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Windows 7 not much faster than Windows Vista – My first impressions of Windows 7


I wrote this in response to an article I saw regarding the relative speeds of Windows 7 and Vista.

I have a venerable 2.8GHz P4 with Intel RAID on 2x160GB HDD and a gig of RAM which I bought in 2003 or something… I only upgraded it once to a 256MB NVIDIA 7600 as I was running it as a Tiger Hackintosh for a couple of years. It really flew on Tiger, but I had a real Mac (albeit a G4) which was slower but much less flakey and so went back to the trouble free XP.
I then made the mistake of BUYING A BOX COPY (sheesh) of Vista Ultimate. My first ever Box OS purchase. My poor machine really felt its age since it would no longer play back HD videos smoothly, so the box went back to XP again and served as my main Playback device for my Projector for a couple of years.

On hearing all the Windows 7 brouhaha I decided to retry Vista with SP1 and about 75 incremental upgrades and put office 2003 and Zend Studio back on.

To be frank, It wasn’t as slow as I remembered it. It was as if the patches were just enough to allow my old faithful to climb back on to its feet.
And Aero’s 3D surfaces for each application actually meant the interface was MORE responsive and Mac Like since each app didn’t have to redraw when brought to the front. With the RAID disks, even 1Gb of RAM was usable (although multitasking slowed it much sooner than in XP).

I found myself honestly enjoyin using Vista for the last month or two and not missing XP, even when I had to really struggle to find any of the randomly shuffled functions.

Last month, I forced myself to make what I promised is the last upgrade to this machine and got 2GB RAM. My old faithful suddenly sprang to life… After a couple of days of heavy use, the memory was full, but it appeared to be about 1.5GB of cache! Office opened instantly (once I turned off min/maxing animations) ! I mean that literally. It was definitely faster than XP in general use and although 1080P HD Vid playback still stutters, my Leopard C2D Intel iMac w/ 4GB of DDR2 can’t match it for general interface response speed!!

So, to cut a long story medium, I installed the Windows 7 RC on the 2nd of May(!!!) expecting wonderful things… Firstly, the interface and colours remind me of a certain open source OS. Light, simple, breathy. Everything is simpler. I haven’t scratched my head as much as I got accustomed to with Vista, for sure.

However, I NOTICED NO SPEED INCREASE for my particular workload of Zend, Office and a Trial install of Illustrator CS4, indeed Office felt marginally slower which corroborates what was mentioned in the article. Instantaneous was replaced with a slightly annoying Almost Instantaneous, but not quite sort of feeling.

Still, benchmarks aside W7 is definitely less offensive to use than Vista.

In conclusion, then, I think it’s all about expectations. I was expecting molasses for Vista and got syrup – It felt good. i was expecting water for W7 and got slightly warmed syrup – I felt cheated and actually missed Vista’s moody dark interface.

Windows 7 is not much faster than Windows Vista but of course, YMMV.


Disclosure: I’m a “slider” rather than switcher, finding my Windows use fading out since 2005 on the release of the Mac Mini. My SOHO now consists of 6 Macs and only 3 PCs (one of which is a netbook). I now basically use Windows for Office 2003 compatibility and a label printer that refuses to talk Mac.

BTW, Vista Boot Camp on an Aluminium Mac 24″ w/ 4GB of RAM is THE FASTEST Office 2003 machine I have ever used. It’s shockingly instantaneous! If I had time, I’d install W7 on it, but I can’t be bothered.

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Is Microsoft Office 2008 for the Mac just revenge for the travesty that is Quicktime for Windows?

October 8, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve reported here on Office:Mac 2008 being the worst version of Office ever released for any platform. It’s buggy, runs slower than the previous version runs in emulation and it still lacks database software and is also missing Visual Basic, a key feature for any serious Excel user. In a word. Office:Mac 2008 is a lemon, and I want my money back.

But if you really, no, I mean REALLY want to talk about crap software produced by a world class company for another world class company’s operating system, then let’s not beat around the bush.

Quicktime for Windows is a dog. It’s an old dog, a mangy, old, lame dog which you just can’t seem to have put down despite serious, room filling flatulence.

