2/14/2009

02-14-09 - Fuck Computers

Alissa's new lappy just started blue-screening during boot. It started with PowerDVD doing some weird video glitching trying to watch a DVD, so I think hey I'll just try uninstalling and installing the latest version and whatnot see if it's a driver/version issue. Then restart and BLAMMO.

So when you BSOD in boot, Vista immediately dumps you into "Startup Repair" so you can't even read the blue screen. Then Startup Repair sits there and churns on the disk for 15 minutes and won't let you cancel. URG WTF DO YOU THINK YOU CAN POSSIBLY BE FIXING !? Fucking hell. You have to wait for the damn Startup Repair to finish and then you get a console with a bunch of totally worthless options (like system Restore) and nothing that you would actually want (like reading the boot log, event log, selective boot options, disabling autoreboot). Instead you have to reboot and try to get your F8 in before it hangs.

Also, "System Restore" is such a worthless piece of fuck. It doesn't actually properly track a whole history for programs, so if you ever actually try to use it, it just completely hoses your machine and leaves you with programs that are not correctly installed and not hooked up to the registry right and won't even uninstall any more. (apparently this is another Vista delight - a lot of programs get themselves into states where the uninstall won't even run anymore; PowerDVD does this; actually PowerDVD is just a fucking malware piece of ass that needs to go).

Urg urg. After much fucking about I think I've got the system back to stable. But after all this installing and uninstalling I no longer have any faith in it and want to do a clean reinstall to wipe the slate. Frick.

Some things I've done : Turn off disk indexing for search; Turn off Vista's constant WiFi scan with Vista Anti Lag ; turn off system restore; turn off windows defender realtime scanning (hell just turn it off completely); turn off superfetch, readyboost; disable page file; turn off automatic visual settings; turn off Aero and all visual enhancement options; switch the BIOS from IRRT to AHCI (IRRT is broked); tweak stuff with Windows Ultimate Tweaker ; install Vista codec pack (K-Lite gave me problems); install AVG (AntiVir gave me problems).

this is a decent note about some things to turn off ; and this list of scheduled tasks that come with Vista by default is absolutely horrifying. There's a shit ton of services that gather usage info and send it to MS. Also lots that track errors and are supposed to give "interactive assistance". LOL.

Another thing I just discovered : ReadyBoot. (not ReadyBoost). This is yet another fucking demon that sits around grinding your disk when it thinks you're idle. I dunno why they fucking cling to this illusion, but this whole "optimize the computer by doing a ton of fucking work when it seems you're idle" has got to go. good article about Vista tech internals ; ReadyBoot actually seems cool if it works the way it should; I'll leave it on for a while to see, but I definitely see it bogging the system with tons of HD writes to update the cache. BTW there are useful Registry Keys for PreFetcher and SuperFetch . ReadyBoot is one of those things that might be totally cool if you could just run it on a button, like hey "optimize my boot now when I tell you to and it's okay to bog my machine because I'm walking away from it", don't just fucking do it whenever you feel like it.

Office 2007 installs this fucking OneNote and Groove Folder bullshit that gets all in your startup and services and context menus and whatnot. Screw that.

One of the main things annoying me about Vista is just the explorer. Icons take way longer to load and seem to be way more async (many others have noted this). The "My Computer" view takes way longer to open - presumably because it's showing that damn disk size and usage bar on disks (EVEN ON NETWORK DISKS! WTF). Opening "Control Panel" takes forever (not that it was acceptably fast in XP, but now its even worse). There just seems to be a lot more lag in lots of little operations (even closing an explorer window is laggy).

I miss 98lite ; the Win95 explorer was nice and snappy with none of the fucking async shit and weird icon rendering and excessive displays. When Win98 came out it had a dog-slow shell, but 98lite let you plug in the Win95 explorer, and it was aces. I suppose it's probably impossible these days, but it would be hot to have the Win2k explorer in Vista.

Anyhoo. Some other useful things I've found : DPC Latency Checker Tool . Apparently these lappies have some driver/hardware problem ( documented here among other places). I observed the problem on this lappy with dpclat. Changing to AHCI and disabling eSATA seems to largely fix it. BTW this Lappy is almost 100% Intel - CPU, Chipset, Graphics, WiFi, SATA controller, all Intel. You should think that would mean they play together well. LOL. There appear to be a lot of problems with bus traffic conflicts which is causng this DPC issue. When I do the Vista reinstall on this machine I think I'll go with the 8.2 version of the Intel Matrix drivers, which is supposed to work better than the new 8.7. BTW Reinstalling Windows with a different disk mode is a pain in the ass.

