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Everything posted by NoelC

  1. As I mentioned, I HAD turned off the Meltdown and Spectre mitigations, and still noticed the 8% slowdown. What people subjectively observe and what objective measurements show can be two different things. I think I mentioned I measured the same slowdowns in Windows 7 as well. Something they've done to the basic structure of Windows has reduced its efficiency, and they apparently found no additional optimization to counteract it. -Noel
  2. FYI, I just did another benchmark run, after having run the post-patch removal bootup for 4 days (and having enjoyed the performance return). This set of recent benchmark comparisons says it all I think... The disk I/O seems to be what's most heavily impacted by the 2018 Windows Updates... -Noel
  3. Some benchmark results attached. Key things to look at: CPU and RAM benchmarks hold steady. This is not surprising - the hardware is the same. Windows 8.1 degraded (and made less consistent) the I/O benchmarks. This, however, was not really reflected in real world benchmarks, and the Advanced Disk Benchmark in the Passmark software (which simulates real usage) indicates that the overall I/O throughput is at its best levels ever at about 1700 MB/second. -Noel
  4. Besides using it for strenuous parts of my work continuously since 2012, I've done regular benchmarks on my current workstation after ANY change of software since it was running Windows 7. In October 2013 I upgraded it to Windows 8.1. Even though I know how to keep a Windows system working at tip-top performance, and even optimize it over time, there has been a decline in performance of the operating system on this hardware. The best performance overall, both in benchmarks and in real work, I experienced in 2013 before upgrading it to Windows 8.1. The overall hit to performance to move to Windows 8.1 was only a few percent overall, but it was noticeable. Since then I've upgraded the monitors and graphics card, having put a more powerful workstation card in it about a year ago. I've added some SSDs as data disks but they don't participate in the benchmarks. What have I seen? I have measured performance changes specifically seen in these discrete places: * In late 2013 I lost about 5% overall performance when Win 8.1 replaced Win 7. * Direct2D took a serious discrete performance hit that affected benchmarks overall but not really the real work I do back at the end of 2014. * I gained back some display performance, which boosted overall benchmark numbers a little, when I installed a new graphics card in mid 2017. * I saw an overall 5%+ overall performance loss with the June 2018 cumulative update with Spectre and Meltdown mitigations DISABLED, which I was able to undo (and regain performance) by uninstalling the update. The important thing about these losses is that they were in disk I/O and display performance, which really do affect real work. In summary: Comparing overall performance numbers from late 2013 running Windows 7 to the June 2018 Windows Update of Windows 8.1, and accounting for an approximately 4% overall score boost due to the new graphics card, I'd say performance is down today from when I first started carefully measuring this hardware's capability by about 15%, and this does not include the MAJOR performance hit due to Spectre and Meltdown mitigations when they are enabled. The difference, at this level, of the price of machines that can do X and 15% more than X is not insignificant. Add another 20% to 30% loss in performance if you DO want the Spectre and Meltdown mitigations. What price security? Don't let fear of the unknown blind you to the degradation of the operating system being systematically done by Microsoft. -Noel
  5. For what it's worth, I've seen an 8% slowdown from the latest Microsoft-promoted Windows Updates (i.e., what you get when you run Windows Update) on both Windows 8.1 and 7 systems. And that's with the Meltdown and Spectre mitigations DISABLED. I'm thinking December 2017 was a good stopping point for cumulative Windows 8.1 updates. I believe I'll be looking at your patch list here a lot more carefully in the near future. -Noel
  6. I had been holding my Win 8.1 workstation, which I use for my primary software engineering and business management work, at a December 2017 level of patching (i.e., I have avoided all core Windows Updates for it since December, though I have applied things like the Internet Explorer and Office updates). Being at a good breakpoint a few days ago, and equipped with at least 4 different methods for restoring my system should I wish to do so, I applied the June core cumulative Windows 8.1 update. My system had run 50 days flawlessly without a reboot prior to that. After the updates, benchmarks showed more than a 30% drop in overall performance, but 50% or more in the user interface (i.e., where you really feel it), and more than 30% in disk I/O operations. It turns out the Spectre and Meltdown mitigations are responsible for this, so I used the Gibson Research "InSpectre" tool to disable