What does MS Vista really offer?

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Beyonder
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Post by Beyonder » Thu Feb 08, 2007 2:33 pm

Rusty075 wrote:Installing Vista on a clean drive takes 10 minutes.
People keep saying this, but I've installed it six or seven times now and it doesn't feel much faster than the XP Pro installation did. Granted, I haven't busted out a stopwatch or anything like that, but it doesn't feel substantially faster to me than XP.

I have definitely never had an install happen in ten minutes, however. The machine was A64 3000+, gig of ram, 250GB hard drive, DVD drive, 7600GS. Not exactly bleeding edge, but I'd say the average install time is more like twenty five minutes or so.

The install also has these weird "hangs" where the computer looks like it's frozen for a few minutes at a time. Took me a while to figure out it was just "thinking" and I needed to let it be.

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Post by Rusty075 » Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:51 pm

Yeah, I meant 215mb as a minimum "usable for people like us" amount of RAM for XP. My Geode file server is perfectly happy with its single 256 stick running XP, but I wouldn't want to try to multitask on it.

Beyonder, I timed the first install of Ultimate on my machine at a little over 12 minutes. I didn't use a stopwatch either, but did note the time on the clock. I paid attention to the time because I didn't believe the people who said it went that fast either. (my machine isn't any faster than your's: P-D915, gig of ram, single HDD, X850Pro) And are you talking about installing the retail, or the RC versions? The retail went a lot faster than any of my beta/rc installs went. I guess they packaged the image better. I think I also stopped timing it the first time I saw the desktop. There might be more "stuff" do to after that too.

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Post by Beyonder » Thu Feb 08, 2007 4:23 pm

Rusty075 wrote: Beyonder, I timed the first install of Ultimate on my machine at a little over 12 minutes. I didn't use a stopwatch either, but did note the time on the clock. I paid attention to the time because I didn't believe the people who said it went that fast either. (my machine isn't any faster than your's: P-D915, gig of ram, single HDD, X850Pro) And are you talking about installing the retail, or the RC versions? The retail went a lot faster than any of my beta/rc installs went. I guess they packaged the image better. I think I also stopped timing it the first time I saw the desktop. There might be more "stuff" do to after that too.
Hmm....I'll have to try it again and be sure to measure this time. I'll also have to try XP Pro for comparison's sake. Did you install from a clean disk as well (i.e. doing a quick-reformat of some partition, and installing fresh), or did you do some sort of update?

I've installed just about every version of Vista--betas, RCs, final, etc.

Spare Tire
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Post by Spare Tire » Fri Feb 09, 2007 10:54 am

Rusty075 wrote:-Superfetch does not write data to the HDD's swap file. That would defeat the whole purpose. I can say from experience that the HDD swap gets used less under Vista than it did under XP (on the same machine)
I'm only saying this off the top of my head, from memory i read at Tom's hardware benchmarking that vista takes longer than XP to load a program that's not in superfetch. They didn't say why, but the only explanation i can think of for this is that vista is swapping off superfetch data. If somebody can provide conclusive information about this, it would be very helpful.

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Post by Beyonder » Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:12 pm

Spare Tire wrote: I'm only saying this off the top of my head, from memory i read at Tom's hardware benchmarking that vista takes longer than XP to load a program that's not in superfetch. They didn't say why, but the only explanation i can think of for this is that vista is swapping off superfetch data. If somebody can provide conclusive information about this, it would be very helpful.
I wouldn't buy that argument because there isn't any data to "swap" with superfetch; it would just overwrite the data in memory, which is the same speed as just loading something normally from disk.

If would have been interesting if they did timings the first time a system was run verses after a few weeks of regular use to see if Vista got "better" at loading the correct data into memory. I think Vista probably uses algorithms to predict the likelyhood of programs being loaded (some Bayesian algorithm, I'd bet) based on prior history. Or that's how I'd do it, anyways. :)

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Post by Spare Tire » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:24 pm

Correction, i read it from AnandTech. Here's the quote:

"If your memory usage under XP kept you just under needing more than 2GB, you'll need 2GB with Vista. We took two identical installs, one with Windows XP and one with Vista, both equipped with 2GB of memory and ran the following scenario on them:
We opened 104 images in Adobe Photoshop CS3 from our recent trip to Las Vegas for CES 2007; with all 104 images opened and loaded, we then timed how long it would take for Microsoft Word to start. In Windows XP, despite some swapping, Microsoft Word 2007 started in just under 8 seconds. On our Vista test bed, starting Word took almost 20 seconds due to constant paging to disk. The only difference? Vista's heightened memory requirements took a stressful situation that worked reasonably well under XP and made it far more painful with the same amount of memory."
http://www.anandtech.com/systems/showdo ... i=2917&p=3

This might be unrelated to superfetch though, as we don't know if the system was trained or not. How much do we have to factor out from the fact that vista simply requires more ram to know if this slowdown is due to superfetch actually swaping things off, i don't know. If it were that superfetch was not the culprit, then it would have to mean that they actually completly saturated the 2gig of ram with in use data and that ALL the superfetched data had been overwritten. If not, then it would mean superfetched data either is not being swapped off and is taking up space for nothing, or it's being swapped off and that would be completly stupid because it should just be overwritten.