It’s slow, buggy and is missing lots of features that many serious media users find indispensable.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes blogging for ZD-Net has shown that Quicktime on his old 512MB RAM Mac Mini on OS X outperforms his 8GB Quad Core Vista system.

Ah, Vista, I hear you say. But before you click the reply button, he states that using VLC or a real media player blows the Mini to smithereens, so it is a Quicktime for Windows issue.

So I’d make that a 1-1 Apple-Microsoft draw.

Difficulties installing Boot Camp 2.1

September 17, 2008 2 comments

I have an iMac 24″ running Vista under the Boot Camp that came with Leopard (v 2.0)

The next software update after installing Vista advised me that Boot Camp 2.1 was available, so I downloaded it but I couldn’t install it because an error appeared:

Error applying transforms. 
Verify that the specified transform paths are valid

The problem in my case was that I was using a localised version of Vista.

The Boot Camp software is stupidly American only. It expects to find a key in the (Windows) registry with the value 1033 (American English).

Instead, it found 1041 (Japanese) and the installer stalled!

The solution is simple:

<Now for the patronising bit>

First. Back up your Windows Registry.

Read through this post entirely before starting. If any of the terms are unfamiliar, write a comment asking for assistance.

If you don’t know how to backup your Windows Registry, or don’t know what a Registry is… or heaven forbid, what a backup is, you should stop reading this post right now, do a bit of googling and come back.

<OK, end of disclaimery patronising bittage>

  • To open the Registry editor click the start button and type regedit into the search field.
  • Select Edit and Find from the regedit menu and type “Boot Camp Services” then press enter.

Note that Services may be localised to the language of your system. In my case, it was

Boot Camp サービス

since I’m using Japanese Windows. You can search just for Boot Camp” if you’re not sure, but it may throw up lots of hits.

Edit the Language D-Word entry and change it to 409 in hexadecimal (should be 1033 decimal)
Re-run the installer.
Now you should be able to successfully installthe Boot Camp update.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Sun Tzu

July 1, 2008 Leave a comment

xp-gone

Windows XP is no more. The 30th of June signified the last day of the general availability of Windows XP, Microsoft’s most successful operating system to date.

In all fairness, it had its turn in the limelight. Dragged kicking and screaming prematurely from beta in 2001 in response, perhaps, to the newly released Mac OS X; itself an operating system with the stability of a newborn Bambi on ice.

XP has had perhaps the longest run of any popular operating system. A decent seven years! It saw off OS X 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4 and only now, at the maturing of OS X 10.5 Leopard does XP lay down its hat.

Seeing off the nay-sayers, the staunchest Windows 2000 supporters, the 98 holdouts, the raft of driver and compatibility problems that greeted it, it became the gamer’s and business users OS of choice alike, and by default simply because there was no competition.

XP was so strong that it became in the last year, Vista’s number one rival, even as Vista’s, Jabbaesque form heaved and laboured under its own mass, to lift itself out of the morass of sluggish performance and insane user interface reworkings.

There was XP, standing strong, as if saying, “See. I’m here for you, when you need me! And you do need me!”

It was in this capacity that XP found itself the “new” people’s champion: The symbol of resistance against a cruel, uncaring, over-marketed world.

in one swift and brilliant move, It turned itself from the unwelcome yet nevertheless tolerated partner to a symbol of the underdog fighting against the new colossus: A staunch ally, unappreciated yet ever there, forcing the industry to look before they leapt onto the new OS from hell. Vista, an OS so heavy that it dragged all but the newest machines whimpering to their knees, crippling performance and destroying productivity like a heavy dose of gout.

Vista was the new enemy that turned expensive computers into gaudy playthings with all the class of Paris Hilton stepping out of a stretch limo hand-in-hand with Britney. 

XP, we’d hoped you’d last until the promise of Windows 7, but it looks like too much for Microsoft’s ego to take and so they put you down, sweet XP, like the owner of an old dog who’s grown bored of the obsequious pawing and unwanted licking of palm.

May you Rest in Peace.

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