The Vista Team Blog has an interesting article on Vista’s installation routine, more specifically on how long it takes to install Vista. “PC World got the conversation going on installation times in Windows Vista. While they quote Jim Allchin that Windows Vista can take as little as 15 minutes to install, my installs have been more like 20 minutes (still rocking fast), so I thought I would talk with David D’Souza who manages our Deployment and Installation team to get some more information about the different deployment scenarios and their installation time.”
Windows Vista Imaging and Installation Performance
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2006-10-02 7:53 pmleos
For me it’s a slow install, and a slow OS. Mind you, I installed on a partition that already had a windows installation on it, however it was not an upgrade. All it did was move the old windows partition to a backup folder, and then install. Why this took so long is beyond me, but the install took well over an hour.
Then when I ran it, it was quite sluggish (latest build). Resizing the more complicated windows is slow and ugly (tearing effects) and everything is just noticeably slower than on XP (response times, application startup, etc). My hardware:
Athlon 64 3200
ATI XPress 200M Video Card (DX9 compatible, 128MB dedicated RAM)
So not the highest specs, especially the video card (score of 2.5 in Vista), but this is an OS we’re talking about here.. The computer does just fine playing Half Life 2 at 1024×768, and yet it chokes on some simple fading/transform effects on Vista? Seems odd.
Edited 2006-10-02 19:54
2006-10-02 8:22 pmDjLizard
I’ve been hearing this a lot from AMD 64 users – or basically any users with a more powerful machine than my modest one. It seems that everyone that has a faster computer than me ends up with a much slower Vista system than mine.
Did you install the x64 or the x86 version?
2006-10-02 8:33 pmleos
Did you install the x64 or the x86 version?
x86. Didn’t think the driver support would be there for x86-64 yet. It seems I was wrong however, since there is an audio driver for x86-64, but not for x86. Maybe I’ll try installing x86-64 now and compare the performance.
2006-10-03 2:04 amDjLizard
The great thing about Microsoft’s new driver policies is that in order for a manufacturer to get their drivers signed is that Microsoft will not sign an x86 driver unless an x64 driver is submitted at the same time. And for the most part, driver signing is required (for kernel modules, anyway). I’m sure Microsoft did this because they were pissed that all of these manufacturers made XP Pro x64 Edition look like crap because of the lack of support.
2006-10-02 10:40 pml3v1
My install trials (amd64 3300+, 1gig ram) with rc1 all took around an hour or so. I installed the 64bit version, on a blank partition. But I could live with this, since hopefully we won’t need to install every day, what nerved me though was that after booting, with aero, everything seemed fast and nice, fairly low memory usage (I don’t remember exactly but below 300 megs), then after a while, during a visual studio install and concurrently trying lots of things in the system (about every possible settings and such) it started to eat up memory, and after the install finished and exited, it still didn’t finish so it wasn’t the install’s fault. After it raised above 800 megs it started to become painfully slow and it just ended up totally unusable. Another fresh install, now without any application installs, just using the base system, ended up the same after about half an hour use. That was the point when I removed it and started waiting for a newer build.
At my 3,6 rated PC it takes under 30 minutes (clean install), and from RC1 onwards Vista is VERY fast. Yes, upgrade is still not so fast (typically 100 minutes). It’s interesting that under an article which is on the positive side of Vista, there are so little comments.
Edited 2006-10-02 19:51
2006-10-02 7:55 pmKroc
maybe because a lot of people’s XP systems are very fast already, without having a mad graphics card. For me, my well looked after XP image boots in Parallels in 45 seconds, with the Mac itself booting in 30, which still totals less than the boot times I was seeing for a fresh install of Vista with Bootcamp.
Yes, startup and shutdown times of Vista still need heavy tuning. But the system itself is very responsive – it does not CHOKE as easily as XP does. It has to do with improved memory management and I/O prioritization. The experience is more similar to OS X, which runs maybe a little bit slower than it should, but the responsiveness is still on the same level, despite any number of work you throw at it.
On my system, I forgot how long installation took, as I installed in year 2004, yet have an up to date system. But even if I would install regularly, I would give a shit if it’s 20 Minutes or 60, or 20 on the one system and 90 on the other, so it seems to be not measurable at all.
But best thing is, to even write and publish an article about this… No reason to wonder why there aren’t many comments about it.
to REINSTALL Vista, followed by every other app/game you want to use?
If Vista uses images for installation, I wonder if slipstreaming still works. I like the fact that I was able to slipstream my original XP install disks to SP2.
2006-10-02 11:01 pmn4cer
You could mount the image and add files to it from Explorer or a command prompt. The necessary tools are included in the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK). This isn’t (legally) widely available yet though. This also works for adding drivers and other files you want to install.
Searching for it @ Microsoft’s website will bring up info (particularly on MSDN and TechNet blogs).
Edited 2006-10-02 23:03
2006-10-03 3:35 amAgent69
Thanks for the helpful info n4cer.
I think they have some bugs they need to work out with installation. Some people are able to install in 15-20 minutes, others are saying it takes an hour. There shouldn’t be such a huge discrepancy when pc specs are similar. I have a 1.8Ghz AMD, 1GB RAM and even though I installed from the harddrive onto an empty partition it took me 35-40 minutes. There was some step during the installation that caused my system to just sit there for 10 minutes again..filed a bug report this time
Please specify whether you installed clean or upgraded over a previous version of Windows.
And, for the record, you should NEVER, EVER install a new Windows version over a previous one.
If you can do that in Linux, great. I’ve heard stories about how people have upgraded their Debian installs since I was still in diapers, and nothing ever broke. But, you can’t do the same thing in Windows.