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Post by Rusty075 » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:56 pm

THG had an article where they tried to benchmark the effects of Superfetch and Readyboost on application loading times. I think their methodology is a little suspect, but if you assume that readyboost RAM is being used for Superfetch data then the results are at interesting.

Image(image from THG)

Superfetch does appear to "learn" which apps to preload. The real benefit from our perspective will come once hybrid drives are more available. Superfetch+Readyboost+Hybrid HDD's should equal a lot less HDD thrashing.

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Post by Shadowknight » Sat Feb 10, 2007 10:42 pm

Eh, I'm still on Windows 2000 Pro. Mostly because I'm poor and I never really saw a benefit in going to XP. Well, I basically had no interest in even considering it with the "maximum number of activations before you have to call Microsoft to be able to use it some more." I refuse to have to ask permission to use something I ALREADY PAID FOR. As to Vista, I'm not really interested either. What matters to me is that the OS still can run programs like web browers, games, and office software. Unless your a big-time power-user or programmer, I don't really understand why there would be a burning need to upgrade the OS everytime MS wants to roll out another one.

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Post by Beyonder » Sun Feb 11, 2007 12:00 am

Shadowknight wrote:Eh, I'm still on Windows 2000 Pro. Mostly because I'm poor and I never really saw a benefit in going to XP.
My inflammatory $.02 for the night:

Ubuntu > W2K

:lol:

No really: why run W2K when you could run Ubuntu? I mean, if it works for you, that's a perfectly acceptable answer, but...me personally, I'd be excited to update to Ubuntu (or some other linux derivative, for that matter).
Unless your a big-time power-user or programmer, I don't really understand why there would be a burning need to upgrade the OS everytime MS wants to roll out another one.
Let's be fair: if you're a big-time programmer, Linux might be more appealing. And the burning need is rather personal; some people get a kick out of seeing the latest and (supposedly) greatest, and who am I to poo-poo that?

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Post by Spare Tire » Sun Feb 11, 2007 12:48 am

I'll go on to agree that win2k is probably the best out of all windows. It's more compatible than win NT, uses less ressource and isn't bogged down with the unecessary bells and wisles of win XP. And you can slipstream the installation, which XP can't do anymore. And if you check out this website:
http://www.vorck.com/2ksp5.html
you could even uninstall explorer completely and elimitate all kinds of actual and potential security threat. I just love win 2k.
The only downers is that it's inherently old. Even though most of what XP can do, 2k can do better, i've noticed that my cpu runs hotter in 2k and that it doesn't manage the intermediate speed steppings as well. It would jump from low to 100%. Not a problem for desktops, but a laptop battery life will suffer with 2k, which is ironic since it's the one that's cleaner and leaner on ressources.

I've tried ubuntu, and the learning curve is pretty steep. The only humanity it's got is that it's configured to work out of the box, but as soon as you need to tweek it according to your specific needs, you got to go to commandlines like all the other linuxes. It's good out of the box for noobs, and tweekable for gurus, but the intermediate windows power-user will have to be learning a whole new system to be doing what they could do with ease on windows.

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Post by nick705 » Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:55 am

Spare Tire wrote: I've tried ubuntu, and the learning curve is pretty steep. The only humanity it's got is that it's configured to work out of the box, but as soon as you need to tweek it according to your specific needs, you got to go to commandlines like all the other linuxes. It's good out of the box for noobs, and tweekable for gurus, but the intermediate windows power-user will have to be learning a whole new system to be doing what they could do with ease on windows.
QFT. I'm happy to run Linux on servers where I can install it, configure it and forget it, but on a working desktop PC I've yet to find a distro that isn't ultimately a joyless chore to use, taking hours of frustrating trawling of the Internet to do relatively simple things. That said, I suppose it might be different if I'd started off using Linux rather than Windows in the first place.

In any case, IMHO it's the *applications* which matter for PC usage, whether it be Windows, Linux or anything else - the OS is just a means to an end. It should be small, fast, tough, and it should just get out of the way and be as unnoticeable as possible.

