Windows 7 — Approach to System Performance


Many folks have commented and written email about the topic of performance of Windows. The dialog has been wide ranging—folks consistently want performance to improve (of course). As with many topics we will discuss, performance, as absolute and measurable as it might seem, also has a lot of subtlety. There are many elements and many tradeoffs involved in achieving performance that meets everyone’s expectations. We know that even meeting expectations, folks will want even more out of their Windows PCs (and that’s expected). We’ve re-dedicated ourselves to work in this area in Windows 7 (and IE 8). This is a major initiative across each of our feature teams as well as the primary mission of one of our feature teams (Fundamentals). For this post, I just wanted to frame the discussion as we dig into the topic of performance in subsequent posts.  Folks might find this post on IE8 performance relevant along with the beta 2 release of IE 8. 


Performance is made up of many different elements. We could be talking about response time to a specific request. It might mean how much RAM is “typical” or what CPU customers need. We could be talking about the clock time to launch a program. It could mean boot or standby/resume. It could mean watching CPU activity or disk I/O activity (or lack disk activity). It could mean battery life. It might even mean something as mundane as typical disk footprint after installation. All of these are measures of performance. All of these are systematically tracked during the course of development. We track performance by running a known set of scenarios (there are thousands of these) and developers can run specific scenarios based on exercising more depth or breadth. The following represent some (this is just a partial list) of the metrics we are tracking and while developing Windows 7:



  • Memory usage – How much memory a given scenario allocates during a run. As you know, there is a classic tradeoff in time v. space in computer science and we’re not exempt. We see this tradeoff quite a bit in caches where you can use more memory (or disk space) in order to improve performance or to avoid re-computing something.

  • CPU utilization – Clearly, modern microprocessors offer enormous processing power and with the advent of multiple cores we see the opportunity for more parallelism than ever before. Of course these resources are not free so we measure the CPU utilization across benchmark runs as well. In general, the goal should be to keep the CPU utilization low as that improves multi-user scenarios as well as reduces power consumption.

  • Disk I/O – While hard drives have improved substantially in performance we still must do everything we can do minimize the amount that Windows itself does in terms of reading and writing to disk (including paging of course). This is an area receiving special attention for Windows 7 with the advent of solid state storage devices that have dramatically different “characteristics”.

  • Boot, Shutdown, Standby/Resume – All of these are the source of a great deal of focus for Windows 7. We recognize these can never be fast enough. For these topics the collaboration with the PC manufacturers and hardware makers plays a vital role in making sure that the times we see in a lab (or the performance you might see in a “clean install”) are reflected when you buy a new PC.

  • Base system – We do a great deal to measure and tune the base system. By this we mean the resource utilization of the base system before additional software is loaded. This system forms the “platform” that defines what all developers can count on and defines the system requirements for a reasonable experience. A common request here is to kick something out of the base system and then use it “on demand”. This tradeoff is one we work on quite a bit, but we want to be careful to avoid the situation where the vast majority of customers face the “on demand” loading of something which might reduce perceived performance of common scenarios.

  • Disk footprint – While not directly related to runtime performance, many folks see the footprint of the OS as indicative of the perceived performance. We have some specific goals around this metric and will dive into the details soon as well. We’ll also take some time to explain \Windows\WinSxS as it is often the subject of much discussion on technet and msdn! Here rather than runtime tradeoffs we see convenience tradeoffs for things like on disk device drivers, assistance content, optional Windows components, as well as diagnostics and logging information.

We have criteria that we apply at the end of our milestones and before we go to beta and we won’t ship without broadly meeting these criteria. Sometimes these criteria are micro-benchmarks (page faults, processor utilization, working set, gamer frame rates) and other times they are more scenario based and measure time to complete a task (clock time, mouse clicks). We do these measurements on a variety of hardware platforms (32-bit or 64-bit; 1, 2, 4GB of RAM; 5400 to 7200 RPM or solid-state disks; a variety of processors, etc.) Because of the inherent tradeoffs in some architectural approaches, we often introduce conditional code that depends on the type of hardware on which Windows is running.


