Windows Rot
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Joined: August 30, 2008
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Windows Rot
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Posted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:06 am
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So, I've had my laptop for quite a few years now... 2007 Vintage.
Don't get me wrong, it was top of the line when I bought it, so it's still got semi-decent specs... But she was getting sloooowww...

Not "Spyware Infestation" slow... I'm fairly computer-savvy (says the guy tasked with keeping this site running.) Just slow...
Which I'd chalked down to the fact that I work on two top-of-the-line desktops that are less than six months old, and I thought maybe I was just expecting too much out of it...

Then, the other day, I got to thinking (with a bit of prompting from Cynake... Yeah, he still turns up now and then...) that maybe, it's just Windows Rot...

What's Windows Rot, you might ask? Well, it depends on who you ask...
Some people will tell you it's a complete line of BS... (These people are deluded)... Some people will blame Spyware... (A possible cause for a large amount of windows slowdown in the general population, but not here...) And then there's the cause of THIS slow down. Windows Itself.

Don't get me wrong, we're not talking planned obselensence here. (although, I wouldn't be surprised...) But simply, what happens to Windows with age...
As programs are installed and uninstalled, bits and pieces of the old installs are left behind. The registry becomes bloated, the hard drive becomes clogged with leftover files in key areas, and regardless of how careful you are, at least one or two key windows files are going to get corrupted in a several year ride.

The solution? Well... Unfortunately, re-format, and re-install.
Tada, Windows is good as new again... Reinstall the Service Packs and Updates that have been released in the interim (being careful to install the Service Packs first, to avoid double-updates taking up space and memory) and we're good to go.
And it's a damn site faster.

Unfortunately, along the several year ride you've had with your favourite Desktop/Laptop, you've gotten everything tweaked... JUST the way you like it.

The next solution? Well, apparently, starting with Vista, there's Windows Easy Transfer...
Supposedly, this will back up files and settings, and let you restore them on your new PC.

Well, I'm giving it a try as we speak... Whether this "files and settings" transfer will bring useless Registry Entries and Files along with it, causing Windows to just slow right back down again... Remains to be seen.

To be honest, I don't actually need to use this at all... In fact, I mirrored a complete copy of the hard drive over, just in case this turns out to be useless, and I need to reformat AGAIN... That being said though, I thought I'd give it a try... And maybe this'll give some of you with sloooowwww PC's out there an avenue that doesn't involve dropping a bunch of cash.



Joined: June 15, 2011
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Posted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:54 am
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Windows Rot makes perfect sense.

However, I wouldn't recommend Vista. :| My experience with it was horrid. XP and 7 are gold to me. Although now I'm also learning to use Mac OS X - Lion. I just got an iMac on Saturday and I'm new to the world of -new- Mac stuff. The last Mac I used was I think a G3. LOL I still have my Handy Dandy Laptop running Windows 7 though. Smile I <3 Win7

Joined: August 30, 2008
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Posted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:16 am
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Shiouri wrote:
Windows Rot makes perfect sense.

However, I wouldn't recommend Vista. :| My experience with it was horrid. XP and 7 are gold to me. Although now I'm also learning to use Mac OS X - Lion. I just got an iMac on Saturday and I'm new to the world of -new- Mac stuff. The last Mac I used was I think a G3. LOL I still have my Handy Dandy Laptop running Windows 7 though. Smile I <3 Win7


Vista is fine... The problem is, everyone (including me) loaded up Vista for the first time, and then promptly ran away screaming "OMGNOEZ TEEH CHANGE IZ BAAAADDDDD!!!111111111" without giving it a chance... The release version had compatability problems, and if you installed it on hardware designed pre-Vista it was even worse.
Sound a bit like the pre-XP move to XP to anyone else? Yeah, me too...
Or hell, any Previous update for that matter...
Windows 98 anyone? Sure, you all loved it! But you didn't love 98... I've got $5 says you loved 98SE

Once you sit down with Vista (and especially post-Service Pack 1) for a while, and get used to it... You'll quite possibly find (like me) that you prefer it to Windows 7... It's prettier than XP, runs smoother and faster... Without being as "dumbed down" (not to mention even less compatible with older software/hardware) as Windows 7.
I'm not going to knock 7, I use it on my desktop at home, and at work... But they were designed for it... My laptop was designed for Vista. Not to mention I'm not shelling out the cash for a Win7 Upgrade.

They're not without their problems, both Vista and 7... Older (pre-XP usually (it's not fond of the NT architecture), but some XP era stuff as well) won't run on Vista or 7... And there's a LOT of older stuff that 7 rejects unless you know which MSDN Article to go download your compatability update from...

At the end of the day, it's all personal preference... But in my opinion, Vista got one HELL of a bad rap...



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Posted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:22 am
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I'm going to make the jump to Linux.... no really I am... honest, it's gonna happen... (It really will, some day)

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Posted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:32 am
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K/K wrote:
I'm going to make the jump to Linux.... no really I am... honest, it's gonna happen... (It really will, some day)


Oh I love Linux, don't get me wrong Smile
Keep a seperate partition for it... But Linux isn't without its own issues. (Hardward compatability, while improving, is still the major one.)

And when your job requires Windows? Yeah, the buck (literally) stops there.



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Posted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:50 am
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I don't think it will pull the bulk of the registry with it, that would cause way to many secondary issues; however I've never used it.

I much prefer the Easter egg hunt method of finding everything.

Joined: August 30, 2008
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Posted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:11 am
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Well folks, the results are in..