I'd love to see a modern version of Windows NT4, which runs blindingly fast on modern hardware - completely stripped of all non-essentials, so you just add the things you're actually going to use. I don't suppose it would ever sell enough to make it viable though. :(

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Post by AZBrandon » Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:40 am

nick705 wrote:I'd love to see a modern version of Windows NT4, which runs blindingly fast on modern hardware - completely stripped of all non-essentials, so you just add the things you're actually going to use. I don't suppose it would ever sell enough to make it viable though. :(
There's either a company or software that lets you build a custom installation of Windows XP. Somebody on here had mentioned it in the past when the topic of running a modern OS on minimal hardware came up. That would probably be what you want. I'm sure that same company is working on doing the same thing for Vista too, in fact.

As for my two cents on the last few pages or so, I think even Microsoft would admit they kind of screwed up the management of the Vista project to begin with. I'd be willing to bet they will keep trying to make improvements over the next year or two, especially since they had said this would likely be the last "big" OS project and the trend would be towards more frequent, incremental updates.

I had been all excited about going to Vista for a while, especially since I already have a fast hard drive array, CPU, video card, and 2GB of RAM and was thinking even of trying the 64-bit version and upgrading to 4GB of RAM. However, the fact that there seem to be so many problems is what's keeping me from making the switch. Maybe in another 6-12 months they'll have enough of the problems ironed out to make it reasonable to try it out.

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Post by klankymen » Sun Feb 11, 2007 11:29 am

hmmm I know I'm certainly not buying Vista, though I probably will buy OSX.5 in the springtime.

And maybe if any RL friends of mine start using vista and I get some firsthand feedback and get to play around with it myself I'd consider "getting" Vista later.

Beyonder
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Post by Beyonder » Sun Feb 11, 2007 11:40 am

Jeff Atwood's blog has a great post on a Vista feature a lot of people seem to forget about. And thank god the "Media Center" variant of windows is gone, that was a stupid idea.

I liked media center before, but the latest version with Vista is really, really slick. I also love that it finally includes an mpeg-2 decoder stock. I'm considering reconnecting my cable and firing up the htpc again...maybe paired with one of these.

shunx
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Post by shunx » Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:48 am

ciz28 wrote:incredible driver/device support...
I read that many older scanner drivers won't work and you may have to install a VMware Server and put a Windows XP virtual machine on it if there is no Vista driver. Is this true?

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Post by Beyonder » Fri Feb 16, 2007 9:20 am

shunx wrote:
ciz28 wrote:incredible driver/device support...
I read that many older scanner drivers won't work and you may have to install a VMware Server and put a Windows XP virtual machine on it if there is no Vista driver. Is this true?
I doubt it. Most of the things people say about Vista at this point in time aren't generally true.

shunx
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Post by shunx » Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:16 pm

Beyonder wrote:
shunx wrote:
ciz28 wrote:incredible driver/device support...
I read that many older scanner drivers won't work and you may have to install a VMware Server and put a Windows XP virtual machine on it if there is no Vista driver. Is this true?
I doubt it. Most of the things people say about Vista at this point in time aren't generally true.
Actually scanner drivers may be an exceptional issue in Vista. The reports I read:
"Epson 1240U scanner no longer supported by native drivers or Epson... I find it inexcusable that Vista doesn't even contain some Generic driver for scanners like it does for printers. Maybe scanners are more complex than printers?"
"My Visioneer 8100 scanner is also not supported. I'm dual-booting to a small clean version of XP on a secondary partition"

My scanner is a similar older Epson model so it's probably not supported by Vista at the moment judging from the above.

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Post by Ralf Hutter » Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:55 am

My friend is an accountant and he says that their most used software, something called "MAS-90" isn't Vista-compatible. There's no ETA from the software company for an updated version either. His company is screwed right now because they need to order a bunch of new computers and Dell won't ship anything but Vista-equipped systems.

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Post by Erssa » Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:18 am

Ralf Hutter wrote:My friend is an accountant and he says that their most used software, something called "MAS-90" isn't Vista-compatible. There's no ETA from the software company for an updated version either. His company is screwed right now because they need to order a bunch of new computers and Dell won't ship anything but Vista-equipped systems.
Then vote with your money and buy a HP, Fujitsu Siemens, acer or Lenovo... There's plenty of other options around.

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Post by frankgehry » Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:50 am

I've just discovered this microsoft blog:
http://minimsft.blogspot.com/

There are some really interesting comments concering steve balmers remarks to analysts in new york on thursday. Needless to say, microsoft stock took a hit.

