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speedemon86

Trimming down a less than reliable XP system

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I've been reading this topic with interest and haven't replied for a while.

Here's my current observation and opinion:

Firstly and most importantly: This thread has basically been hijacked and has degraded into something far from what the OP was asking for. The current argument has become a disagreement between paying $$$ for tweaks VS upgrading hardware. What the OP requested was some ideas to get a little more life out of an old system that belonged to a family member.

Now I've got that out of the way.....

Secondly: I somewhat agree with the OP, Poolsharkzz and Th3_uN1Qu3 in that I think there is some advantage to be gained by tweaks (especially on old hardware). I have and will continue to assist friends and family members to squeeze a little more performance out of their old hardware (basically only used for word processing, email and net access by their owners anyway). I always err on the side of caution. But personally I have never and would never ask for cash payment for this. I do it as a favour only. (I am however willing to accept return favours).

Thirdly: Leading on from above, I would always suggest a hardware upgrade to a paying customer with a P3 system. As has been suggested by jcarle, crahak and Zxian no matter how humble the system is, a cheap (even the cheapest) hardware upgrade will outperform any tweaks possible on an old P3! Generally you can even recycle the old box just adding new guts. I know because I've done it. I recently ordered parts for a bargain system. Total cost to the customer was AU$470 (dual core celery, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, onboard graphics & running Linux) and everyone was happy, the customer has a huge performance boost over their old P3 450MHz/256MB RAM PC and I made $100 for the 30 mins I spent with the machine (they came and picked it up). I have made a customised build of PCLinuxOS which which installs (mostly) unattended with very minimal setup after install which helps keep the time down. It sounds like I have a very different customer base from you Poolsharkzz so I'm not really sure if my experience is compatible

Edited by JedMeister

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Firstly and most importantly: This thread has basically been hijacked and has degraded into something far from what the OP was asking for. The current argument has become a disagreement between paying $$$ for tweaks VS upgrading hardware. What the OP requested was some ideas to get a little more life out of an old system that belonged to a family member.
I'd disagree slightly, yes the original discussion of the thread has been lost in part but the reason the thread's become so convoluted is the disagreements on the methods to improve the performance of the OP's system.
Secondly: I somewhat agree with the OP, Poolsharkzz and Th3_uN1Qu3 in that I think there is some advantage to be gained by tweaks (especially on old hardware). I have and will continue to assist friends and family members to squeeze a little more performance out of their old hardware (basically only used for word processing, email and net access by their owners anyway). I always err on the side of caution.
There's been a large disagreement on the methods used to "tweak" a system. No one ever said that "tweaking" it itself was bad, it's been under argument as to how. And the source of that disagreement mostly comes from the fact that there's a large portion of the professional community here that disagrees with "tweaks" that would change the end-user experience or expectations of the operating system. When a user plugs in his iPod, he expects it to work, he doesn't expect to have to contact a technician to figure out that someone "tweaked" his system and disabled certain essential services because they "weren't needed".

There are literally thousands of things that can be done without disabling aspects of the system that can improve performance. A lot of them usually comes down to the basics that have been repeated over and over and over. Uninstall software that runs unnecessarily in the background (that doesn't include Windows services), clean out your temp folder, your IE cache, keep Windows up to date, keep your drivers up to date, defrag and make sure you system is physically clean (ie: dusty fans and heatsinks). I've restored hundreds of old PCs to a new life simply by doing the same things every time. I take the PC outside, I dust clean it, then I boot it, uninstall heavy Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware software that's obviously too heavy for the system, remove the millions of 3rd party applications that start with the system, update Windows, update the drivers, run Disk Cleanup and then Defrag and usually that's all that's needed to completely turn a system around.

Thirdly: Leading on from above, I would always suggest a hardware upgrade to a paying customer with a P3 system. As has been suggested by jcarle, crahak and Zxian no matter how humble the system is, a cheap (even the cheapest) hardware upgrade will outperform any tweaks possible on an old P3! Generally you can even recycle the old box just adding new guts. I know because I've done it. I recently ordered parts for a bargain system. Total cost to the customer was AU$470 (running Linux) and everyone was happy, the customer has a huge performance boost over their old P3 450MHz/256MB RAM PC and I made $100 for the 30 mins I spent with the machine.
If someone takes a bit of time and does a bit of hunting you can usually transform a PC with little investment in a thousand different ways. If you look at the challenge with upgrading old PIIIs, the requirements are not difficult to follow for maximum savings. Obviously memory and CPU upgrades tend to be problematic and sometimes impossible so the alternative is to upgrade the motherboard. Moving to a new motherboard can often mean not only a new CPU and new memory, but it often leads to a new video card, a new hard drive due to expired technologies. That's not always within the financial constraints available. An alternative is often to buy a next generation (next generation up from the existing system, not today next generation) used motherboard with an appropriate processor and memory.

If the PIII system uses an IDE hard drive, an IDE optical drive and an AGP video card, it's fairly easy to find a motherboard with socket 478 cpu (early P4s) with 512MB/1GB of memory with two on-board IDE channels and an AGP slot for less then $100. A very far cry from the thousand plus system that was suggested earlier and yet would still provided a noticeable and satisfying increase in performance for the user of the system.

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I have a few minutes this afternoon, I guess I will respond, since the tone has changed...

Okay, where to begin?

crahak - Disagree - If you are going to put together a new "sub-$500" (or any $$$$$) system for this guy, you would allow him to walk away with his old CRT Monitor (do I really have to go there?) Keyboard (full of goo, slime, black marks on keys, keys faded, drinks spilled, stains, discolored, dust trapped in-between keys, the "A" and "T" keys stick, Roller Ball Mouse get clogged up with dust, hair, goo and crap every two weeks, etc. from what year - 2001?

Not to mention the incredibility sub-standard printer that came standard with those systems?

From a business / profit margin point of view: If you were my employee, and you shrugged off a chance to make me some money and you ignored it, not only would you be FIRED, but I'd take the profit margin lost out of your last check and then black-list you within the Industry for years to come.

