting the registry ( without removing any obsolete entries ) and it became half the size and after a reboot, windows performace improved.
Another bad thing about the registry is that it is only 4 files (? I don’t recall really) so if one file get’s corrupted, you have to reinstall.
Linux with /etc/*.conf is much samrter.
2006-09-13 9:41 amXCoder
IMHO one big but binary registry is far better solution then 1000 little xml config file in your home directory, (let see KDE under linux).
2006-09-13 10:00 amashigabou
The problem of the registry is more an implementation probleme as I see it. I mean, it is utterly stupid to put all the sensitive data in one-several big files (which means one application can easily screws other things; this is a single point of failure), and a database which grows indefinitely without any chance to be repaired is a bad sign… It is also overly complicated and non documented.
The situation with many config files is not great either under unix, but at least, if it is corrupt to a bad point, you can recover from it (it is difficult in hard cases, though).
At the end of the day, I much prefer the unix messy /etc to the messy registry, and I think this is the case of most people (seeing the trend to avoid registry on recent windows software)
2006-09-13 11:29 amviton
IMHO one big but binary registry is far better solution then 1000 little xml config file
When you copiying a program to another machine, how can you copy the config data? Search through the whole mess in regedit is definitely not what people want.
2006-09-13 1:06 pmOokaze
You mean that to you, an unreadable thing that slow your computer down over time is far better than some readable files that don’t slow it down over time ?
Are you a masochist or what ?
Ah, no, that’s what keeps its market share up.
Users, in my experience it’s usually the users that slow computers down.
2006-09-13 8:46 pmKroc
And so, it’s the user’s fault that Norton adds 47s to the boot time?
The users add some time, but the companies are responsible (or more accurately – not responsible) for the load they place on the machine.
It’s mainly the registry. I dumped windows 3 years ago because of this. the size of ‘system’ and ‘software’ added together became over 60MB. So I left windows and switched to Linux and never looked back.
Security by design? Linux? OSS? I laugh!
Over 100 security holes in the 2.6 Linux kernel alone, let alone the 10’s of thousands of security holes in other open source apps.
Look at Firefox. More serious security holes than IE6 over the last year.
On the other hand, compare IIS 6 on WIndows 2003 to IIS 5 or Apache.
Only 3 minor security issues in IIS6 in 3 years. Thats what a serious security rewrite will get you. And thats what Vista is. And IE7.
Linus should take some time off from adding new filesystems to the Linux kernel and do some security work. Maybe the Debian servers won’t get broken into again!
Edited 2006-09-13 01:18
some of the windows background services eats a lot of resources from the memory is one of the main reason for slowing down your pc
Point here is:
1. Lot of Notebooks, Computers come pre installed Norton system.. [ for evaluation purpose of 2 months or so… the norton anyway gonna screw you registery even though you uninstall it! ]
2. What is a better way to clean registery once you remove unwanted programs?
3. Not every one can reinstall OS, cause lot of branded systems come with pre-configured recovery disk which forces you to take back systm to factory installed state, [So you cannot cleanly install only OS]
4. You install 1000 programs yet Linux, BSD system will have almost same boot time if they had only 50 programs installed! [ reason: Linux and BSD dont have most advanced technology called “Registery!” ] Thank god!
5. Point here is Windows seems to be buggy when it comes to Program installations. Agree installing programs in Linux is bit hard working but… you can run the OS for years and years with the same speed.. I never heard people saying my Linux has slow downed! But I have heard hell lot of people saying my Windows has slow downed and I need to reinstall OS again! ]
2006-09-13 7:25 amXaero_Vincent
Linux will take longer to boot as more daemons and services are initialized at startup. Does adding more kernel modules (via modprobe, etc.) affect startup as well? What about unpacking time?
I notice SUSE has numerous services and daemons launched at bootup when reading the verbose boot logging. Much more than what I saw with Archlinux and Frugalware.
2006-09-13 8:07 amTusharG
You can slow down boot up process a bit by adding many services! If you are running as desktop OS then u can turn off the service and speed up the bootup process too!!!
In Suse as well u can turn off services… in debian/PCLinuxOS you will find booting speed is fast…
Some time i wonder what will happen if i install same number of program that Linuxs runs… on Windows… most probabely Windows will crash even before it boots )
What Slows Windows Down?
I manage to keep the same Windows XP install for 3 years now. But the truth is that I have to “fix” it every 6 months. I don’t have AV/ASpyware/etc. I only program with VStudio 2003.
You just need to clean it, remove temp files, uninstall “stuff” you may have tested, defrag (I use disk keeper in Screen Saver mode), and every 6 months, use a registry cleaner (CCleaner comes to my mind) to remove orphaned entries, and perform a boot defrag of all your hdds (disk keeper), that way the paging file and all the stuff get’s “reorganized”.
If you do that (and don’t install 100000 fonts) your XP can last many years. The problem is that it takes too much care. The OS X on my Powerbook has been running for 3 years with 1 major OS update (Panther -> Tiger) and several minor point updates. It runs like the 1st day… seriously.