Actually the ReadyBoot thing reminds me - damn machines should be better set up to run stuff overnight. All this scheduled task bullshit is not what you want. The way ReadyBoot and Defrags and Cleanups and all that work is fucked up. When I'm about to go to bed I want to hit a button that says "okay do all your work now", and then it kicks in and runs a whole queued sequence of disk check, defrag, boot optimization, virus scan, etc. and when I wake up in the morning it's all done and my machine won't do any of that shit during the day when I use it. There's not need for the machine to try to guess when I'm away - when I go home from the office at night I can easily hit the "optimize now" on my office machine - OR I can choose not to do it because I was in the middle of something and left an app running.

And all this damn Windows adjusting takes SO FUCKING LONG because everything requires a reboot, and so many of these damn apps insist on grinding the disk for fucking hours for now reason. Like my god, when I just fucking open the System Restore options - give me the damn GUI so I can turn it off before you go spin on the disk for a few MINUTES searching for possible restore points. Every little step is like click a mouse - wait a few minutes - click a mouse - wait a few minutes. GRR GRR.

I am, much to my chagrin managing 5 computers right now, and every single one of them has some fucking problem or other that bothers me on a near-daily basis (and even when it's not actually in my face, it's in the back of my mind that I need to fix it). God dammit. I want to be a farmer. If only it took a lot of cleverness and intelligence to grow cabbages. And if they sold for $100 each.

Oh.. and there's more. La di da, the Intel Graphics only works right if Aero is enabled. If Aero is off, you get random color bar crazy noise popping up every once in a while (only in full screen when watching DVD's it seems). The display properties default to 40 fps. Yay. When you change themes to turn Aero on or off, it also resets tons of your other options, like window effects options, and sounds. Oh yeah of course I wanted to turn sounds on, thanks. The newest Intel drivers refuse to install because they weren't "validated for this computer" ; after you do the manual install that forces that to override, then you get like 4 popups at bootup saying "warning this is not safe to run ok/cancel"; yurg, now I have to figure out how to turn that off. Oh, and the damn Intel Graphics comes with all these crazy video processing options enabled like noise reduction and flicker fixing and so on. YARG quit working on crazy as features and just make your basic shit WORK!

12 comments:

Sly said...

> BTW there are useful Registry Keys for PreFetcher and SuperFetch
Careful there: these prefetcher "optimizations" proved to be 100% counter-productive on XP.

Best reactivity trick for Windows (but a bit costly): WinXP on a good SSD. 150$+. Then one can save a bit on the rest of the machine (CPU, memory...) and still get a faster, or at least more reactive, computer overall.

cbloom said...

Yeah, I mean "useful" in that you can set them to 0 to turn them off completely ;)

AK said...

Well, no more old lappy after Thursday! 21st century chivalry: coming to the rescue of a girl's computer.

Sly said...

> Yeah, I mean "useful" in that you
> can set them to 0 to turn them off
> completely ;)

Which you really DON'T want to do: the boot time will get 4 times longer, and starting your most common applications will also get slower.
Tested and rejected here, I'll simply leave that with the default value (aka 3 aka "everything on")

They're a few pages about those WinXP "tricks", explaining half are coming from Win3/9x and they are completely obsolete, while most others actually hurt the computer performance.

Example: http://home.comcast.net/~SupportCD/XPMyths.html

cbloom said...

Nonsense, a lot of that stuff is silly, but they are also flat wrong about a lot of things.

FAT32 is in fact faster than NTFS in certain common cases.

Myth - "Disabling System Restore improves performance."

Reality - "System Restore does not cause any noticeable performance impact when monitoring your computer. The creation of a Restore point also is a very fast process and usually takes only a few seconds. ..."

LOL !? GFY !! DIAGF !!

Jesus, almost everything on that page is wrong.

Turning off page file does in fact make a *huge* improvement to performance. I used to just *hate* Windows until I got 2 G of RAM and realized I could now just turn off the paging file and actually SWITCH TASKS without having it drop them out to disk for no damn reason cuz I had plenty of free RAM. The Windows paging scheme is seriously borked.

Another other :

Myth - "Deleting Temp Files improves performance."

Reality - Deleting temporary files does not improve application, gaming or system performance on NTFS volumes.

God they are fucking dumb. The temp file dirs often get to > 1000 files in them which causes NTFS to totally eat its own ass. I find that both IE and FireFox pretty quickly both commit temp-file suicide by loading with their application temp dirs full of junk. It greatly improves performance to delete those things.

Myth - "Using Windows 2000 over Windows XP will improve performance"

Reality - Windows XP offers better performance than Windows 2000

!? WAT !?