On the one hand, performance should be straight forward—use less, do less, have less. As long as you have less of everything performance should improve. At the extreme that is certainly the case. But as we have seen from the comments, one person’s must-have is another person’s must-not-have. We see this a lot with what some on have called “eye candy”—we get many requests to make the base user interface “more fun” with animations and graphics (“like those found on competing products”) while at the same time some say “get rid of graphics and go back to Windows 2000”. Windows is enormously flexible and provides many ways to tune the experience. We heard lots on this forum about providing specific versions of Windows customized for different audiences, while we also heard quite a bit about the need to reduce the number of versions of Windows. However, there are limits to what we can provide and at the same time provide a reliable “platform” that customers and developers can count on and is robust and manageable for a broad set of customers. But of course within a known context (within your home or within a business running a known set of software) it will always be possible to take advantage of the customization and management tools Windows has to offer to tune the experience. The ability to have choice and control what goes on in your PC is of paramount importance to us and you will see us continue to focus on these attributes with Windows 7.


By far the biggest challenge in delivering a great PC experience relative to performance is that customers keep using their PCs to do more and more things and rightfully expect to do these things on the PC they own by just adding more and more software. While it is definitely the case that Windows itself adds functionality, we work hard to pick features that we believe benefit the broadest set of customers. At the same time, a big part of Windows 7 will be to continue to support choice and control over what takes place in Windows with respect to the software that is provided, what the default handlers are for file types and protocols, and providing a platform that makes it easy for end-users to personalize their computing experience.


Finally, it is worth considering real world versus idealized settings. In order to develop Windows we run our benchmarks in a lab setting that allows us to track specifically the code we add and the impact that has. We also work closely with the PC Manufacturers and assist them in benchmarking their systems as they leave the factory. And for true real-world performance, the Microsoft Customer Experience Improvement Program provides us (anonymous, private, opt-in) data on how machines are really doing. We will refer to this data quite a bit over the next months as it forms a basis for us to talk about how things are really working, rather than using anecdotes or less reliable forms of information.


In our next post we will look at startup and boot performance, and given the interest we will certainly have more to say about the topic of performance.


–Steven

Comments (113)

  1. justausr says:

    A great post about the complexity oif making the choice, but how about this for a simple guiding principle:

    On a 2Gb Core 2 system, no feature/function should be slower than it was on a 1G Pentium M XP system.

    This is certainly not the case today and why many of us have said performance is issue #1.

  2. tallPete says:

    Well, I am going to stick my neck out here and say that I loved the improvements to Vista for standby and resume. It is very fast, and it improved further in SP1. For resume, it looks like the screen display is restored first, and then the other devices – (good psychology to make it seem faster!) but if I was to ask for one improvement, it is that the screen comes up with a password prompt in my case, but the keyboard takes its time to be resumed/restored, so I am left pressing keys trying to input my password, trying to see if the keyboard is working yet. Perhaps the keyboard could be restored as the second device? My system is an HP laptop, nc8430 running Vista 32 and a pretty much standard HP config. Cheers folks.

  3. domenico says:

    PLS no Crapware in WIndows 7 (OEM productor)

  4. Mantvydas says:

    What I lack mentioning in these posts about performance is the Microsoft developer experience in writing effective code.

    Not only Windows has been suffering from sluggish performance lately, but also Office, IE 7, System Center products, etc.

    Like we heard about the security from Microsoft a few years ago, that it became a concern of highest priority, that every developer had obligatory courses on how to write as secure code as possible and we, customers, really saw the fruits of that – first in XP SP2, later Vista and other products.

    So needs the focus on the performance to come back to Microsoft now at a very high level – we’ve seen so much about the "bloated code" from the customers and press, they’re not out of nowhere. Not new code with new features, but old code needs to be reviewed and made more effective.