Why? You NEVER pass on an opportunity to make a profit - especially in this "hypothetical" - that is, upgrading his hardware. That would be like putting back on an old dented, rust covered bumper on a brand-new Mustang - and that would never happed in my shop.

Secondly, a hardware upgrade is not what the OP asked for: "Trimming down a less than reliable XP system" - It was not: "Need advice on a cheap hardware upgrade for a XP system"

A good sales man would first see that, but also would make the new hardware offer, explain the pros, cons, and benefits in great detail, and then ask for the business - if he said no - no means no - and then leave it alone - no matter your personal view or opinion. It's just business, nothing personal.

The same applies here - If I caught you pushing a hardware upgrade on a customer as hard as you have been in these posts, by mid-morning you would be tossed out the door and you would've found yourself sitting the local watering hole, sipping your favorite poison, counting your pennies, wondering how you would explain to your olé lady that you lost your job.

Where's the problem with you charging them say, $50 to assemble it $50 bucks wouldn't fill my gas tank! $50 bucks wouldn't pay for a date out with my wife! I gotta eat too!

Did you review (read) the Salary Links I provided? (I'd bet you didn't!) If I touch something, I charge $60.00 per hour - my base rate - and that a far cry shy from Geek Squad at $150.00 per hour.

You're the one that's talking about OS'es here. Correct, and I have explained this many times already - you don't go backwards with the OS, going forward means Vista - Junk.

I don't have any use in the world for Vista in its present form today - or do we need to open a side thread on Vista and all it's bugs, annoyances, hick-ups, failures, hassles, disappointments, SP1 and it's failure to fix the many bugs in which all can be still easily recreated - calling it by different names in San Fran, "Performance Tweaking" PDF Files, sales numbers that don't add up, was / still is? Illegal in Europe, The lawsuits, Jerry Seinfeld and a multi-million dollar marketing blitz won't change anything.

Remember Coke back in the 1980's? No not that - Coca-Cola? Sure we all do and that vain attempt to change Coke into the "New Coke Formula" - that lasted two weeks and they pulled "New Coke" from the shelves quicker than a teenager with a hooker - and we got years of "Coke Classic".

While I do give kudos to Micro$oft for going in a new direction, Vista should have been like that Blondie with a "shake" and those 36DDs that sat across from you at the coffee shop last night - you know - the one that smiled at you? Vista had to be perfect - well, at least better than needing a few beers in me before I brought her home...

Now, if Micro$oft comes out with SP2 for Vista in the way SP2 was for XP - I'll reconsider my position.

Yet, you only added the cost of those items to the situation where someone buys or builds a new PC I'll say it again - read the posts: Post # 24 - approx half way down -

I Quote Myself: "If you are going to spend any money on that system, I would suggest getting a new keyboard, lazer mouse, and a 19 inch flat panel monitor - your family will thank you in more ways than one! (and, you are now half way towards a new system $$$$$-wise)"

* This comment was made by me well before you came into the picture.

Did you really think that in the back of my mind I was thinking of a upgrade altogether? and I was called lazy?

I missed suggesting a printer - "I'm fired" - Don't make the excuse that my post was too long either.

"5 minutes of work on a P3 for $450" I'd break that down for you, but I don't think you would understand all that goes into it. I've explained just the very basics. in these posts...

It takes almost an hour just to update to SP3+ via Windows Update! Not to mention Java, Flash, Shockwave, Adobe, QuickTime, DirectX, .Net, extra Micro$oft programs, etc.

and that's the very beginning of what I do. I take ownership with a system, meaning that I make that system run as smooth as my Wife's does - she has a Intel 2160 @ 1.80 GHz, 1 Gig of Ram running XP Home SP3. Not to mention all the extras and there's too many to list.

"make $ overcharging people for this" Yes, if YOU were the customer, I would expect for YOU to know all this and this conversation would be mute. When the electrician replaces one socket with an GFI Outlet and charges you $125.00 - is that overcharging? How about this past weekend, my wife brought the Jeep in to get the front brakes done - is $325.00 overcharging? Is a 25% mark-up on all components that I spent my time finding overcharging? I am not sure about yours but it costs me money to put it on my credit card!

This is a business with two goals - in this order - make lots of $$$$$ and make people happy.

A common, non "IT" person does not know that their XP system should be set NTFS.

A common, non "IT" person does not know about MTU, TTL, MaxConnectionsPerServer, MaxConnectionsPer01Server - or most of the inner workings of their system:

..."where is the System32 Folder?" The Registry, system settings, BIOS, and on and on....

A common, non "IT" person most likely does not even know this forum exists!

I sell my time, knowledge, experience - in a way so that the customer will ALWAYS remember me - this is what differenciates me from my competition in the marketplace.

Th3_uN1Qu3 is right - No benchmark is able to measure the "feel" of the system. For the end-user that only does basic tasks with their computer, that's what matters the most.

Wrapped up with quite a few extras and a smile - I have had nobody ever come back to me and say that what I did was wrong - or that their system is running worse cause of what I did to it.

But, I will tell you one thing - A Memory Upgrade is part of the "core" of a Tune-Up - I'm really surprised that I have to explain this to you:

Since normally I do not have Th3_uN1Qu3 around, after confirming via running, CPU-Z, SIW, CrucialScan, and using the Intel Chipset Identification Utility, (quite possibly confirming those findings with Ram manufacturer and HP as well) that his CPU, Motherboard, and that his memory was not upgradeable not only with the amount he had but the type - quantity but also quality - he was maxed out on both accounts.

Honestly, I would most likely not charged him the total $450 - it most likely would have been approx $150 less or the total cost of an upgrade to 1 full Gig - that is, replacing quantity but also quality. It also depended on whether his system during the Tune-Up gave me a hard time or not!

Anyway you slice it, he would have paid: $500 for hardware upgrade - $350 for 19' Monitor, Speakers, Keyboard, Lazer Mouse - $150 for decent printer - $35 for printer cable - that's not including me @ $100-$200 - we will act as if I had no involvement - meaning no mark-ups on anything...