Windows is up and running... Smoothly, I might add. The tools works as advertised... Almost.
The registry is remarkably uncluttered, but the hard drive is half full again... But that, is to be expected.

It brought across everything you'd expect it to...
My IE Favourites
My Documents, Movies, Pictures, Music.
Even un-attached sub-folders in my User Directory (Users\Alex\Web Design) were transfered.
My Outlook data was brought along for the ride... All downloaded Emails *and* account information.

It didn't bring across previously installed programs, but then, I didn't expect it to...
The registry settings, and files kicking across the hard drives, make this task almost impossible.

I asked it to bring a few folders from my root C: drive across, and low and behold... They arrive unscathed.

I decided to test the "Program Settings" feature when doing the transfer... To see what it would bring...
Worked great with Microsoft Products... Not so hot with everything else...
There was close to 40,000 files kicking around in Program Files that I needed to get rid of... Easily identifiable, thanks to the lower case folder names written by the tool...
It failed, however, to bring across things I would have liked it to, like mIRC Channel logs. Just because they lived elsewhere (Users\Alex\AppData\Roaming\mIRC)

For someone as computer savvy as me, this tool was actually more trouble than doing the transfer myself.

For the average computer user who doesn't have the first clue where Outlook stores its Data... Who wants to ensure that everything makes it... Or who wants to use a DVD Burner to copy the files (the tool will span multiple discs with ease)... etc, it's a great idea.

*so reviewed*

For my next trick... Anyone who's worried about Windows Rot, feel free to pester me, and I'll help you (as best I can) through starting fresh yourselves.



Joined: May 08, 2010
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Posted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:07 pm
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I've been having the same troubles with my lappy (probably about the same vintage as yours). I've been thinking recently of trying one of those programs that's supposed to clean up your registry and stuff. I really don't want to reinstall/reformat because: 1. I don't actually have a copy of xp that I could use on the lappy because it came preinstalled and the xp I do have is for my second desktop and 2: there are some programs that I have on there that I couldn't reinstall now if I wanted to and I'm not sure I could back them up. I should probably try though.......

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Posted on Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:12 pm
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CCleaner has a decent registry cleaning app built in.

For the most part I don't trust any software that focuses on registry cleaning, it's been a huge target for malware for many years.

The windows registry is not a great place for a normal user to muck about unless they are really keen on doing a full reinstall.

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Posted on Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:43 pm
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I echo ccleaner, its excellent for clearing out the registry and other junk files. I would also recommend mydefrag for disk defragmentation, it has a variety of scripts for different disks data/system.

Vista and 7 are identical in GUIs, however vista in my experience has been very problematic in long term uses. It uses more system resources than 7 and over all isn't worth upgrading. If your machine runs xp it will run 7. Also in some cases you can use xp driver files for 7. Don't use the automatic installation, load them manually. It'll say it has failed, but then detect and use the driver. Nifty trick I've used on many older graphic cards.

Overall I say skip vista and go to 7, you'll be better off in the long run. Also shoot for the pro version, its much more open to technical minded people.

EDIT: Missed the post where you installed windows, good luck!

Joined: May 07, 2008
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OT: Windows Rot
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Posted on Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:10 pm
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Oh, there were times when Win7 wasn't more than a rumor, so everybody who wanted something newer than XP had to use Vista. I belong to these people, and my current PC's very first installation works up to today - for near to three years now, and even surviving numerous updates including a service pack and many hardware changes. While my system begins to show some rot tendencies (hardware begins to give up), it basically continues to work reliably. It has proven to be the most stable Microsoft OS I ever had on my own PCs - except my stone-age DOS versions 2.11, 4.01, and 6.22 my first three ones were installed with.

And as Win7 is basically an UI update on top of a mainly unchanged OS core (to be honest: it's what Vista should have become already on release), I see no justification for updating a working Vista U64 installation to Seven. And even in case of a necessary reinstall due to e.g. a (hopefully never happening) successful virus attack I would NOT do a major version change. But once I build my new PC, I'll install what is the current most modern version - then, on that machine.

-ZiLi-


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Posted on Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:25 am
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Windows rot? I think mine was gangrene. Week or so ago I started getting various blue screens. Nothing new, I just reformat and go on. This time tho, as soon as I get a few updates in it starts all over again. Sometimes while still booting up. Reformat again, this time I'm getting update errors. So I can only do a few at a time. BSODs start again. After an update I get a message saying something made an unauthorized change to Windows, wont complete start up. Cant get into safe mode. Reformat again, again its update errors, BSOD over and over. I finally got tired of it and completely wiped out Windows and installed Ubuntu. Been running it for 3 days now with no problems. Now I just have to learn my way around it.

BTW, ran all the antivirus, malware programs, ran all the memory and disk checks, even rolled back to Vista. Nothing helped.

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Posted on Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:21 am
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Ok... ya twisted my arm... I'm tired of my old acer running like a wounded water buffalo. Going to back everything up and load Windows 7 this weekend. Now where did I put those blank DVDs?

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Posted on Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:44 pm
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Running like a wounded water buffalo? Coif LoL What an apt analogy that is! I'm trying to figure out what I did with my windows 7 disk because I need to reload it onto my new harddrive so that I can wipe my old one. I hate apartments that eat things...

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Posted on Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:05 pm
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epiphany2006 -

That sounds like either a memory or HDD issue, or perhaps both. It's a bit odd that Ubuntu works fine, but it does have a smaller memory footprint, so it may not have hit the bad memory location.

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