  5. Aetyr says:

    Thanks for an informative post about the basics of how you guys gauge performance. I’m quite looking forward to the promise of more details on boot/start-up next time, as it’s an area which could always use improving – as you say, it can never really be fast enough!

    Just reading the comments on these posts tells me it’s a bloody hard job for you guys to balance people’s needs – like the typical example of all the people on these comments, some saying "there were way too many versions of Windows Vista" versus those saying they want different versions to allow different experiences. I was thinking, is it at all possible to please both camps by selling just one flavour of Windows which would have on the disc(s) the equivalent of Windows Vista Ultimate (i.e. all the features from all the lower versions). Then you have an option at the start of the install that asks the user whether they want to install Windows 7 Basic, Windows 7 Media, Windows 7 Gaming, Windows 7 Pro, Windows 7 Ultimate or a Windows 7 Custom where they can DIY their install and choose exactly what is or isn’t installed.

    Obviously the name suggestions are just ones I’ve pulled out of my head in 30 seconds to demonstrate the point, I have no idea what different levels you’d choose yourself. It just seems like a good way to put one single version of Windows on the shelf so people always know they’re buying what they need and you can please people who want that, while still offering that level of choice and customisability that you get from having different default installations.

    I imagine the team that writes the installer part of Windows 7 is rolling their eyes at this suggestion, either because it’s technically implausible or because it’s a much bigger undertaking than I can comprehend, but I figure any suggestion at all is better than me just saying "fix x, y or z" without trying to put myself in your shoes and actually put forward something constructive, if completely ignorant of how it all works.

  6. stevex says:

    Here’s my take on Windows performance:  A clean install of Windows performs very well.  Over time, Windows performance degrades.  In my opinion this is Windows weakest area, and you didn’t address it here.

    Why does Windows slow down over time, and more importantly, how can Windows protect itself from this?

    If you can eliminate having to "re-pave" your system every year to regain the performance that a fresh install gives, now that would be a reason to upgrade.

  7. samrbrimble says:

    You say that a must have feature for one user is a no-no for another. Why not provide the option to the user – split the OS up at setup so the user chooses what they want. If they want the pretty fun UI, let them have it, if they want the windows 2000 UI, let it be.

  8. ups says:

    Memory usage – How much memory a given scenario allocates during a run. As you know, there is a classic tradeoff in time v. space in computer science and we’re not exempt.

    So is important to react when something is as slow or slower and takes the double of the space.

    What I would really like to see in this blog is a roadmap. So far I’ve read a bunch of excuses on how difficult it is to please everyone when asking totally different things. So, I guess that is up to you to choose what is really important (eg: eye candy vs speed and usability) and stick to it! The worst that can happen is something like vista that does not seem to please either group and get stuck somewhere in the middle.

    Don’t get me wrong.. this discussion you are having here is important.. but meaningless if no conclusions are taken.

  9. anttikarhu says:

    I really hope you really take lots of effort on improving the performance. I red somewhere that Windows 7 would not require _much_ more power from the computer than Vista. Since Vista is very bloated, a fact no one can deny, I remain quite sceptical about the thing you wrote here.

    The big issue with all windows releases have been that you simply cannot leave those dozens of useless components and services unistalled and unstarted automatically in the install. Every time I reinstall windows (no need to do this as regular as before thou), I have to go through a list of services I will never use, and shut down those by hand. But I they still exist on the hard drive. I’m sure HDD space is cheap today (but also cosider the SSDs), but I’m sure there is even _some_ files in the few GBs that could be left off.