This falls right in line with what I said $$$$$ - so why not go high-end? More Power, more speed, more storage, more Ram = more for the future! Your going to have to make payments anyways....

jcarle - Newer is not often better. If you need an example, look at Vista. Tell that to the guys with the 9x Kernel Project or the guys at the XPize and Vize Project.

Ponch - I always take my business VERY seriously.

JedMeister You are correct on all accounts - this became a heated debate over tweaking versus hardware upgrade. In fact, BOTH are needed, but none the less, all the OP wanted was to fix what was broken - In fact, I don't think he would have paid for anything except a minor Memory Upgrade, if that was possible.

Sometimes I get alot of weird stuff here in terms of customers - here's an example (let's not argue over this one - what done is done) -

Two ladies walked into my shop a while back - referred from a past customer that I didn't remember - It seemed that one, the Wife, and two, the Therapist, was dealing with a Husband with a serious Porn Addiction and wanted to know if I could stop him from getting online to his favorite websites. From what I gathered, this was costing this family a whole bunch of money and needed to stop.

I smiled and said "Sure - just take away the computer" They didn't get the joke - the Wife said that she liked the computer, so did the kids and even the Husband needed it for work, e-mail, etc.

What to do? Well, after thinking about it (I'm still trying hard not to laugh - fun times, I'll tell ya!)

I came up with this: Using a combination of Open DNS, Content Filtering, Domain Blocking, Adult Site Blocking, Internet Explorer 7's Restricted Zone, HostsMan / HostsServer, and a well-rounded Hosts File - entries gathered from the Keylogger I installed without his knowledge - The Husband could not access his favorite sites - or any "bad" sites for that matter - nor could he figure out how I did it nor could he figure out how to "fix" it - the client's family was very pleased, to be sure!

HostsServer acts like a local HTTP Server - you can also replace the 404 page...

"Access Denied. You are not allow to view this site. A notification e-mail has been sent to the System Administrator which will be forwarded to your Wife and Therapist. Please surf away from this website immediately."

I also put a couple of graphics there - family pictures approved by the Wife.

Like I said, I hard a hard time keeping a straight face during it all!

I handle mostly general hardware or software upgrades, security enhancements, Virus or Spyware infections, crashes and recovery, slow computers, parental controls, enhancing internet connection speed, tune-ups, stupid questions, dumb customers, basic training, and the like.

Simple basic stuff really, nothing fancy - I just got a customer off Win 98 to XP SP3 - after 5 years!

Th3_uN1Qu3 - Your right, I don't get right all the time. I have to disagree with you on Dell - Yes, their phone support isn't "world-class" and "5 stars" but it works for me - for a year I do not have to deal with stupid questions, like: "Why doesn't my printer print in color?" You know what I mean...

As for ordering parts or components, I had only a few problems with that - they send me the wrong stuff and had to wait a few extra days for the return to go through.

The old printer does not work with Vista? I've had that problem many times in the past, it's one of the reasons why I recommend Dell - The all-in-one 948 never gave me trouble in a Vista setup - but then I have had only a few so take that for what it's worth...

jcarle - Money in the bank! "There are literally thousands of things" - alot of what you described there the customer does not know - or understand - why should I teach them for free?

Bottom line - If the customer wants to learn more about their system, why can't I charge them a fee for "basic training"? Some folks feel that everyone on this planet knows about this kind of stuff because they do - basic maintenance and staying on top of security? I beg to differ.

The OP's Uncle is a fine example - He most likely got Norton when he first bought it as a 45 or 90 day promotional thing - back in 2001 - and decided to subscribe to the service - been there ever since.

If he knew that Norton would be a resource hog on his system, really good chances are he wouldn't have subscribed to the service - why cannot I make money on his lack of knowledge?

Free Advice - I give it all the time - read the first posts - but I have to draw the line somewhere, no?

Okay, I'm done ranting for this evening - have a good one to all!

poolsharkzz

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you would allow him to walk away with his old CRT Monitor (do I really have to go there?) Keyboard (full of goo, slime, black marks on keys, keys faded, drinks spilled, stains, discolored, dust trapped in-between keys, the "A" and "T" keys stick, Roller Ball Mouse get clogged up with dust, hair, goo and crap every two weeks, etc. from what year - 2001? Not to mention the incredibility sub-standard printer that came standard with those systems?

Yet, you have no problem with charging him a lot of money too, and letting him keep all that old "junk" then. If it works fine, he can keep it, I don't see the issue. And if doesn't, then he's gonna have to buy a new one in both cases. You don't have a point, you just want to make new systems or hardware upgrades overpriced to justify overcharging people.

a hardware upgrade is not what the OP asked for: "Trimming down a less than reliable XP system" - It was not: "Need advice on a cheap hardware upgrade for a XP system"

And like I said like 16 times already, I didn't say that (work on your reading comprehension skills, will ya?). I was talking about overcharging people for "tweaks" vs a hardware upgrade. Nothing more.

The same applies here - If I caught you pushing a hardware upgrade on a customer as hard as you have been in these posts, by mid-morning you would be tossed out the door and you would've found yourself sitting the local watering hole, sipping your favorite poison, counting your pennies, wondering how you would explain to your olé lady that you lost your job.

I wouldn't work (nor want to) in shop where techs grossly overcharge customers for minor tweaks, when for the same price you can give them a REAL speed boost, have happy customers which will return for more business.

Correct, and I have explained this many times already - you don't go backwards with the OS, going forward means Vista - Junk.

Yet again, I was saying he can upgrade the P3 hardware for a lot less than $450 and get 100x more of a speed boost than any of your tweaks will do, but you keep bringing nonsense into this (like printers, monitors, and now OS upgrades too). A hardware upgrade (new CPU, more RAM) will give them a HUGE speed boost -- a LOT more for their money. They can keep their OS if it does what they need. Again, you're the one pushing for those items to justify you overcharging people.

"5 minutes of work on a P3 for $450" I'd break that down for you, but I don't think you would understand all that goes into it. I've explained just the very basics. in these posts...

Obviously you're the one that's lost here, totally unable to justify charging $450 for what can be 99% automated and done in 2 clicks. Now you're just resorting to personal insults and calling people stupid when you fail to come up with reasons to do so (as there are none). Nice of you! What was that rule 7b about again?

