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A year later, Vista SP1 or XP SP3


iwod
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A year later, Vista SP1 or XP SP3  

150 members have voted

  1. 1. Is Vista Good enough yet?

    • I am Sticking to XP
      84
    • Vista is great!
      66


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However I disagree that drivers on CDs are worse or older. They can't be older than the hardware itself.

Drivers on CDs are pressed in LARGE batches when the hardware comes out (it's more economical to get lots done at once). Then they ship those for a LONG time. And then they sit in different warehouses and such for a long time. And then on store shelves, etc. By the time you buy the hardware, the drivers on CDs are quite old. Also, lots of such CDs like to install a LOT of garbage (like an outdated acrobat reader 5, and more junk like quicktime), and that's when your hardware is brand new. Fast forward 2 or 3 years and reinstall Windows -- those drivers on CD are probably 5 years old at that point (beyond outdated). In Vista's case too, the drivers can't be older than the hardware... Unless MS has a time travel machine.

And if the hardware is newer than the driver coming with Vista then it's not older.

If he hardware is newer than Vista, then Vista doesn't come with the driver (again, no time travel). And if it's older and Vista has it, then most likely Vista's driver is newer.

But ok, if that doesn't slow down the system, doesn't make a virus check 10x longer, is not recopied endlessly at each system back-up, and can be deleted if I want to for some reason, then: why not? But that remains to be verified.

It doesn't get executed or anything, so it doesn't slow down the system. Only abut half of that is even binaries, so it only adds 200MB or so to a virus check (which is really nothing considering I have 10's of GBs of stuff to scan in the first place -- not that I even run an AV mind you; but nod32 would scan that 200MB in mere miliseconds). Backups? It totally depends on your backup app of course (and unless it sucks, you could tell it not to backup those if you wanted; and it would make no difference on differential/incremental backups either). Can be deleted? I don't see why not...

As for indexing, it's a matter of opinion. There's millions of downloads of such apps (like Google Desktop search and dozens of others) so obviously there is a demand, and every other OS also does this (e.g. OS X's Finder). It's no more work to disable it (opt-out) if you don't want it then it would be to enable it if you want it (opt-in). Whether it should be enabled or disabled by default is really a personal preference. Either opinion is valid, and it doesn't matter which one they chose, some people won't agree in either case.

When Windows 3.1 came out computers most poeple had were clearly not up to the task.

Like I said before, it wasn't limited to 3.1 at all...

windows95 which was THE real revolution in personal computing.

That's a matter of opinion (and I don't agree at all with that statement personally). It had a new GUI (including a start menu), and some stuff installed by default (like a network stack), but other than that... It also ran like crap on most systems out at the time (486'es). It ran "just OK" on my brand new $3000 P1 at the time (OS/2 ran circles around it)

There is also a big difference albeit not as big, with the w98-to-Xp era and today. For the same reason: computer hardwares don't evoluate as fast as before.

I disagree on everything again. XP and 98 don't even compare. They're worlds apart, in design, function and everything. Also, the speed at which hardware improves hasn't slowed down at all. We now have dirt cheap dual cores (my $70 E2160 benches 3x faster than the old P4 3GHz I just got rid of), we got quad cores under $200, PCI-e 2.0, USB3, super fast DDR3, always-faster video cards, Nehalem is just around the corner, SSDs are starting to become a reality, etc.

5 years ago, you could buy the fastest processor on the shelve, one moth later a friend of you would show up boasting an even faster one.

Hasn't changed one bit. Go buy a Q9650, next month they'll have the new Bloomfield core-based CPUs, then die shrinks, Nehalem, etc. If anything, new processors are coming out faster than ever, and there's no signs of it slowing down.

Now let's say Xp needs 512 Mb (of memory) to run smoothly (not the minimum requirement but where we are confortable), and w98 128 Mb. That's 384 Mb more.

No, that's rather 4x as much RAM (besides comparing 98 to XP is much of an apples to oranges comparison). It still isn't an issue at all, as long as you can get at least 4x as much RAM for the same price.