  10. Pendragon says:

    Performance is a real tricky subject. Sometimes it’s measurable, you can time stuff. Other times it’s subjective, "it just feels slow"

    One of the plus points to Vista in my opinion is that the GUI is snappy and responsive. Others that maybe don’t have the hardware complain that it’s fat slow useless eye candy. A point I have mentioned in other replays, If a cheap Dell laptop can handle Vista and your PC can’t you are running the wrong OS for your hardware. New versions of Windows is for new computers. So please no more calls for Win7 to run on old kit! and then mention the poor performance…

    One type of performance that hasn’t been mentioned is one of productivity. Not the OS but the user! If the GUI is complicated or causes the user to do stuff in a strange way it becomes a barrier to productivity. A well designed GUI should be an aid to productivity. How much faster does a computer feel if you can quickly get a task completed. How bad dose it feel if you have to do battle with your PC to get stuff done.

    So a snappy and responsive desktop with a task orientated GUI. I would like the opportunity to define what those tasks are. Even complicated multi step stuff with a single click once I have set it up.

    Most of the rest of the stuff, the hardware will take up the slack. This shouldn’t be used to cover poor code or sloppy integration of moduals. But no one sets out to wright sloppy code.

    Please don’t fall pray to the nay sayers that call for Win7 to run fast on slow computers. If you do we will not get the feature rich Windows experience we have come to expect from MS. It has to be super fantastic with eye candy, toys, productivity. Because you charge for your product, and charge a lot in a market where nobody else does…

  11. Tihiy says:

    You have time to make W7 closer to perfection.

    I believe performance is #1 perfection point.

    There are many problems with WV performance, and that’s because, i believe, there were a lot of ‘macro-optimizations’, instead of ‘micro-optimizations’ which were favored before.

    – Spend more time polishing. There is too much small things were done badly in WV, and team leaders must know (otherwise what leaders they are?!)

    – Optimize common code. Count how much different PNG/JPG ‘codec’ implementations are in WV? I can count about 10.

    – Remove dead resources and files hanging from alphas/betas/DOS-81…

    – Throw WinSxS please. That was the worst design decision ever possible. The closest example i can think of are cheap game makers filling files with random bytes to make game cost more CDs and more money.

  12. sniper511 says:

    Quoting: "On the one hand, performance should be straight forward—use less, do less, have less. As long as you have less of everything performance should improve. At the extreme that is certainly the case."

    I just about hit the floor when I read those two lines.  When, exactly, is this NOT the case?!  The less CPU time, disk time, memory is being used up by background processes, the more nimble the system should be in running on-demand processes.

  13. anttikarhu says:

    As a response to Pentagon’s post.

    This is really a thing I have wondered many years now. How can the new OS’s be so heavy? The programming tools evolve, compilers have better optimizing capabilities, HW doubles it’s capacity once in a while, the programmers have more and more knowledge about programming… But still when a new OS comes, I need a high end hardware to run it.

    The new features are ok, but the really new features are few – most of the new things just replace something old. Many of the waited features were left off the Vista release.

    The improved security is great, but the lack of security is usually just thing done wrong in the previous products.

    I just cannot understand how change of one OS version goes beyond 6 years or PC hardware development. I really cannot.

    New hardware is an easy way to hide and forget the heaviness of a new OS. We the customers should not accept that so easily. Of course I can buy new hardware, but I got perfectly functional computers I cannot buy a Windows for. That is wrong.

  14. S.Umair says:

    I can think of a case when using MORE means better performance. At a given point in time unused RAM can be sheer waste. If an OS utilises some of that "unused" RAM by preloading certain things so that when we need to use them we don’t have for wait them to be read from hard disk.

    Because the RAM was NOT being used, it didn’t impact performance and preloading saved our time and improved performance.

    If the user requires RAM for any process that wasn’t already loaded in RAM and the available RAM wasnt sufficient, the OS should be able to release that RAM it used for preloading.

    This is exactly what Vista does, I believe. And that is why I like it.

    And I am only an accountant.