I want instant responsiveness at all times. I also want my hard drive to be silent unless I'm telling it to do something. It really pisses me off when I'm sitting there thinking about some algorithm and all of a sudden my hard drive starts grinding because some damn services decided I was idle and it's going to evict my DevStudio instance to the paging file cuz obviously I didn't need that in memory, right?

Anyway, like I said I'm gonna leave ReadyBoot on for now and see what it can do for me. I'm pissed that I have to have Aero on for the damn graphics to work.

Sly said...

Should have read the page I quoted :(
I guess parts of this page comes straight from Ms. I still stand on my point about the Prefetcher.

> Turning off page file does in fact
> make a *huge* improvement to
> performance. I used to just *hate*
> Windows until I got 2 G of RAM and
> realized I could now just turn off
> the paging file and actually

Indeed. For some crazy reasons, Win will always try to swap some good part of memory to piss me up. I used to disable page file on all computers I use... except one of today's salon consoles compiler eats memory like sugar shit. Meaning I'm to use several gigs of paging as we're under 32 bits Win :(

> !? WAT !?
Now you start sounding like a drunk Scottish, whaH Hhe fuck? :)

cbloom said...

LOL the cursing is contagious.

I am embarassed to admit that I was one of the people running those "memory reclaimers" back in the old days that were total snake oil. So I am definitely suceptible to bogus tweaks.

I just want to get the computer stripped down to a starting point where it is as simple and clean as possible, with no sudden unexpected CPU uses or hard disk churning or memory stealing. Then once I know its clean I can start adding features back in and make sure each one is okay one by one.

The OS now comes with just so much ass enabled by default that its impossible to tell what the problems are and I think it's best to start off by just turning everything off.

Sly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sly said...

Actually I wished there was a way to flush the pagefile in memory, either automatically if there's enough free ram for some time, or if I launch some program...

My work PC gets significantly slower after building for one particular console, using more and more swap when free ram is available.

steve said...

Redtube Cams

Andrew said...

Absolutely nothing is wrong on the XP Myths page.

"FAT32 is in fact faster than NTFS in certain common cases."

Yes on drive volumes less than 400MB(not GB). Once the volume gets over 32GB Fat32 performance gets worse and worse.

- Boot time with FAT32 is increased because of the time required to read all of the FAT structure. This must be done to calculate the amount of free space when the volume is mounted.
- Read/write performance with FAT32 is affected because the file system must determine the free space on the disk through the small views of the massive FAT structure. This leads to inefficiencies in file allocation.

If you really think System Restore negatively effects performance please provide documented reproducible tests done on a non overclocked clean install of Windows XP. No one has yet to do so.

"Turning off page file does in fact make a *huge* improvement to performance. I used to just *hate* Windows until I got 2 G of RAM and realized I could now just turn off the paging file and actually SWITCH TASKS without having it drop them out to disk for no damn reason cuz I had plenty of free RAM. The Windows paging scheme is seriously borked.Without the paging file you can experience various problems, including hangs and crashes that people blame on Windows or applications. Windows optimally uses the paging file (unless you tried to "teak it"), the more RAM in your PC the less Windows will use the paging file. Obviously on low RAM PCs Windows will swap more (by design) to allow you to run more applications at once - otherwise you would have to close one program to use another. Your only option is to add more RAM if you notice that the paging file is frequently being used since you are exceeding the working set RAM size of your applications. This is not Microsoft's fault or the paging file.

"God they are fucking dumb. The temp file dirs often get to > 1000 files in them which causes NTFS to totally eat its own ass. I find that both IE and FireFox pretty quickly both commit temp-file suicide by loading with their application temp dirs full of junk. It greatly improves performance to delete those things."

Again no documented reproducible tests to back up this erroneous claim. How many temp files existing on disk has nothing to do with IE or Firefox application loads times. Though disabling Prefetching or using FAT32 on large volumes will reduce performance. IE and Firefox do not load their temp directories on startup.

"Reality - Windows XP offers better performance than Windows 2000

!? WAT !?
"

Yes this is a fact, Windows and applications load faster in Windows XP thanks to new XP features such as Prefetching. Performance is also improved when resuming from standby or hibernation.

"I want instant responsiveness at all times. I also want my hard drive to be silent unless I'm telling it to do something. It really pisses me off when I'm sitting there thinking about some algorithm and all of a sudden my hard drive starts grinding because some damn services decided I was idle and it's going to evict my DevStudio instance to the paging file cuz obviously I didn't need that in memory, right?"

The "grinding" can be due to many things, usually the indexing service to improve search, third party programs like Google Search can do the same thing.

FYI the XP Myths page is for Windows XP only not Vista, though most of the myths carry over, like the Prefetching ones.

cbloom said...

Dear lord.

Do not respond to the troll...

Serenity now !

old rants