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The way I see it, yes XP is great but we all gotta move on. This isn't to say that I am going to abandon XP, heck I still run a Windows 98 box at home. But the fact that SP1 has made Vista livable is a great sign. To tell you the truth, I haven't even used SP3 on XP and probably won't. There isn't enough demand for it, and personally I don't see a reason to get it.

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To tell you the truth, I haven't even used SP3 on XP and probably won't. There isn't enough demand for it, and personally I don't see a reason to get it.

I feel quite the opposite. One big reason is stability - hundreds of hotfixes between SP2 and SP3. There are very few new things (most notably the networking services) introduced and I can live with them because:

1. I understand they are needed for Vista connectivity

2. (In theory) In the meantime, Microsoft has learned new ways of doing things, so let's give them a chance.

3. No (massive) errors reported with them so far.

4. They can be nLited away (not all of them currently, but I hope that will be improved). :)

So XP SP3 is a winner in my book.

GL

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Crahak,

I don't think M$ rewrites these thousands of drivers. Except for the native windows drivers, I'm sure that they are all collected from the manufacturers. I even doubt that they looked for updated ones when they compiled the Vista's driver collection.

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Crahak,

I don't think M$ rewrites these thousands of drivers. Except for the native windows drivers, I'm sure that they are all collected from the manufacturers. I even doubt that they looked for updated ones when they compiled the Vista's driver collection.

Yes, the drivers are provided by the manufactuers prior to RTM, and these are tested thoroughly to work properly. After that, driver updates provided from Microsoft are pushed down from Windows Update, but these are also provided by the vendor. Microsoft only provides Microsoft drivers for Microsoft-branded hardware and for generic print drivers (like generic/text).

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I've been using Windows Vista Ultimate since it's corporate launch and how much I like certain new features, I'm going to reinstall Windows XP Professional in the nearby future. I have good contacts with Microsoft. There are still several bugs in Windows Vista which annoy me and which Microsoft have admitted that they are indeed bugs, but which have not been solved with SP1. Certain software is not compatible with Windows Vista and although this is not a problem with Windows Vista, but actually with the software vendors, it also makes me want to get rid off Windows Vista. The latest problem in a new update, which resulted in my mouse behaving silly at times when selecting text for example. Again Microsoft have admitted the bug, but when it will be fixed, no one can tell me. Windows Vista also does too much thinking for me. When I want to create a new folder for example in the Start Menu, when I want to copy files into the Program Files folder, et cetera. Windows Vista annoys me, but I'll have to deal with it until I have moved houses, since I don't have time to get rid off it at the moment. Windows XP all the way for now and waiting impatiently for the follow up to Windows Vista, codenamed Windows 7.

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After putting together a new rig i made the move to vista ultimate 64 bit. been using it for two months now with only occasional compatability problems. but then again to be fair i use xplorer2, aston shell and opera. same as windows me the os that came in my first pc........

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I'll never go back to XP - Vista is more secure, more dependable, and easier to fix than XP. On the down side, I can't use my Hauppage PVR-250 with it - so I had to plug the TV cable directly into my monitor. Any other hardware/software - I just bit the bullet and upgraded it as needed.

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I can't use my Hauppage PVR-250 with it

They have Vista drivers, just not Vista x64 drivers... Can't say Hauppauge's support is that great though (most recent driver seems to be 3 years old!)

Little things like this are why I don't use x64 *yet*. I'll probably make the switch sometime after the holidays though (I'll likely upgrade RAM to 8GB around then).

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... but then again to be fair i use xplorer2, aston shell and opera. same as windows me the os that came in my first pc........

Yeah, Vista's Explorer realy sucks. I can't stand it more than 20 seconds. That's maybe the worse part of Vista.

But Explorer in older versions of windows were not much better.

When you install an alternative and far better file manager (as well as other apps such as another web browser, another calculator, another Notepad etc), you realize that an OS is not just Windows Explorer. Something that too many poeple mix up. They complain about stuffs in Explorer while they just ought to change it.

That's why I'm the advocate of Modular Windows, where exprimented users (those who have already used a computer) can instal just what they want, benefiting from the new technologies (the invisible ones) and install the external apps of they are familiar with, partialy avoiding the eternal learning curve. The choice of alternative application, unlike OSes, is larger everyday.