  15. binsurf says:

    Perhaps, since Microsoft is intent on following some of Apple’s paths (I know, they won’t admit that, and I understand), they could do what the Mac OS does for applications and do away with the registry altogether. Have applications maintain their own settings and info themselves. This would eliminate hostile take-overs by drive-by downloads or rogue applications installed by third party applications. For OS specific configurations, have a skeletal hive that maintains a minimum of settings and the rest are handled by the apps themselves. This would greatly improve performance, since I’ve noticed that the registry is about 40% the reason for performance slow-downs over time. Mostly because uninstalled apps tend to leave drops of their blood in there even though they were removed.

  16. E.Fahd says:

    I think Microsoft should definitely think about shiping only two Windows versions. A "Personnal" and a "Professionnal" one. Then, once I buy a version, I can select during the installation which use I generally make of Windows.

    For example, if I want "Ultimate" I’ll just buy a "Personnal" Windows and then do an "Advanced" installation which will allow me to "Select All" features or to choose specific features to install. Someone who uses his computer only for entertainement (games, media, etc.) will also buy "Personnal" Windows but choose a "Games and Media" installation.

    I think this would *really* make our lifes much easier and we would be very thankful if purchasing and installing windows becomes just as "clear ans easy" as this. Plus, by doing this, you’re satisfying the guy who wants a lot of versions as well as the guy who just wants few versions.

  17. binsurf says:

    Yeah, problem is, MS can’t make money off of one version. They split it all up for cost reasons and to make more money from it. If Windows Vista were setup like that, it would likely be on 2 DVDs and cost around $399. Not only is this not fair to the consumer, but also MS would make much from it since it’s a single source of income from teh OS. It’s a trade-off. Make 3 version max and stick to it. This ultimate, home and basic crap is ridiculous. Make Home, Media, and Advanced. Period.

  18. binsurf says:

    Oh, and get rid of Home Basic. What the heck was that? A booby prize?

  19. guillep2k says:

    One of the most annoying performance strategies I find in Windows is the tendency of the file system cache to take most of the memory, even the memory currently in use by programs. Or perhaps it’s the other way around: the tendency for the memory manager to keep paging out the processes’ memory even when it’s not quite necessary. This might be difficult to experience in the kind of performance tests done in laboratories.

    I usually leave 8-12 applications open (some of them being 20-30 open tabs browsers… yes, browser/S/). I don’t reboot my PC for weeks (thanks XP for being so stable!) nor close any of those programs if I can help it. Typically, after performing long file system operations (like copying/creating large files, watching a movie, etc.), most applications become paged out. I certainly don’t want more than 512M of my 2GB used in file system caching, and even less in a single large file I will only need to access once. Since Windows 2003 server SP1 there is the SetSystemFileCacheSize() system call, which I tried to use with not much luck. I have some proposals about this, which you might want to consider (these are my own thoughts, which I hereby donate to the public domain):

    * File system cache should limit the amount of blocks it caches for each file; that can be achieved in the read/write system calls, by counting the amount of bytes sequencially read/written and switching to a "no cache" mode after a certain threshold. Of course, scattered read/writes should be properly cached as they most probably come from some kind of database system. For video playback programs, perhaps a more refined strategy would be to cache only the latest blocks, to speed up the ocassional temporary rewind, but that’s more difficult to implement.

    * I don’t have in-depth knowledge of the Windows memory system, but it seems it tends to page out text and data from programs even if the memory is not immediately needed. If that’s the case, then that memory shouldn’t be immediately recalled as free; if, for example, that memory is paged out in order to speed up a potential hybernate process, it doesn’t mean it’s not still there and ready to be used by the process.

    Anyway, Windows should make its best effort to avoid paging out process memory; there is an old performance setting "Optimize for programs server", but the "Programs" setting doesn’t quite cut it.

    PS: My currently open programs are: Opera Browser (18 tabs), Visual Studio 2005 + Help, MS Outlook 2003, WinCVS, Total Commander (three windows + several tabs), Word Magic Tools, Adobe Reader, EmEditor (3 documents) Calculator, Winamp, Miranda (3 accounts), OfficeScan, SoundControl, totaling about ~1GB VM size. Many programs have 30~70% memory blocks paged out. I have 2GB of memory.