them. This caused the performance hit to drop to "only" 8%. That is to say, my system performance was 8% lower overall than it was at the December patch level. I have a number of both compute- and I/O-intensive jobs scheduled, for which I have good logs for recent runs. In particular, one build of a set of our software has been taking 47 minutes to complete. After the updates, the time jumped to 51 minutes - right in line with the 8% drop in performance the benchmarks showed. I found the same exact thing with a Windows 7 hardware system. Exactly the same slowdown with those silly mitigations disabled - 8% - and much more with them enabled. Is everyone just taking these performance hits without question or complaint? Are folks really so scared of the well-developed marketing campaigns for things like Spectre and Meltdown that they will pay any price for (a false sense of) security? -Noel
  7. Don't you do your own backups? I have completely shunned the cloud and yet - amazingly - I haven't lost any data since 1976 (though I admit that some of it is on punch cards and mag tape, which I never transferred into the PC environment). As far as files on my computer go, my oldest Word document in my Documents folder is from 1990 (which is when I started using Word). Never once have these documents been "on the cloud". You cannot espouse advantages of "cloud" computing - which differs from traditional computing with networking in one key point, you don't have control of the communications - because there simply are no advantages for users. The only advantages are for those who would seek to profit from handling your data. Surely you don't believe in a free lunch. The oldest program in my BIN folder is dated 1986, which is when I started accumulating useful applications. It no longer runs on my host system since it's a 16 bit application. However, to this day I still run the NT CLOCK32.EXE application, which is dated late 90s, on my desktop 24/7. Why? Because it accomplishes its purpose (showing me the time and date) with almost no resource consumption. The executable is a whole 42 kBytes in size. My point? There is no reason to believe that "newer is better" when it comes to software. People aren't any smarter than they were decades ago. If anything, they lack the wisdom and prowess people had to develop when computing was more expensive and difficult, and they weren't distracted by their damned phones all the time. -Noel
  8. Microsoft are slowly and steadily making the decisions NOT to upgrade to Win 10 on one's hardware more and more difficult to live with... What do I mean? I finally got to a point where I could test the latest Windows Updates on my Win 8.1 workstation. This is a top-end Dell machine that runs stably, facilitating my software and business management work, for months on end. TLDR: I experienced a REAL 8% drop in performance to bring it up to the current patch level, vs. keeping it at last December's patch level. This is EXACTLY what I experienced with Windows 7 on another machine as well. And these measurements, taken by looking at the overall times the machines take to get through some big regularly scheduled jobs, such as software builds or backups, are with the Spectre and Meltdown mitigations turned off! The performance impact is MUCH WORSE with the mitigations enabled, which is the default. Something like 30% worse. I'm considering backing out these updates from my Win 8.1 system. The difference in price at the level I'm doing computing to get 8% more performance is not insignificant! Hardly anyone is talking about this... Are we all SO willing to see our machines run into the ground just to feel "safer" from the unknown? All the while Windows 10 - you know, the one with the largest number of vulnerabilities uncovered each month - is touted as "the most secure Windows ever"? What price security? -Noel
  9. Oops, looks like with the latest debug build the caption buttons on Apps are gone. They were working OK with the release. I presume this must not be common as others would surely have noticed. I only rarely run any Apps here on this test system, and I noticed it with the Settings App... It's not a big deal, I can close it from the Taskbar. -Noel
  10. You're probably right. My first attempt was to just disable AeroHost in the Task Scheduler, then reboot, but I forgot I have an unsigned theme, so that resulted in my not being able to log back in. I had forgotten to disable the theme. Second attempt, after restoring my VM to the prior snapshot, was just to rename the DWMGlass.dll, which I've done before. Problem this time was that I didn't actually stop AeroHost. My mistake. And now I've misplaced the command line that can re-enable an unsigned theme. Sigh. Between the occasional failures to log in and trouble when trying to update Aero Glass components, I'm starting to feel a bit of "custom theme fatigue". In short, it's starting to feel like more trouble than it's worth just to have buttons with visual styles. I know I would be bothered more if it were my daily use machine, but in a VM just for testing I think maybe I'll just leave the rectangular, lifeless Windows theme in place. I'll keep the Aero Glass tools in place for the borders, though. -Noel