So, all in all XP is usable beyond the 6 month cycle, but you need to take extra care. Of course, I heavily recommend not to autostart programs when you boot, i’d rather have a folder with some shortcuts in it that I open when I boot and launch the programs manually. The difference can be amazing. Windows tries to load “everything at the same time”, whereas you’ll do it one by one, thus lowering the disk activity.
Keep an Eye on “services” as well.. find black viper guide (google) and tweak it. The difference is amazing.
Good luck to all of us who are trapped inside XP and don’t like it.
Congrats to those who like XP!
–edited to correct a typo–
Edited 2006-09-13 12:43
2006-09-13 1:29 pmFlatline
Just these 5 or 6 simple steps and you can keep your system running, then? I agree that you can keep a Windows installation running (and running well) for quite a long time if you know what you’re doing, but let’s face it – most people don’t.
I have nothing against Windows, since I make a decent living fixing it and keeping it running, but I’ve found that linux systems are easier to manage over time. I have linux servers running here at work that has been running for over a year with almost no maintenance (just security patches – there has been one reboot due to kernel updates), while the Windows servers have to be reset at least once a month for security updates, defragged, scanned for viruses, etc.
I used to run a linux-only shop, but when we were acquired by another company they mandated Windows for just about everything because that was their corporate standard. Again, I have nothing against Windows, but it does take a bit more effort to manage over the long haul in my experience.
2006-09-13 2:40 pmeMagius
If you do that your XP can last many years.
I’ve done none of that; nor did the two previous owners of this machine. Yet it’s running a Win2K install upgraded to XP back in early 2002. It’s had its share of software installed and uninstalled, including dozens of IDEs, multimedia tools, virtual machines, utilities, and standard office software. Yet it still runs like a champ.
All users need to do is refrain from disabling the firewall, allow automatic updates, and not run Pr0NvIRus.exe.
“…Firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are where I expect to see the biggest delays from a system, so much so that I refuse to use any on my home computer.”
2006-09-13 4:32 pmumccullough
You sound amazed…
A clean and well-kept system run by someone who is not a moron does not need AV software, anti-spyware, or software firewalls running 24×7 in the background.
I too don’t run much of anything like this on my WinXP box (except I still run the XP built-in firewall – although it only serves to get in my way most of the time).
I, like most intelligent people, use a simple NAT router as a firewall, keep all my ports closed to the internet, run a free spyware scanner maybe once a week (or month depending on my mood). Every once in a while I’ll even run something like BitDefender to scan all my drives to make sure I didn’t download something inadvertently.
The last thing I ever contracted was Nimda on a W2K server exposed to the internet – because I *forgot* to RE-APPLY a service pack after re-installing IIS. Was caught within 2 hours and reinstalled the box from scratch at that point.
At least I know I’m not wasting my time, CPU, disk space, and other resources on worthless, usually-overpriced software that spends most of it’s time just getting in my way anyhow.
2006-09-13 4:34 pmcollywolly
I understand where you are coming from with that comment, but I had a housemate, who was paranoid about viruses and stuff, she had three bloody firewalls running plus a load of antivirus stuff (she bought it from a large crappy, well known store in the UK, which preinstalls loads of unessesarry junk on the machines).
Fact was the machine was slow as anything after 6 months. There were no end of problems connecting to the wireless LAN in the house – which ran a proper hardware firewall. One time DNS wouldn’t resolve. I turned off two of the firewalls. Still didn’t work. Didn’t expect three to be there…
I tried to explain that the hardware firewall was way more usefull than all the crap she had running but at the end of the day all the “protection” caused more problems than it solved in my opinion.
“What do you use for viruses?”
(Ok, somewhat arrogant attitude, but I end up fubaring my systems and reinstalling them on a regular basis, in the name of experimentation. I have far more fun now than when I was running a Windows box).
Should only load when necessary.
You could say that for a million things about BillyBoys os.
Actually, I’m more amazed at the response that was posted by my two word sentence by “supposed” intelligent people who decided to inject their opinion based on what they thought my sentence inferred.
Sorry to disappoint you, but though I was *slightly* surprised by that statement, I wasn’t at all amazed….
…That is, until you decided to open up your trap and expound to the world how “self-intelligent” you proclaimed yourself to be… 😉
No change there, Norton keep their comfy position at the top.
from what I see – this is just boot time measurement?
Most people don’t worry as much about boot time, but rather about system usability.
For example, I’ve noticed that Norton AV and McAfee significantly slow down disk/network file server performance for me – especially when working with large numbers of small files.
Furthermore, anything that uses up tons of RAM, or is constantly accessing the disk would generally slow down normal computer usage as well.
Basically, while boot time is a somewehat interesting “vanilla” measurement, it certainly doesn’t represent “What Slows Windows Down” – and therefore I find the article to be of minimal use.