  20. guillep2k says:

    There’s another idea I forgot to mention in my previous comment:

    * When idle for some time, Windows should get back from the page file all the blocks paged out from interactive processes.

  21. wolferey says:

    "While it is definitely the case that Windows itself adds functionality, we work hard to pick features that we believe benefit the broadest set of customers."

    Have you ever thought about turning the tables on this one? Let customers pick the features they believe would benefit them? Kind of like the sidebar feature in vista, where people can search through a database of widgets they can add to the sidebar.

    Provide users with the bare minimum, the core of windows, then provide them with a database (with good explanations of what the feature is and does) so they themselves can pick what they feel/think is necesarry.

    For someone who writes alot, he could add tablet software, language packs, writing tools etc, while someone who only plays games could just add support for old/new games, directx and stuff.

    Pants optional is the way to go!

  22. steven_sinofsky says:

    @sniper511 — Hi there.  I am sorry I might not have been totally clear for you.  The basic view is that more can be less–background and caches are two examples of where using more CPU or more memory for something means using "more" but those both can make things faster (not appear faster, but actually be faster).  That’s the tradeoff I was referring to.

    The broader point (@wolferey, for example) is that I think we’re seeing that there is one thread of feedback that says to start from some definition of minimum and then build things up from there–we’re definitely in sync on understanding this.  Today in Windows Vista we have two ways to do that–first you can pick Windows Home Basic and add your own software, or you can pick a more "feature-oriented" version.  With that you can then customize what is running through the "Windows Features" control panel (or via other means available within Windows depending on the feature).  Most of the items mentioned by many people can be turned off along those lines (tablet PC, speech, language support, etc.), some features can be controlled via options (sidebar and gadgets, indexing) and then there are many of the user-interface elements that can be altered via the advanced performance settings.  And "Set Your Default Programs" can make sure that you launch only the software you want to launch for any given protocol/file type (for pictures, for example).

    –Steven

  23. thcase says:

    One of my frustrations when dealing with boot-up and login time is the lack of control over what applications, services, and other processes get started at run time.  Having to go into the registry and hunt down all the potential holes is frustrating.  What I would like to see is a centralized control panel applet that allows administrators to control the start-up process and eliminate the "junk" the accumulates.  In addition, the panel would allow administrators to easily create different start-up profiles depending on use of system.

  24. m.schmidler says:

    Thanks, wonderful detailed post, I really appreciate the time you spend on the community (but were still thirsty for knowledge ^^).

    I think the problems you adressed could be solved by just give the user a bit more configuration options. For example if I´d like to "tune" my system without buying new hardware I have very few options: Switch to Win2000 style – never. Defrag…doesnt really help..by the way, got worse with Vista, still too less options and not as powerful as other apps. What else ? The "Performance Information and Tools" dialog is quite nice, helps a bit.

    But what I think would was really cool: modular windows. Please, tell us if its doable. So many people I know would like to turn things off, just to alleviate the system a bit. Take a look at vLite – THIS should be integrated into Windows 7.

  25. irdawood says:

    Steve,

    I have to agree with the above; in letting the user choose what he/she wants.

    Obviously have a ‘typical’ installation option but also the advanced one.

    ButIi believe this is not the only problem with Windows, this being a different point completely and that is… there is so much software out there (made by MS) which effectively does the same thing.

    I mean like a general picture gallery viewer:

    You have the standard viewer, you have the MS Office picture viewer, you have the windows live gallery viewer just to mention a few…streamline it all into one or make it in such a way that rather then creating different apps let it add extensions to the original.

    Another example is the ‘address book’ its so badly integrated into the system that if I have Outlook installed then it doesn’t synchronise between the two.

    Another example is the mail client… we have Outlook express (or whatever its called now), we have windows desktop live mail and we have Microsoft Office Outlook…each one running independently of the other. Streamline the whole thing give it polish, its these small things that people see and generate their opinions from.