Edited by Fredledingue
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I've seen code that is pretty big that takes into account the register pairing and chache predictions execute quicker than small chunks of code. Smaller code is not always better.

I would agree only with "less lines of machine code in a given execution path (i.e. disregarding exception handling code) would run faster than a larger number of lines in the same path" and "more lines of (source or machine) code increases the risk of introducing bugs".

Hhowever, the (security, stability, extra feature) benefits of the changes/extensions to code (IMO) outweigh the potential performance hit and risk of bugs (as the internal, alpha and beta testing phases before the release candidates will identify and nail the vast majority of the bugs anyway).

Here's an example. If I have misunderstood you then I apologize.

Here's 2 versions of the same code. The 1st one is small.

strlen:
xor eax, eax
mov ecx, [esp+4] ; get the string

cmp byte ptr [ecx], 0; is end of string?
je @2 ; yes then exit
@1:
inc eax ; inc count
cmp byte ptr [ecx+eax], 0; is end of string?
jne @1 ; nope, go again
@2:
ret

2nd version, although bigger, executes quicker.

strlen:
push ebx
mov ecx, [esp+8] ; get pointer to string
mov eax, ecx ; copy pointer
and ecx, 3 ; lower 2 bits of address, check alignment
jz L2 ; string is aligned by 4. Go to loop
and eax, -4 ; align pointer by 4
mov ebx, [eax] ; read from nearest preceding boundary
shl ecx, 3 ; mul by 8 = displacement in bits
mov edx, -1
shl edx, cl ; make byte mask
not edx ; mask = 0FFH for false bytes
or ebx, edx ; mask out false bytes

; check first four bytes for zero
lea ecx, [ebx-01010101H] ; subtract 1 from each byte
not ebx ; invert all bytes
and ecx, ebx ; and these two
and ecx, 80808080H ; test all sign bits
jnz L3 ; zero-byte found

; Main loop, read 4 bytes aligned
L1: add eax, 4 ; increment pointer by 4
L2: mov ebx, [eax] ; read 4 bytes of string
lea ecx, [ebx-01010101H] ; subtract 1 from each byte
not ebx ; invert all bytes
and ecx, ebx ; and these two
and ecx, 80808080H ; test all sign bits
jz L1 ; no zero bytes, continue loop

L3: bsf ecx, ecx ; find right-most 1-bit
shr ecx, 3 ; divide by 8 = byte index
sub eax, [esp+8] ; subtract start address
add eax, ecx ; add index to byte
pop ebx
ret

The strlen example may not seem like a big deal to most, and it may well not be, but when dealing with lots of data, as most programs do, then the small version becomes a bottleneck. The second version operates quicker. I also have an SSE2 example that's even faster than the 2nd.

A lot of the userland functions in Windows are compiled C/C++ code that doesn't translate to very well optimized code. The compiler in most cases produces some nasty code and there are very few specific optimizations in the WIN32 API. I know this isn't 20 years ago and the meticulous optimization practices that were onced used don't need to be used on every single piece of code. But for those routines that are executed over and over, some form of manual optimization needs to be done. Just because CPUs are in the Ghz range doesn't mean code can't be a bottleneck.

It would be nice if MSFT would take Windows and just do a major optimization and tweaking to the underlying code. I'd rather have a fast more stable version than one with yet more "features" and greater inefficency.

That's why I'm the advocate of Modular Windows,

+1

Edited by MrCobra
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But Windows is expensive to produce (man hours == $), so who pays for it? I have heard quite a few here say Windows is too expensive already - so who pays for the optimization?

/totally a devil's advocate post/

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AFAIK modular Windows has been discussed in depth at Microsoft (from a few conversations I've had there). And, again AFAIK, it's just not feasible to turn Windows into this without a lot of work.

Windows is sort of a one-size-fits-all OS. It tries to do everything for everyone. They also use versioning (Home Basic, Home Premium, etc) to pitch optimized packages at different types of users. But this is a marketing thing, not an OS essential thing.