  11. Seems to work OK here - but then the last one did too. In order to try the new version I had to deconfigure my alternate theme (it was Aero 7) in order to reboot without Aero Glass, so that DWMGlass.dll could then be replaced. Renaming is no longer possible. Thanks, Microsoft - for making Windows 10 a little bit harder to tweak. Out of curiosity, Big Muscle, what would it take to port your most recent work back into a Windows 8.1-compatible version? Is that infeasible at this point? I had a small glitch earlier today that sounds a lot like what you just fixed for Windows 10. -Noel
  12. Hm, good point. I haven't tried 1.4.6 again on my Win 8.1 setup since having upgraded from ATI Radeon HD 7850 to nVidia Quadro P2000. Part of me says "if it works, don't fix it"... Should I experiment or leave well enough alone? Decisions, decisions... -Noel
  13. See if you can still find a tool online called Folder Options X by T800 Productions. -Noel
  14. Nothing like that happens in Explorer here when I drag the corner of a selection region around. My blur is set as shown in this screen grab... You might need to set Explorer to use a regular tree control instead of the buggy re-implementation Microsoft did to get the entire line to select when you click on a file. FYI, being a graphics software developer myself I'd suggest using something (anything) other than an old ATI card. ATI has surpassed Intel as being the number one pain in our backsides with regard to display driver glitches. -Noel
  15. THANK YOU Big Muscle! I sent another small donation your way. I hope it makes your Christmas brighter! Version 1.5.7 is awesome; quite functional and trouble-free for those who know how to set things up. -Noel
  16. With all the hype about "improving" the Windows Update process... I had my Win 10 v1709 test VM at 16299.19 with 100% perfect system integrity. It's a clean, well setup system I use for testing. Then I ran Windows Update. It found the Malicious Software Removal Tool, a Flash update, and other stuff typically delivered with Windows Update. But it did NOT find KB4048955 nor bring the system up to 16299.64. But here's the kicker: It did NOT emit any kind of error message! Only running the .msu directly from the catalog brought the system up to 16299.64, so my conclusion is that Windows Update is no longer trustworthy (not that anything about Microsoft is trustworthy any more). It's just a small step from "Something Happened" to emitting no message at all, I suppose, but... Good software doesn't work this way. Good systems don't expect that you have to reinstall or buy a new one every year. -Noel
  17. Note the problems Big Muscle has with keeping Aero Glass for Win 8+ compatible. It seems to me that no more needs to be said about updates getting in the way of things. -Noel
  18. I have noticed my ReFS drive occasionally wakes up and does some things - presumably the self-checking/healing that the file system does. But it's not excessive nor even all that often. My judgment is that it's not hard on the drive. And the alternative - bit rot not noticed until the data is needed - is worse. All that being said, that Microsoft hasn't made it possible to set it up as a boot drive and now the restriction to the "Workstation" edition seems to say that Microsoft isn't really serious about it being used by actual people. -Noel
  19. Thanks, Mike. For a while I found that Pale Moon - which I have been evaluating to see whether I could use it exclusively - won't even open the editor here, but Internet Explorer will allow me to type messages as it always has. Even though Big Muscle has made Aero Glass for Win 8+ work yet again with v1709 (though a bit buggy and slow at the moment), in all seriousness I fear Aero Glass for Win 8+ is probably on its last legs - mainly because Windows is on its last legs. The relentless re-release pace just kills everything creative. -Noel
  20. The latest version,, finally works for me (the prior ones crashed DWM hard, to the point where I couldn't even start Aero Glass). Thank you, Big Muscle. Though I've put in my own theme atlas (trivial to use the RoundedCorners.png that I had made before, since Big Muscle implemented the .layout translation feature), I have not yet done a full theme replacement. I really dislike flat, lifeless controls, and I had a pretty usable setup with v1703 that rounded the corners of buttons and gave them a little more recognizability using an aero7 replacement theme. Since themes cut deep and could pose stability problems, I would like to hear from others who have both added Aero Glass and have found a good theme that both rounds the corners of buttons and gives skeuomophism (3D appearance) to controls. EDIT: I have successfully loaded the aero7 theme by sagorpirbd. That still seems to work OK. VMware Workstation Pro 14 is facilitating full-screen operation of my test VM for me again (I had lost that with version 11), so it's possible to immerse myself