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Post by Beyonder » Sun Feb 18, 2007 2:47 pm

shunx wrote: Actually scanner drivers may be an exceptional issue in Vista. The reports I read:
"Epson 1240U scanner no longer supported by native drivers or Epson... I find it inexcusable that Vista doesn't even contain some Generic driver for scanners like it does for printers. Maybe scanners are more complex than printers?"
"My Visioneer 8100 scanner is also not supported. I'm dual-booting to a small clean version of XP on a secondary partition"
These people should be pissed at scanner companies, and not MSFT. He can find it "inexcusable" all day long, but it isn't going to make a closed-source, proprietary driver that runs on Vista pop out of thin air.

Don't even get me started on closed-source drivers. :evil:

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Post by BillyBuerger » Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:23 pm

Thought I'd throw in my initial experiences with Vista. We got a copy of the upgrade as part of our Action Pack. I installed it on a PC to see that everything would work with the software we are currently using and such. Interesting that after the "updgrade", I had a clean system. No software installed or anything. So it wasn't much of an upgrade. Which I was fine with but it surprised me. After installation, it was using around 310MB of memory with nothing fancy going on. Which was a little better than I expected although still more than an OS should use when doing absolutely nothing. I didn't notice any real slowdowns or anything even though this PC *only* has 512MB of memory. Although using the fancy clock gadget uses about 12% of the CPU (P4-2.0GHz) when the second hand is enabled.

Fast forward to today when we got a new Dell laptop for work. After initially booting with all the crap Dell installed on it, it was using 700MB of memory just sitting there! Good thing I opted for the 1GB of memory. After uninstalling unnecessary crap and disabling unneeded background tasks, it now sits around 430MB.

Oh, and this was the first PC I had Vista on that supported the Aero interface...... Ooooooo! Okay, now that I've seen it. DISABLED!

Beyonder
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Post by Beyonder » Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:53 pm

BillyBuerger wrote:Although using the fancy clock gadget uses about 12% of the CPU (P4-2.0GHz) when the second hand is enabled.
:lol: Yeah, someone might want to check that out when they get a moment. It takes 200 million clock cycles to move the second hand?!

nici
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Post by nici » Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:04 pm

This might have been posted earlier, but here it is anyway. Vista AIDS, http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2007/02/02

shunx
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Post by shunx » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:27 pm

Beyonder wrote:These people should be pissed at scanner companies, and not MSFT. He can find it "inexcusable" all day long, but it isn't going to make a closed-source, proprietary driver that runs on Vista pop out of thin air.
I can now confirm that my scanner does not work Vista. I'm not personally mad at anyone but this is definitely an inconvenience. I'll have to dual boot, work with another PC or get a new scanner.

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Post by CA_Steve » Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:08 am

shunx wrote:
Beyonder wrote:These people should be pissed at scanner companies, and not MSFT. He can find it "inexcusable" all day long, but it isn't going to make a closed-source, proprietary driver that runs on Vista pop out of thin air.
I can now confirm that my scanner does not work Vista. I'm not personally mad at anyone but this is definitely an inconvenience. I'll have to dual boot, work with another PC or get a new scanner.
I'd expect a lot of this to happen with peripherals. Especially on the low end of the price scale. Easier to have a consumer pissed at you than to push out a new product development cycle to go back and write new drivers for old products.

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Post by fastturtle » Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:44 pm

aristide1 wrote:The idea of buying 2GB of DDR2 is not pleasant as its still too expensive and DDR3 is just around the corner.
I just purchase 2 GB of DDR 533 for a meager $150 thru Newegg, so the price hasn't gone up and that was for Kingston.

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Post by Techno Pride » Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:26 am

BillyBuerger wrote:Thought I'd throw in my initial experiences with Vista. We got a copy of the upgrade as part of our Action Pack. I installed it on a PC to see that everything would work with the software we are currently using and such. Interesting that after the "updgrade", I had a clean system. No software installed or anything. So it wasn't much of an upgrade. Which I was fine with but it surprised me.
you mean if I buy a copy of Vista Home Premium *upgrade* and install it over my winxp, all my settings and proggies will be gone?

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Post by BillyBuerger » Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:32 pm

Techno Pride wrote:you mean if I buy a copy of Vista Home Premium *upgrade* and install it over my winxp, all my settings and proggies will be gone?
I'm not 100% sure. It seems odd. But it was also a mostly clean XP install. I haven't tried on any other PCs yet to know if it was something I did or anything.

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Post by Gxcad » Mon Mar 12, 2007 6:32 pm

Personally all I noticed is new theme, actually having to type in my password to log in, slower performance, and an annoying pop up when I try to do ANYTHING to change the system (which got annoying fast).

On the plus side, instant search is nice...

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