So, for most people, it does what's needed. Those of us who are more technically oriented (who, by the way, are in the minority of Windows users) are just trying to get a one-size-fits-all OS to meet our needs. Unfortunately, the compromises that are necessary to fit the OS to all users will inevitably leave some of us feeling unsatisfied with what's there. If we get fed up enough, we move elsewhere.

In the end, the consumer pays for it (and not just the average user - but the big businesses also). If they don't pay for it, then Microsoft will have to go out of business. We vote with our wallets. :)

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I have heard quite a few here say Windows is too expensive already - so who pays for the optimization?

That's what it really comes down to. Yes, everything could be hand-optimized asm. But the development costs would spike incredibly.

Nowadays, all developers are dead-set against premature optimization (profile, then optimize the parts that actually need it).

The second version operates quicker. I also have an SSE2 example that's even faster than the 2nd.

The second version is also a lot more complex than not only the first, but MUCH more than the C or C++ version. You'd need to hire a LOT of asm gurus to optimize everything like that too, and that doesn't come for free (like cluberti said). Plus, higher LoC count usually means more bugs, hence higher maintenance costs and all that. And there is far more to it than just that! You'd have your i386-hand optimized version, then your other code paths for different processor capabilities (e.g. your SSE2 version of that) plus processor feature detection and such all over the place, so now you're maintaining like 6 different code paths, which are each 50x longer than the original (so like 300x more code), which took a LOT longer to write, likely contains more bugs, and takes more time to maintain, etc. The project very quickly becomes a even bigger monster, which makes it that much more difficult to manage.

Mind you, I'm all for optimizing stuff that actually needs it/benefits from it, up to a reasonable point (things like video codecs, and those already are).

Optimization is always a trade off. The more you do, the more your product will cost (and people REALLY don't want that), and the less you do, the more hardware it'll require (users don' really want that either). It's a matter of hitting the sweet spot. If it runs on commodity hardware, then there's little point in spending millions of $ to optimize it further, but if it requires VERY expensive computers to run, then nobody would buy it, so then they spend the $ there...

And while optimization is nice, most people wouldn't upgrade if it wasn't for the new features and eye candy. "Now with 5% faster DLLs!" won't sell a new $200 OS. They got a LOT of shortcomings to address (I think I made a pretty good list there) -- some points being WAY overdue, and personally I'd like to see them work on that first, as long as it keeps running on commodity hardware.

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They got a LOT of shortcomings to address (I think I made a pretty good list there) -- some points being WAY overdue, and personally I'd like to see them work on that first, as long as it keeps running on commodity hardware.
One person's shortcoming list is another person's not important list ;). Anyway, I liked your list and wanted to touch on it (forgot that thread existed after awhile ;)):

[*]virtual desktops/workspaces/viewports or whatever you wanna call those things

- I'm pretty sure the Windows desktop is gonna stay one per user, just because of the userbase. The kinds of users who would use/understand this and not get confused is pretty small.

[*]make aero more like compiz fusion (pretty much all of the features)

- Hard to say how Aero will go, long term, but it probably isn't gonna change much if at all anytime soon. Once there's a desktop "feel" people get used to, it takes a long time to change (hey, 6 years from 95 to XP's "lego", and 6 years from XP to Vista's "Aero". Expect maybe another 6 years? ;)

[*]a built-in SSH server (yeah, I do know about PowerShell remoting) and a client too

- Microsoft uses telnet for some reason over SSH, and I would love to see security get into the OS here, as it could be well used. The OpenSSH implementation is a BSD licensed product, so it could be done. I guess we'll have to see if Microsoft will replace telnet with OpenSSH.

[*]utils like process explorer, process monitor and autoruns should be part of the OS/default install

- Give it time, I'm guessing this will happen. Although keeping them updated as Russinovich updates them might be a problem, it is still a good goal.

[*]make the zip file handling not suck (and handle more than .zip, that thing is useless; just add .7z support, and no one would use zip anymore in a couple years)

[*]make the CD burning not suck (a real burning app for a change, like nero)

[*]also add a CD image app that does iso read/write, and editing them too (like imgburn + ultraiso)

- *cough*antitrust*cough*. Microsoft has to be VERY careful what they do, and do not, include. If they step on ANY public vendor products (like Roxio, Nero, et al) they tread on very thin ice. Especially with Nero being housed in an EU country, I think they err on the side of non-inclusion when there's any chance of another huge lawsuit.

