Saturday, October 18, 2008

Complete System Reformat

I have written before about my desire to replace my Dell laptop that I use for business with a newer model. After months of fruitless searching, I found the only suitable replacement - an Apple MacBook Pro 17. The steep price tag of the Apple had me reconsider exactly why I needed a new laptop, and I came up with the following reason. My Dell is slow. Slow is hard to quantify, but the hard drive is constantly seeking, and then I had an ah-ha moment. I remember this Dell was quite snappy under Windows XP Pro but seemed to labor under Vista. What if I took it back to XP Pro? Would the speed be acceptable to get another years' life from this machine which has served me well?

Today I found the answer. I just spent 6 hours of my life reinstalling everything from Windows XP Pro to Office 2007 to SQL Server. I was able to save my virtual machines, and VPC is running 10x faster now than it did before. The only negative I have seen is that the Windows Mobile Device center is no longer and it's back to Active Sync for the cellphone.

Why do so many people have problems with Vista? I think the software itself is not too bad, but it is definately a bloated O/S. My Dell is maxed out at 2 GB ram, and with Vista and VPC I would fill it all up. Doing the same on XP Pro I am still at 1.2 GB with everything running. I think I will be very happy with this reformat, and thus be able to squeeze another year out of this machine.

Aside from dealing with a slow Vista system, I have had some problems with WM 6.1 on my Sprint Mogul. This version of software seems to have memory leaks such that the memory fills up and necessitates a reboot every 3-4 days to keep everything running OK. I'm slightly surprised and disappointed that Microsoft has not yet fixed these errors. The 6.1 software is 10x better than the old 5.0 that I had on my last phone, but I am definately looking forward to Windows 7 for both the laptop and phone. Let's just hope that MSFT puts a lot of work into slimming down both systems to make them run better.

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