It takes almost an hour just to update to SP3+ via Windows Update! Not to mention Java, Flash, Shockwave, Adobe, QuickTime, DirectX, .Net, extra Micro$oft programs, etc.

Someone hasn't heard of slipstreaming, unattended installs, WSUS (or running updates locally), silent installers, scripts, or any of that stuff obviously.

When the electrician replaces one socket with an GFI Outlet and charges you $125.00 - is that overcharging?

The electrician does a house call (drives both ways), requires actual knowledge/certifications (as in, having gone to college, and knowing the electrical code and all that), etc.

Whereas, a very simple .cmd file can apply all your reg tweaks, run uninstallers/installers/patches and all that, in one double click -- no work at all, hardly any knowledge required.

How about this past weekend, my wife brought the Jeep in to get the front brakes done - is $325.00 overcharging?

You're paying for the mechanics' time (a lot of hard labor). And they need a lot of specialized & very expensive stuff (garage, with lift, tons of tools including many specialized), and they tend to be far more trained than your average A+ guy doing house calls too. Now include parts and all, and it quickly gets expensive.

Newer is not often better. If you need an example, look at Vista. Tell that to the guys with the 9x Kernel Project or the guys at the XPize and Vize Project.

More nonsense, heh.

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I'll admit first I haven't read through the whole thread. With that said I will try to keep my opinion on the original post simple. :)

Performance is an economic problem: do the performance advantages of new hardware justify the cost; likewise are the performance disadvantages of older hardware insignificant and the savings are justified?

There are two* ways to increase performance: free-up system resources to specific tasks OR add system resources across the board, *or do both. Depending on how old your hardware it may make sense to add resources to areas that are bottlenecks, commonly RAM. However even a TB of ram will not help a system with a P1 (in virtually any realistic situation). :)

Unfortunately with older hardware there comes a point where the cost savings are offset IMO with the increased support costs and productivity loss; and in some cases energy savings. Generally tweaks that attempt to increase performance will have diminishing returns...

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crahak - Disagree - If you are going to put together a new "sub-$500" (or any $$$$$) system for this guy, you would allow him to walk away with his old CRT Monitor (do I really have to go there?) Keyboard (full of goo, slime, black marks on keys, keys faded, drinks spilled, stains, discolored, dust trapped in-between keys, the "A" and "T" keys stick, Roller Ball Mouse get clogged up with dust, hair, goo and crap every two weeks, etc. from what year - 2001?

Acer 22" widescreen LCD monitor - $206

Microsoft comfort curve keyboard - $23

Logitech optical mouse - $14

You don't have to break the bank to get good quality components. I use Acer monitors for all my systems, and while they're not the best in the business, they certainly do the job just fine, and they haven't broken the bank. I spent about 5 minutes finding those products and pasting the links into this thread.

Not to mention the incredibility sub-standard printer that came standard with those systems?

Samsung ML-1640 Laser Printer -$105

USB2.0 Device Cable A-B M/M 6FT - $9

That's not even as cheap as they come, but it's an excellent quality printer that will last for years.

From a business / profit margin point of view: If you were my employee, and you shrugged off a chance to make me some money and you ignored it, not only would you be FIRED, but I'd take the profit margin lost out of your last check and then black-list you within the Industry for years to come.

Why? You NEVER pass on an opportunity to make a profit - especially in this "hypothetical" - that is, upgrading his hardware. That would be like putting back on an old dented, rust covered bumper on a brand-new Mustang - and that would never happed in my shop.

Wow... so you'd take an employee's profit margin over customer satisfaction? It's one of the most annoying things about some of the retail stores around here. You can't walk 5 meters without someone asking "Can I help you find something?", just so they can make as much commision as possible. Also, whenever I do ask them for something, they ALWAYS try to sell me something that's more expensive and isn't what I'm looking for. It's one of the reasons why I stop going there, and stop recommending that friends buy from there as well.

Ever thought about the fact that a happy customer will often come back for more, as well as recommend you to their friends and collegues? Every successful business is built upon customer satisfaction. Customers aren't happy? They buy something else and the company falls. It's as simple as that, and it applies to both goods and services.

Secondly, a hardware upgrade is not what the OP asked for: "Trimming down a less than reliable XP system" - It was not: "Need advice on a cheap hardware upgrade for a XP system"

A good sales man would first see that, but also would make the new hardware offer, explain the pros, cons, and benefits in great detail, and then ask for the business - if he said no - no means no - and then leave it alone - no matter your personal view or opinion. It's just business, nothing personal.

Right... but what you're suggesting is that the customer pay half the price of the new hardware (or more) for "tweaks" and cleaning to a system that isn't worth it's weight in lead. It would be like paying $5000 for repairing a car that's worth $1000. If a car is in an accident with that much damage, it's written off, and the owner is handed a cheque for the car's remaining value - not the initial value.
The same applies here - If I caught you pushing a hardware upgrade on a customer as hard as you have been in these posts, by mid-morning you would be tossed out the door and you would've found yourself sitting the local watering hole, sipping your favorite poison, counting your pennies, wondering how you would explain to your olé lady that you lost your job.

Where's the problem with you charging them say, $50 to assemble it $50 bucks wouldn't fill my gas tank! $50 bucks wouldn't pay for a date out with my wife! I gotta eat too!

Did you review (read) the Salary Links I provided? (I'd bet you didn't!) If I touch something, I charge $60.00 per hour - my base rate - and that a far cry shy from Geek Squad at $150.00 per hour.

If you were to show the customer a reasonably priced system, show them what it can do, and then tell them that it will cost them more than half of that to "tune up" their old system... most of them would be pretty convinced. I've rarely met someone who gets upset when I tell them that it's simply not worth it to fix old computers. You seem to be obsessed with profits, so you don't show customers both sides of the coin (no pun intended).