[*]a decent ftp client (and server for the server OS, IIS is great and all... but not as a FTP server), sftp/scp would be real nice too

Indeed, although killing FTP over SFTP/SCP would be great...

[*]a nice rss feed reader like FeedDemon (perhaps with podcast support)

- Win7 currently has a much nicer RSS app, so you might get your wish here.

[*]a good downloader manager app

- Actually, given the design of IE, this might actually be *necessary*. This may actually show up (the MSDN downloader used for connect, licensing sites, etc is actually quite good and fast).

[*]similarly, leave mspaint alone, but add a not completely useless app i.e. with more features (perhaps like an older paint shop pro)

- I think this falls under the Expression products umbrella, so doubt it makes it into the OS anytime soon.

[*]music/video players worth using (like MPC & winamp, none of this WMP garbage)

- One man's garbage is another man's just fine app, so to speak (actually, MCE - but it runs on top of WMP, so...).

[*]make MCE not suck so badly (it could hardly be worse)

- Again, your wish might be granted. MCE gets an upgrade (well, so far).

[*]a better disk defragmenter

- I find the Vista defrag just fine for the majority of users, including myself.

[*]maybe some admin/power user-only tools (like regsnap & what not -- and why not a ramdisk? and a hex editor? a MSI repackaging/authoring tool?)

- Microsoft doesn't support repackaging MSIs (only straight builds with an editor like Orca or 3rd party), so that'll never happen. Ramdisk might, although SSHDs might have a better shot (and be cheaper) and they won't lose data on shutdown (well, if the battery is working, anyway :P).

[*]add even more command line utils (wget/sed/awg/grep/...-like apps, imagex & such, etc)

- Gotta wait for powershell to become more mature, I'm expecting these to come as powershell gets older.

[*]include the latest versions of all your runtimes & frameworks & such stuff (like silverlight)

- Nigh impossible with the way things change (like silverlight and .net). I think the best you'll get is a snapshot in time and then you'll have to do like you currently do, download updates or let WU deliver them.

[*]make their mail app not suck (be it named outlook express or otherwise)

- I doubt that MS will kill Outlook. Ever.

[*]more "basic" apps, like perhaps a html editor (or blog "editor" these days...)

- Maybe, although again, these fall under the Expression studio products, so it's doubtful these will make the OS anytime soon.

[*]more config options on most things (options for the screensavers would be a start)

- Maybe, maybe not. Depends on how usability testing goes - if it seems "too hard" for the test users, it'll get hidden or removed or changed, whatever.

[*]a system-wide dictionary that would work in all apps (much like firefox's built-in one)

- With the amount of languages supported, this is currently not financially or code-wise feasible.

[*]something good to sync files (rsync-ish, with a front end?)

- Live Mesh, it's coming. It's a live product, but it (shock) actually *works*.

[*]keep improving the firewall (not that I use one, but there shouldn't be a need for 3rd party tools for this)

- Win7's firewall is pretty darn good.

[*]some kind of universal/unified update mechanism for all your apps would rock for sure

- This might happen in time, but not soon. All kinds of legal issues.

[*]a web browser that doesn't suck this badly (I've long given up even wishing for this one actually)

- Again, one man's trash... IE8 B2 is fantastic, at least as good as FF3 (personally I find it better, but I'm slightly biased - however, being a web dev, it really is at least as good as FF3).

[*]more filesystems supported

- Nope. NTFS or whatever they replace it with in the future, but that'll be it. Choice isn't good for large-scale deployments or large customers, and that's where the bread is buttered (although having WinFS will be nice, eventually). Again, it's nice to think about, but if the majority won't or can't use it, it isn't going to happen. Besides, what really are the benefits for the average Windows user (not you or I, but the *average* user)?

[*]a good font manager (long overdue)

- Hard to say if this will happen, but probably not. Adobe's got this locked up, and it'll be hard to compete and not see the inside of a courtroom.

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