How To Get A Faster Tortoise

As you might have noticed, Vista isn’t selling all too well. Based on some numbers popping around, somewhat less than half the computers sold last year came with Vista, with business users in particular having a low take-up rate.

A big reason for this is that word has gotten around that Vista is, well, a resource pig. I don’t mean gotten around as everyone in Slashdot thinks so, I’m talking about the Sixpacks, I’m not telling them, “Don’t buy Vista,” they’re telling me.

I’m sure you want to know that MS has expressed its opinion on this issue.

What do they have to say about Vista being slow?

Well, it’s mostly your fault. Here’s two choice bits:

“That state-of-the-art PC you bought last year might not feel like such a screamer after you install a dozen programs, load it with antispyware and antivirus tools, and download untold amounts of junk from the Internet.”

Wow. People really do that?

It doesn’t stop there. Some people are so perved that not only do they load programs on the computer; they actually use them:

“Sometimes changing your computing behavior can have a big impact on your PC’s performance. If you’re the type of computer user who likes to keep eight programs and a dozen browser windows open at once—all while instant messaging your friends—don’t be surprised if your PC bogs down. Keeping a lot of e-mail messages open can also use up memory.”

Oh. I guess that’s what you deserve for being too cheap to buy that mainframe.

OK, the whole webpage isn’t like that, and not all too much of it suggests, “Buy more and better hardware, slug.” Most of it consists of the standard procedures to remove the accumulated bloat. Of course, that’s just as applicable to any OS.

Some might say, “Do they give some hints about the biggest sort of bloat: the OS?” Well, yes, that’s where they really get brazen:

If Windows is running slowly, you can speed it up by disabling some of its visual effects. It comes down to appearance versus performance. Would you rather have Windows run faster or look prettier? If your PC is fast enough, you don’t have to make this tradeoff, but if your computer is just barely powerful enough for Windows Vista, it can be useful to scale back on the visual bells and whistles.

I don’t know, maybe my memory is faulty, but weren’t visual effects supposed to be the main reason to buy Vista when it first came out?

What I do know is that RAM has been very cheap for some time, so all my computers are loaded to the max with memory, along with Windows XP.

And do you know what? I can install lots of programs, and run them, and even leave two to three dozen browser windows open from two different browsers, and do you know what? It works!

Now I don’t belong to the “Vista will kill me and my whole family if I let it in the house” school. I’ve worked with enough Vista systems to know that’s not so, and that it isn’t THAT bad.

No, I belong to the “What’s in it for me?” school. In a nutshell, Vista to me means “Buy twice the RAM, and it works almost as well as XP does with half the RAM.”

This is not terribly appealing, especially since the version of Vista being used 95% of the time can’t use any more RAM than XP, roughly 3.25GB. That means 64-bit Vista is my only real option, and we know that’s as neglected as the crazy aunt in the attic.

For me (and I suspect many of you), getting Vista is like taking lousing-tasting medicine when you’re healthy.

I understand many people need to be protected from themselves. I understand many people like to see pretty pictures. I don’t object to MS handling them, provided they let me turn such things off.

But I don’t buy a new OS for the thrill of turning off all the new features. After you turn all everything MS thinks you ought to have, what’s left that I think I ought to have?

So far, the answer is nothing. Until they put something in that Vista medicine that tastes better than my usual swig of XP, why bother?

I don’t need fewer or softer negatives to buy Vista; I need some positives.


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