I gotta eat too! I can't really name anyone on this forum who doesn't. I charge customers $200 for assembling a system, installing the OS and drivers, and running a standard set of stability tools to make sure everything is in order. This whole process usually takes about two hours of my time (the stability tests are run overnight). In order to make the most of my time, I'll download all the drivers I need while the OS is installing. After the OS installation is complete, I transfer all the drivers to a USB key and install them on the system. This really doesn't take much effort on my part either...

You're the one that's talking about OS'es here. Correct, and I have explained this many times already - you don't go backwards with the OS, going forward means Vista - Junk.

I don't have any use in the world for Vista in its present form today - or do we need to open a side thread on Vista and all it's bugs, annoyances, hick-ups, failures, hassles, disappointments, SP1 and it's failure to fix the many bugs in which all can be still easily recreated - calling it by different names in San Fran, "Performance Tweaking" PDF Files, sales numbers that don't add up, was / still is? Illegal in Europe, The lawsuits, Jerry Seinfeld and a multi-million dollar marketing blitz won't change anything.

Vista Incompatibilities Thread @ MSFN. Someone beat you to it, and honestly, the list of software that doesn't work is pretty small. Did you see the Mojave project? Are you possibly one of those people who's never really used Vista? I have this debate with collegues all the time (some of whom are the avid Mac-addicts who stop at nothing to poke fun at Vista), and every time they bring up a "problem", I show them a link or the fix. Just because things are different doesn't mean they're worse.

While I do give kudos to Micro$oft for going in a new direction, Vista should have been like that Blondie with a "shake" and those 36DDs that sat across from you at the coffee shop last night - you know - the one that smiled at you? Vista had to be perfect - well, at least better than needing a few beers in me before I brought her home...
I really don't know what you mean by this, but it's going pretty low... :}
Now, if Micro$oft comes out with SP2 for Vista in the way SP2 was for XP - I'll reconsider my position.
SP1 was for Vista what SP2 was for XP. Bug fixes, stability issues resolved, and overall, a fairly major update.
I Quote Myself: "If you are going to spend any money on that system, I would suggest getting a new keyboard, lazer mouse, and a 19 inch flat panel monitor - your family will thank you in more ways than one! (and, you are now half way towards a new system $$$$$-wise)"
You can add all the custom mods and upgrades you want to a Pinto, but underneath it all, it's still a Pinto.
"5 minutes of work on a P3 for $450" I'd break that down for you, but I don't think you would understand all that goes into it. I've explained just the very basics. in these posts...

It takes almost an hour just to update to SP3+ via Windows Update! Not to mention Java, Flash, Shockwave, Adobe, QuickTime, DirectX, .Net, extra Micro$oft programs, etc.

If you're really doing SP3 updates, you should download the Windows XP Service Pack 3 Network Installation Package for IT Professionals and Developers. Put that on a CD or USB key, and copy it to the system when updating it. No need to re-download it, no need to worry about internet speed, etc etc. There are offline installers for every one of the installers you mentioned. You'd save your customers bandwidth and time by following this little piece of advice.
"make $ overcharging people for this" Yes, if YOU were the customer, I would expect for YOU to know all this and this conversation would be mute. When the electrician replaces one socket with an GFI Outlet and charges you $125.00 - is that overcharging? How about this past weekend, my wife brought the Jeep in to get the front brakes done - is $325.00 overcharging? Is a 25% mark-up on all components that I spent my time finding overcharging? I am not sure about yours but it costs me money to put it on my credit card!
$325 for fixing front brakes? That is overcharging! Just about every shop that I've been to would charge me about $150 for that kind of service - tops. I actually had my front brakes completely replaced last summer (pads and discs), and after taxes the bill was still under $200.

The rules might be different in the states, but in Canada, if you pay off the entire credit card bill before the due date, you pay zero interest. The interest applied to your account is only valid for your unpaid balance.

This is a business with two goals - in this order - make lots of $$$$$ and make people happy.

A common, non "IT" person does not know that their XP system should be set NTFS.

A common, non "IT" person does not know about MTU, TTL, MaxConnectionsPerServer, MaxConnectionsPer01Server - or most of the inner workings of their system:

..."where is the System32 Folder?" The Registry, system settings, BIOS, and on and on....

A common, non "IT" person most likely does not even know this forum exists!

I sell my time, knowledge, experience - in a way so that the customer will ALWAYS remember me - this is what differenciates me from my competition in the marketplace.

I'll say it again. A happy customer will often come back for more, as well as recommend you to their friends and collegues. Returning customers means returning business and income. Customer's word of mouth is often one of the most powerful advertisements there is.
Th3_uN1Qu3 is right - No benchmark is able to measure the "feel" of the system. For the end-user that only does basic tasks with their computer, that's what matters the most.

Wrapped up with quite a few extras and a smile - I have had nobody ever come back to me and say that what I did was wrong - or that their system is running worse cause of what I did to it.

You've never had a customer do that, but from what you've written here, you've got quite a few people who disagree with your practices. Some of them waste time, some of them waste your customer's money, some of them waste your money (your brakes).
But, I will tell you one thing - A Memory Upgrade is part of the "core" of a Tune-Up - I'm really surprised that I have to explain this to you:

Since normally I do not have Th3_uN1Qu3 around, after confirming via running, CPU-Z, SIW, CrucialScan, and using the Intel Chipset Identification Utility, (quite possibly confirming those findings with Ram manufacturer and HP as well) that his CPU, Motherboard, and that his memory was not upgradeable not only with the amount he had but the type - quantity but also quality - he was maxed out on both accounts.

Honestly, I would most likely not charged him the total $450 - it most likely would have been approx $150 less or the total cost of an upgrade to 1 full Gig - that is, replacing quantity but also quality. It also depended on whether his system during the Tune-Up gave me a hard time or not!

Anyway you slice it, he would have paid: $500 for hardware upgrade - $350 for 19' Monitor, Speakers, Keyboard, Lazer Mouse - $150 for decent printer - $35 for printer cable - that's not including me @ $100-$200 - we will act as if I had no involvement - meaning no mark-ups on anything...

This falls right in line with what I said $$$$$ - so why not go high-end? More Power, more speed, more storage, more Ram = more for the future! Your going to have to make payments anyways....