    And I know this is a Windows 7 blog, but what about all of us that paid that extra for Vista Ultimate?? I mean if you’re going to count language packs as being an ‘extra’ then don’t expect a lot of custom for windows 7 ‘ultimate’.

    Another point, the sidebar had/still does the potential for being so so much more except it just wasn’t exploited, Microsoft rather then jumping from one ship to the next; have a clear idea what you want and produce end to end solutions. Just take a look the concept shots from around 2003 of what you wanted in the sidebar and look at the mostly 3rd party add ons out there now. There are soo many ideas for gadgets out there and its Microsoft that needs to get behind them and build them rather then leave it to the 3rd party developers. Windows live messenger gadgets, better integration with Microsoft Outlook and so on and so forth, rather then leaving it to the 3rd party at least for essential gadgets mentioned above MS should develop.

  26. irdawood says:

    I think what hits most people in terms of performance is the initial boot into the OS, If MS somehow could control what applications are loaded on startup we wouldnt have so many complaints of windows being so slow.

    At the moment every software house wants to load an ‘updater’ tool into startup…seems to be in fashion i think?lol, it just means that windows boots slow.

    I think if windows made that part of the registry protected then that may help.

  27. Cartman05 says:

    Most people I know today rarely ever shut down their computer because it takes too long. They just leave it running. I liked Vista’s improvements to shutdown but it took a while to figure out what different features were. For example, there is now sleep, hibernation and hybrid sleep, sometimes only one of these options appears on the shut down menu while other times, there may be more. This could be very confusing to the average user. Also, by default, the power button on the start menu does not shut down the computer which makes no sense to me and it is also hard to change this setting.

  28. Hairs says:

    Someone above has pointed out the elephant in the corner all right in nLite/vLite. I think when it has got to the stage where a 3rd party developer has produced a tool that lets people get at the Windows actual install process and strip out the fat, then people setting the goals for Windows need to sit up and pay attention. This is a tool that’s not just being used by server managers, IT directors, or hardcore nerds, it’s being used by everyday John Doe’s, and it actually solves and addresses a lot of the points that are being brought up in this blog.

    This tool does the one thing people are calling for: to have control over the OS that they’re getting. You mentioned above that Vista has the tools and controls to do a lot of "asset stripping" and asset control, and you’re right, I think a lot of people’s performance complaints would be solved if they were prepared to poke about under the hood a bit. The problem is not so much that Vista can’t do it, it’s that Vista defaults to making us do it. Why should I install Vista, then spend hours removing all the bits I never wanted? nLite reverses that system: We, the users decide what we want *before* the OS goes in. That’s a gem of an idea. Let us create "install profiles" which can be saved in a file. Then, if you ever have to re-install, you can just point the installer to the install profile file and say "Do that!"

    PS: Bring Explorer back to the original, functional style.

    I am going to end all of my posts with that sentence it’s so important.

  29. pavelmaha says:

    I just want to point out that window vista performance has nothing very little to do with hardware users use. Unlike other OS, increase in hardware and memory or better HD doesn’t increase in performance for vista. I have quad-core with 4Gig memory and sata drive; by jaw dropped the first time I used vista; the performance is un freaking believable (and nothing changed since then, though SP2 is a bit better).

    Word of advice when it takes 4-5 from boot time to workable state; something is wrong somewhere.

    I also use Linux, it takes me 50 seconds load on this powerful system.

    Macbookpro on a inferior hardware, takes less time to boot up.

    I am not going to rant on which OS is better but its a good thing to compare yourself to other OS in performance and see where you stand.

    I appreciate (again and again) for taking the initiative to talk to windows users to see where we stand. There are some satisfied users, but make no mistake that there are a lot of disgruntled users. The only thing that’s keeping me from dumping windows is because I am a long time windows users and I have this emotional attachment to it (I know, it’s weird). But if this keeps going on with the next windows version, I think you guys will loose a lot of faithfull users, you have long alienated.