And yes, I’m going to continue beating this drum until people stop doing it!!
Edited 2006-10-03 05:11
2006-10-03 6:01 amcyclops
Beat the drum as often as you want. Software in todays modern world is often. Tied to the OS, downloaded and activated via the internet. Its just not easy to update a software anymore.
Interestingly many are reporting that programs installers not working on vista…so currently the only way to have them working is upgrade.
Finally just for fun while you have your drum out, most people, and I do mean most people find it an awful lot easier; less time consuming especially is your simply not adept as some. Those that can’t upgrade a graphics card or wipe spyware of there machine…who is still on internet explorer or using norton antivirus. You know normal users.
The easiest way to fix a broken desktop system has always been to reinstall it instead of searching for errors. A disc image of the perfect installation including software and drivers is usually the answer.
A normal installation should only be done once, then top-tuned and backed up. I don’t see why a scratch installation of windows is important. If I had 200 corporate PCs running the same hardware, I’d probably make one prototype image and put that on all of them. I haven’t done that in practice, but I do, though have an image of my XP-installation with all my favorite apps which takes 5 minutes to fully restore with Partimage.
Therefore I also don’t see why 20 or 60 minutes matter.
These timings are very important. In the corporate world where your dealing with 100s/1000s of upgrades and new installs, the time taken to complete any stage of installation mounts up considerably.
1000 * 30mins is a considerable time and cost difference to 1000 * 20mins.
2006-10-03 3:52 pmn4cer
These timings are very important. In the corporate world where your dealing with 100s/1000s of upgrades and new installs, the time taken to complete any stage of installation mounts up considerably. 1000 * 30mins is a considerable time and cost difference to 1000 * 20mins.
The upgrades aren’t done serially (unless you have incompetant IT staff). You’d deploy the image over the network using RIS (or Vista’s replacement for RIS).
The differences in install time listed in this thread are probably primarily due to differences in media and harddrive speed (CPU can also be another factor). Installing from a DVD is going to vary based on DVD drive speed and target harddrive speed. Pressed media is going to be read faster than burned media in most cases. Some install from an image on a harddrive, which will be faster than DVD in most cases, and others install to older harddrives or laptop drives, which will slow the installation.
Upgrade is a different story altogether. In all cases, it will be slower than a clean install and will probably take about an hour or more. It takes longer because it moves your existing Windows installation to a directory called Windows.old, performs the Vista install, and migrates your settings. Having Vista check online for updates (optional) also adds to upgrade time.
Last is WinSAT, the system asessment test that occurs during the last phase of setup (end-users just sees a progress bar and some billboards telling them about Vista). Slower hardware, or hardware that has issues with the in-box drivers, will take longer to pass this phase of setup than faster or non-problematic hardware.
2006-10-03 7:16 pmcg0def
Yes, you are very much correct that in pretty much all enterprise situations no one would ever do sequential installs. Only most enterprises DO NOT use RIS as is gives you very poor performance compared to say Ghost. There is also the fact that if you are installing 1000 machines ( and a situation like this doesn’t happen even if you work for Dell ) you will never do all of the installations at the same time as it will simply kill your network. Usually ( if you use nice switches like say Cisco and likes ) you do anywhere between 50 and 100 installs at a time and the actual time that it takes to hook all the machines up is longer than the time that it takes to install the image. But at this stage I doubt that anybody ( besides MS’ own testers ) are doing multicast installs.
Also installing from a DVD ( or CD ) is limited only by the speed at which you can read the media. Every hdd manufactured in the last 5+ years is considerably faster than what you can read from a DVD even at 18x.
PS: Imaging software also allows you to have all the needed programs preinstalled and this saves you even more time. And yes, you could use the preexisting network to connect all the computers but installs on a large scale would disrupt the work process for the people outside the IT department and this is simply unacceptable.
I would expect that there’s two things that are rate limiting factors for installation: the transfer rate of the optical media drive, and the speed of updating the registry (in the case of Windows).
Assuming you simply cache the registry writes rather than open every DLL/OCX and DllRegister() it, then really the slowest part ought to the transfer rate of the optical drive.
Even installing multi-gigabyte Linux distributions that update the software database in realtime typically takes 15 minutes or so these days with a suitably fast drive.
Last week I bought a new comp, so I just thought “ok, I’ll give it a try”… and hear me people – a completely new installation took 5 hours! I’ve read about similar stories from other people yet nobody from Microsoft gives a damn… about it. They are sitting happy talking how great their installer is. It turns out that the lenghty installation problem has something to do with the configuration of SATA hard drives. Once I changed the mode from AHCI to IDE the installation took 35 minutes (my computer is rated by Vista as 5.9 so it’s a rather fast beast). Now, we have 21 century. SATA drives have been available for years and Windows still can’t install on SATA drives in AHCI mode! Who still uses floppy drives for loading SATA drivers? I bet Linux can do this. Actually, I installed Mandriva cooker the other night straight from ftp server. 3.4 GB of data installed after 30 minutes. Now, that’s an achievement. Microsoft makes me sick.
Edited 2006-10-03 14:54
15 to 20 mins for an install seems very slow to me…
a clean install of debian with graphical enviroment which resembles the default XP/Vista install takes less then 10 mins here.
i would say up to 30mins for a clean install is slow…
one if the upmost fastest operatingsystems to install , i have seen to date must be OpenBSD… from dvd to full default install in less then couple of mins…
It takes a full hour on my AMD XP 2500+ (1GB RAM, ATI 9800XT 256MB), yet Vista is screaming fast once it’s installed. Also, it takes an hour and a half to upgrade builds (for instance, Pre-RC1 to RC1) on the same system.