I'm not sure who you're trying to convince here, since nobody's arguing that memory upgrades are often the most beneficial for instant performance gains.

Look at the prices of everything in the top of this post. We're talking about roughly $375 for LCD, keyboard, mouse, printer, cable. They also get a 22" monitor instead of the 19" that you're talking about.

The OP's Uncle is a fine example - He most likely got Norton when he first bought it as a 45 or 90 day promotional thing - back in 2001 - and decided to subscribe to the service - been there ever since.

If he knew that Norton would be a resource hog on his system, really good chances are he wouldn't have subscribed to the service - why cannot I make money on his lack of knowledge?

Free Advice - I give it all the time - read the first posts - but I have to draw the line somewhere, no?

Sure, I give out free information as well. I'll then offer to do the work for them in order to fix the problem that they're having. Just knowing the answer doesn't really give any salesperson the right to overcharge their customers, and yes - I'm going to say - you are overcharging customers. I've given you concrete, real world examples of quality hardware that's cheaper than everything you've shown. You might charge less as a flat fee than Geek Squad (I'll take your numbers for granted, since I honestly don't know what they charge), but you spend FAR more time than is necessary on the work that you do. While Windows update is running, you could be working on a different computer. Or fixing something else related to their problems. Looking up replacement hardware for them. And so on, and so forth.

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Good afternoon to all!

What a day - and what a night tonight - "my girl", Hillary will be speaking, so I will have to make this brief - can't miss the show!!!

Okay, here is the deal...

"overcharging people" - Take a step back, in fact, quite a few...

From my point of view, it seems to me that you are under-charging people! In fact, due to your market conditions there in Vancouver, Canada - you could not charge what I charge - I'm sorry for that.

Vancouver, Canada - while it is a beautiful place - is TOTALLY different than Chicago, the 3rd largest market in the United States - and the United States is Micro$oft's largest market.

I mean, do we really have to go here in detail? No, I don't think so - your smarter than that.

You cannot compare the two - or their Markets - and Market Forces declare the price charged.

Remember this? Post # 87:

Here's another one, straight off of NewEgg...

Motherboard : Foxconn P45A-S - $119.99

Processor : Intel E2180 - $69.99

Memory : 2GB OCZ DDR2-800 - $42.99

Video Card : EVGA 7200GS - $29.99

Total cost : $427.92

* plus State Tax and Shipping First Class from southern California? Not sure. + $25.00

and...

Acer 22" widescreen LCD monitor - $206

Microsoft comfort curve keyboard - $23

Logitech optical mouse - $14

Total Cost: $243.00

* plus State Tax and Shipping First Class from where? Not sure. + $25.00

and...

Samsung ML-1640 Laser Printer -$105

USB2.0 Device Cable A-B M/M 6FT - $9

* plus State Tax and Shipping First Class from where? Not sure. + $25.00

Total charge: $114.00

I'll take your $50.00 "handling charge"... (no other mark-ups or fees)

Plus Chicago City Sales Tax - yes - that's how it works - @11.25% - Welcome to the Big City!

* Using the "Big Calculator" I download as part of a Tune-Up to replace Micro$oft's default calculator...

Total Cost: $427.92 + $243.00 + $114.00 + $50.00 = $834.82

Chicago City Tax = $93.92

Shipping / State Tax = $75.00

Grand Total: $1003.74 - Minimum

Sorry guys, I checked out NewEgg's website - lots of cool stuff but it said nothing about omitting State Tax and Shipping Charges or its all included with the price.

I Quote:

This falls right in line with what I said $$$$$ - so why not go high-end? More Power, more speed, more storage, more Ram = more for the future! Your going to have to make payments anyways....

Acer? Crude, but okay, down here only the Chicago Public School System uses Acer - Not a big seller, I afraid. Brand name is what sells, for the most part - mainstream products, like Dell, HP, Apple.

Samsung Printer - Good choice, brand name, quality product, but it's not apples to apples -

The Dell 948 has everything you can imagine: Print, Fax, Copy, Scan, Memory Card Reader, Front USB Port, Front CF / MD Port - Print, Fax, Copy, Scan from Memory Card, Print Photos, Removable Storage, etc.

I didn't see any of these features on the Samsung Printer, I even went to Samsung's website. Good little printer if you want just that - a good little printer - fast too, right?

I'll say it again:

Everything you describe as "overcharging people" is in fact what differenciates me from all others in my market - meaning that if you only do "step one and step two" and then give the system to the customer - great - but I do: step one, step two, step three, step four and step five - taking it to the next level - with a whole bunch of extras and a smile!

I Quote: "I sell my time, knowledge, experience - in a way so that the customer will ALWAYS remember me - this is what differenciates me from my competition in the marketplace."

"Always remember me" meaning: Person #1: "Where did you find that cool program, what's it called: Spyware Terminator? Never heard of it." (* it doesn't matter the name of the program)

Person #2 (former customer): "Yeah - It's great, and freeware too. My computer guy, poolsharkzz, loaded up with my system (and trained me to use it properly) the last time I had a problem - my rig kept crashing and locking up, didn't know why - so I took it to him and not only did he fix the many problems, but gave it a tune-up, cleaned it, memory upgrade, optimized my internet connection (my downloads and page renderings are much faster now and my system zips right along and "feels" a whole lot better!) he fully updated it, downloaded a bunch of cool programs - especially ones for the kids, etc. - I didn't have to lift a finger with a 24 hour turn-around - all for $450 clams".

Person #1: "Wow! Maybe I should give him a call - that's different from my guy - he only charges me $50 bucks - but then, he doesn't do all that extra stuff either." Person #2 - "Sure, his number is on that red & yellow sticker located on the side of the case - he's usually around, ask for him."

It's set up that way. Amen

DigeratiPrime "Performance is an economic problem" - Yes, all around, I totally agree -

If you read later on in the posts, the OP said something to the effect that after he removed Norton he ran AVG and found 4 nasties - then after removing them, things went south with the system so then the OP mentioned about getting together with an "IT Person" and they were going to do a backup and then reinstall...