completely in my tweaked Win 10 to do real fitness for purpose testing. I've already done some of that with the stock Windows 10 (lack of) theme and found that after a whole day of using it heavily for my work I was more tired than when I had a more elegant theme. It seems to have enough functionality, though. FYI, there are a couple of visual glitches to report: 1. An inactive normal GDI window uses the active border from the theme atlas (you might have accidentally switched active/inactive border coloration in the code). This doesn't seem to happen on ribbon-enabled windows. Note the slight blue coloration in the border of the "Inactive normal window" Notepad instance in this screen grab, for example: 2. You can also see in the above that the title coloring and backing are not working for the Wordpad window. 3. I didn't get a screen grab but I lost the upper-right corner of an Internet Explorer window on my right monitor once so far when using Windows 10 in full-screen mode across all monitors. 4. Moving windows around seems quite slow (just a few frames per second refreshes), even though I've got a pretty fast system and a very good video card. I can possibly attribute this to running Win 10 in a VM, though most everything else seems fast. -Noel
  21. All I can say is this: I've immersed myself (as I do with each new release) by making my Win 10 v1709 VM full-screen across my 3 monitors for a day and a half now. The out-of-box (lack of) theme is FAR less usable than what I had accomplished with Aero Glass for Win 8+ before. And it's not about the translucency alone; it's about the ability to perceive the edges of windows, finding controls visually, using resizing borders, and just in general being irritated a little bit all the time by things that lack elegance. -Noel
  22. I honestly wouldn't blame Big Muscle if he chooses to give up on trying to follow Microsoft down their unending series of rabbit holes. Nor would I blame him if he personally decided to stick with an older version of Windows and stop developing for Windows 10 entirely. Microsoft have gone out of their way to make it difficult for anyone to deliver a theme that's anything but ugly - and you can be sure that's being done on purpose. I'd like to personally thank Big Muscle (in addition to the donations I've sent him) for having tried so valiantly to make Windows 10 easy on the eyes thus far. It's been fun. But the Fall Creator's update is going further from a proper path than any version yet, and I know I'm not going to use it except as a curiosity on a virtual machine. I'm going to continue use Windows 8.1 for my engineering work - the last perpetually licensed version with a still distant End Of Life date. And it works just fine with Aero Glass version -Noel
  23. Why bother if it's going to "match" the one that's already native to that device? Microsoft thinks that they can just follow what people have already done, with nothing innovative or different whatsoever, and because it's them they'll be wildly successful? -Noel
  24. LOL, I finally got my Win 10 test system to update, and courtesy the newest VMware Workstation release I can go back to full-screen immersion on all 3 monitors. My plan was to give v1703 a real workout, once I got the latest update, using it as my primary system for a few days just as I do my Win 8.1 host system. Now a new problem has arisen... I absolutely can't make it see the shares on my Win 7 server system. It just won't connect. I have put much effort into it, and I know a thing or two about Windows networking. Apparently Win 10 and Win 7 just aren't speaking the same language. The Win 7 system can see the Win 10 shares. The Win 10 system can see the Win 8.1 shares. But the Win 10 system can't see the Win 7 shares. My server is named SVN. All my systems have been able to see \\SVN\C for example (a share of drive C, where administrators have full permissions). All systems use the same username/password, and that user is a member of Administrators on all systems. It's very well integrated - when it works. The Win 10 system can't see shares on \\SVN at all. Instead it requires me to enter \\SVN.carboni.lan (my local domain) to be able to sense there's a computer out there at all, and it incessantly asks for a username and password. When is a local account not the same as what a local account used to be? The crap intensifies. -Noel
  25. Most executable code gets dates built into it (if nothing else, into the security signature tacked onto the end). If an .exe or .dll file has 10 megabytes in it and time it was built causes it to be considered different, it's not all 10 megabytes that are different, yet I'd imagine most tools would consider the whole thing needing to be updated. You bring up a good point, though... Being able to generate EXACTLY the same image used to be considered a good thing, once upon a time in software engineering. Now everyone pretty much extends a leap of faith that their compilations, which may differ a little from build to build, work consistently. -Noel
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