Which means that they would have reverted that system back to 2001 - back to pre-SP1 - and I am sorry - that system would not have left my shop until it was fully updated - and yes - tweaked!

By that point, if the OP was in my shop, I would have spell-out to him all the options, (like I said before) and gave him the choices.

Zxian - "Wow... so you'd take an employee's profit margin over customer satisfaction?"

Super Moderator or not - Stop acting like a fool - You know better - That's the way it done man! Sorry!

If you were to show the customer a reasonably priced system I have - using your numbers.

Wow!! - Check out Dell's website - the $$$$$ are not that far off - and 1 year's warranty and 1 year's phone support? Hmmmm....

Vista? - I'll save that for another post - but in the meantime - check this out:

http://www.askvg.com/sp1-failed-to-fix-sev...do-we-need-sp2/

And there are a whole bunch of other articles I've found, I just don't have the time tonight to list.

Bottom Line:

An auto-maker - any auto-maker - makes a model of car or truck and 1 in 150,000 "blow up" and "catch on fire" for no apparent reason - would you buy that model of car or truck?

Do we have to discuss recent events - http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/366462_tomatoes10.html

* Change "Tomatoes" to "Vista"...

Experience with Vista? - Yes, November 1st, 2007 - I bought my Wife a brand new system - I described it in my last post - minus 1 Gig Ram (2 Gig total with that rig) and two weeks later - I sent it back and told Dell to put XP Home on it - which they did - and I couldn't be happier!

I love it when a company puts out software in it's "Alpha Stage"! It's in it's "Beta Stage" today.

Grisoft made the same mistakes with their new AVG 8.0 - or do I have to link them posts too?

"every time they bring up a "problem", I show them a link or the fix" Please call or write Micro$oft and tell them - maybe you can help with SP2 - You're talking to the wrong guy.

I hate Mac - totally backwards - Mopar - but I geta kick out of their commercials!

SP1 was for Vista what SP2 was for XP. - Are you insane??? - XP SP2 was a complete re-write of the entire kernel for XP!! - meaning it should have been "tagged" as a whole new operating system!

Vista SP1 was put together to fix a bunch of bugs that really are not fixed yet.

Pinto. My Uncle used to race Pintos a few miles north in Union Grove, Wisconsin - Wrong place to go...

"but underneath..." - If you swap out the 4 speed, 4 banger, 4 barrel carb and dump in a 302 Boss, is it really still a Pinto? I mean, really, is it? How about a 351 Winzer? Been there, done that!

Okay... How about just unscrewing the butterfly screw that holds the air filter cover on, take that off, remove air filter housing, take your screw driver and turn that set screw on the 4 barrel carb to allow a little more gas & air mixture into the carb - and then "open up" the intake valves by removing the entire assembly for the air filter - what do you have now?

A Tweaked Pinto!!!!! VAROOM!

* Sounds a little like optimizing the internet connection, no? Let the bandwidth flow...

SP3 updates Believe it or not, I am finding a whole lot of systems with SP1 only on them - meaning they didn't update when it first was offered. Or updated since.

$325 for fixing front brakes? - Right in line with the industry standard for Chicago, IL...

* Which is the problem - thinking everything else in the world is like in your neck of the woods.

$150??? - If I caught a sales promo of some sort - not here in the Windy City - I am sorry, it seems that I live in a place where the cost of living is much higher that where you are at. Bummer....

* Hey, I'll let you in on a little secret - Market Forces decide the price here too!

"A happy customer" - I have plenty of those!

"quite a few people who disagree with your practices" Yes - "IT" People, that is...

And finally...

Now you're just resorting to personal insults and calling people stupid

1.) I NEVER called anyone stupid.

2.) I NEVER personally assaulted anyone.

3.) I didn't throw the first punch - or do we have to go back and - you guess it - read the posts?

4.) Sorry boys, you're dealing with a successful "Big City-Mouse" - I am sorry if I hurt your feelings!

5.) The only thing I chewed up and spat out was Vista - and that "Tweaking" was bad. Junk.

I gotta run, it's after 7:30pm - my girlfriend will be on....

Cheers!

poolsharkzz

Edited by Poolsharkzz

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How do you honestly expect what you say to have meaningful weight in a conversation with your abhorant use of the $ symbol. First of all, Micro$oft is not found in the dictionary nor a registered company name or trademark of Microsoft. Second, using $$$$$$ instead of the word money doesn't help your case any either. Everytime I read any of your posts if at any point while I'm reading something you've written I start to see that on certain remote aspect you may have a valid point, that validation is immediately lost the moment I see you misuse the $ symbol. Opinions get respect when well written... l337 wr1t0rz don't.

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Have you forgotten where I live? Vancouver, home of the upcoming 2010 Olympics? If there's one thing that drives up overall costs, it's the Olympics. Vancouver is one of the more expensive places to live in North America nowadays...

I'm only going to take two of your points and show you where you're wrong...

Sorry guys, I checked out NewEgg's website - lots of cool stuff but it said nothing about omitting State Tax and Shipping Charges or its all included with the price.

Wrong again. Newegg FAQ - Payment. I'll outline the important parts for you and everyone else reading this. If you live in the states of California, New Jersey, or Tennessee, you'll pay the usual state taxes. Chicago, Illinois doesn't apply. No state or city taxes applied to the order.

Shipping is standard FedEx or UPS shipping. Nothing surprising or outrageous about that.

It also was not hard to find. Go to the main page, click on the "Help & Info" link, and then on the "Payment" link. It takes all of 15 seconds to find that - even without knowing where to look ahead of time. You could also go to the Help page and search for "tax"

Zxian - "Wow... so you'd take an employee's profit margin over customer satisfaction?"

Super Moderator or not - Stop acting like a fool - You know better - That's the way it done man! Sorry!

What does my status on this forum have to do with this discussion? It's a forum - not an email to/from the board of a company.

And no, that's not the way things are done. My girlfriend and her roommates just finished fixing up the house that they're living in. They went back to a lumber and supplies store because they had excellent service and weren't stingy about prices. Heck - I bought some supplies and forgot that I wanted a 50 cent plastic marker for my house key (you know the plastic rings that sit over the head?). Ran back inside, and put the money on the counter. "Oh... don't worry about it. Just take it." was the reply. Of course I'm going to go back to them for more service.

If you were to show the customer a reasonably priced system I have - using your numbers.

Wow!! - Check out Dell's website - the $$$$$ are not that far off - and 1 year's warranty and 1 year's phone support? Hmmmm....

Again... the prices from NewEgg are tax free, and their shipping rates are quite affordable. I don't charge my customers for the hardware itself, but I do charge them for the assembly of the hardware and the installation of the operating system and software.

Let's go back to Dell... I just configured an Inspiron 518 system with the following options:

PROCESSOR - Intel® Pentium® dual-core processor E2180 (1MB L2, 2.00GHz, 800FSB)

OPERATING SYSTEM - Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Service Pack 1

MONITOR - Dell E207WFP 20-inch Wide Flat Panel

MEMORY - 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz (4 DIMM)

HARD DRIVE - 250GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™

OPTICAL DRIVE - 16X DVD+/-RW Drive

VIDEO CARD - Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100

SOUND - Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio

KEYBOARD & MOUSE - Dell Entry Keyboard and Dell Optical USB Mouse

MEDIA READER - Dell 19 in 1 Media Card Reader

Final price - $728.64 including taxes and shipping to Chicago.

You have a tendency to overestimate prices, taxes, and shipping.

EDIT - Whoops, forgot the printer. Add a Dell All-in-One V305 to that order for $69+taxes. Shipping will remain unchanged. Still nearly $200 less than what you claim as the "bare minimum". Even with three-year warranty, we're still under the $1000 mark after taxes and shipping.

SP1 was for Vista what SP2 was for XP. - Are you insane??? - XP SP2 was a complete re-write of the entire kernel for XP!! - meaning it should have been "tagged" as a whole new operating system!
Did I read this correctly? "XP SP2 was a complete re-write of the entire kernel for XP"? Windows XP (both Home, Professional, MCE, and Tablet) all use the NT 5.1 kernel. They always have, and they always will. Server 2003 (and XP64, which was derived from it) use the NT5.2 kernel. Finally, Vista and Server 2008 both use the NT 6.0 kernel. No service pack has ever contained a "complete re-write" of the NT kernel. Please, stop spreading incorrect information.
Pinto. My Uncle used to race Pintos a few miles north in Union Grove, Wisconsin - Wrong place to go...

"but underneath..." - If you swap out the 4 speed, 4 banger, 4 barrel carb and dump in a 302 Boss, is it really still a Pinto? I mean, really, is it? How about a 351 Winzer? Been there, done that!

Okay... How about just unscrewing the butterfly screw that holds the air filter cover on, take that off, remove air filter housing, take your screw driver and turn that set screw on the 4 barrel carb to allow a little more gas & air mixture into the carb - and then "open up" the intake valves by removing the entire assembly for the air filter - what do you have now?

A Tweaked Pinto!!!!! VAROOM!

You're talking about completely replacing the engine... sounds a lot like upgrading the hardware. Tweaking would be adjusting settings (valve timings, air-fuel mixtures, using lighter weight fuel, etc etc). Now you're not the one comparing apples to apples.
* Sounds a little like optimizing the internet connection, no? Let the bandwidth flow...
Optimizing an internet connection will optimize things, but still won't change the fact that the system itself is slow. You'll also never be able to exceed the rated speed of the internet connection by any significant amount.
SP3 updates Believe it or not, I am finding a whole lot of systems with SP1 only on them - meaning they didn't update when it first was offered. Or updated since.
And... your point with this is? Systems that haven't been updated are usually the cause of many problems and security issues with my customers as well. This is why I keep the full SP3 (and SP2) installers on my sysadmin DVD. That way, I don't need to wait for it to download.
"quite a few people who disagree with your practices" Yes - "IT" People, that is...
You're barking up the wrong tree here...
Now you're just resorting to personal insults and calling people stupid

Wait... I'm resorting to personal insults? When have I insulted you directly? You're the one who brought my SMod status into this (which is completely irrelevant to the discussion), and the one who put quotes around "IT". I haven't called anyone stupid, but I will tell people when they're wrong (take the "complete re-write example above").

By the way... what do tomatoes have to do with Vista? There hasn't been any major recall of Vista last time I checked. I can't say the same for laptop batteries though...

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You're talking about completely replacing the engine... sounds a lot like upgrading the hardware. Tweaking would be adjusting settings (valve timings, air-fuel mixtures, using lighter weight fuel, etc etc). Now you're not the one comparing apples to apples.

Exactly!

Nice of him to go out of his way to make our point against himself like that.

Want a faster car? Upgrade parts! (I was half-expecting him to say he happily charges $3500 to stick on a pair of racing stripes on the hood :rolleyes: )

But when it comes to computers, somehow when you put a new motherboard/CPU/RAM in their PC, their monitor & printer that were perfectly good (he had no problem letting them keep them for use with their old tweaked P3, so they must have been OK) now NEED to be changed!

That's like saying when you put that new engine in the Pinto, all of a sudden you need a whole new garage & driveway for it (even though somehow if you didn't replace the engine, they were adequate). And that makes your $3000 engine upgrade a $75000 upgrade!

That's all he's been saying from the beginning, along with things like "the $3000 engine is junk" (i.e. the E21xx) and you need the $10000 engine! (even though countless millions are happily using them) Yet, letting them use the old Pinto engine once "tweaked" (for the same price as replacing it no less) is perfectly fine? And only then you don't need the new printer and monitor? And other nonsense like grossly over-exaggerating prices of solutions that makes him look bad (like ordering parts which would provide a LOT more boost than his tweaks).

He never had a point, and further arguing with him is just going to be a massive waste of time, as he's obviously never going to have one.

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I am closing this thread by request as it got derailed and there is a lot of information for the OP in the reply posts to chew over.

Clearly it's a matter of opinion as to which tweaks (a) can be made safely without immediate or down-the-line side effects and (B) will actually make a difference to performance, or just the system startup time.

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