    This is a what I want on windows 7:

    – not six different version of window. 2 versions, one for home user, one for professional user; ie company – corporation. Simple, easy on the point.

    – Security should be an integrated part of the system, not a user generated "do you want this?", "do you want that?" crap.

    – fast boot time. I dont want 5 minutes for my system to load. very simple.

    – Why should we have to worry about fragmented disk. Either make a smart option where system automatically defragmenting disk in the background, with user having to ask them to do it when system is sluggish; or use a superior file system, where fragmenting is not even an option. In the year 2008, why should any operating system in their right mind worry about defragmenting their disk?

    – There is much more to be desired from windows aero effects. As far as the windows layout is concerned what has changed since windows 95? Windows need both revolutionary and evolutionery changes in most part of user experience.

    – Performance – performance – performance. Do the people who worked on windows vista still have their job? How can they sleep at night, knowing what a shameful product they created or was part of?

    Sorry for all the rants, but there is a lot of hidden anger towards windows vista and mostly towards Microsoft for the way they have handled some of their products. As if someone is intentionally screwed up. I don’t think I could have intentionally screw up with windows vista so badly…

    Keep up the good work. Hopefully we will see some good results from you guys.

  30. TECHWRITER007 says:

    Great post, many thanks…quick question here, how can I become a Windows 7 Beta Tester?

    Thanks –

    Keith Johnson,

    Hallandale, FL

    kcjwriter@hotmail.com

  31. caywen says:

    Very informative and well written. A couple of things tho:

    1. The reason that one would turn off eye candy shouldn’t generally be because of bad performance, as is the case with Vista. The reason should be solely due to aesthetic preference.

    2. Let’s make sure the reasoning presented isn’t seen as excuses. I think people want to see Microsoft recognize that it can do far better rather than delivering more of the same.

  32. kevball2 says:

    One point of preformance and stability that wasn’t list was drivers (the silent killer) i can’t how many times i have hunted down slow windows issue to be cause by some random driver that was written in 2000 and hasn’t been updated since. the code is horrible and design was not better. There needs to be more control put on the companies writting these drivers to take part in the beta testing of Windows 7 to get their drives right before the system hits production. I know there is no money in beta testing drivers in a system that no one will be adopting till the first Servie Pack (since that seems to be the thought pattern for most IT shops and businesses) so they feel they have plenty time after release to get their drivers in order. Look at Nvidia and ATI. I remeber reading that a very large percentage of BSOD during Vista betas and testing were coming from graphics card drivers. I know it is impossible to take out ever bug, it just can’t happen, but by the the OS goes prod the drivers should be at least stable and workable to a very high percent. There also needs to be push for 64-Bit 32 bit has reached its ceiling and people are clinging to it because they are afraid of change. I have problems finding everyday apps that won’t work on 64 – bit vista these days, most being games but even then most work fine. 64-bit will help reduce many many of the bottle necks you see today with seems running out of addressable space and being limited in resource allocation. Push for 64!!!

    Also what ever happen to WinFS, was it written off? will it be returning in another form?? it was an excelllent idea for replacement of the Registry which is sorely due for replacement. Hopefully that will be another feature we see in W7.

  33. domenico says:

    Mr Steven

    is possible in future testing Windows 7 Beta or RC ?

    i have 3 PC  for testing

    Enthusiast

    Notebook Dell XPS1530

    and OLD PC

    (in my old PC work fine Vista Ultimate)

    THX

    Domenico

  34. LCARS says:

    I think that the OEM practice of installing "crapware" on all systems sold is a huge contributor to the perceived performance issues with Windows. Most people experience Windows through computers that they buy from OEMs and their out of box experiences usually leave a bad impression. Start up time is sluggish while all of the 3rd party crapware loads. Most of the crapware has compatibility issues or is poorly written. This causes lots of run-time sluggishness and crashing. Poorly written explorer plug-ins result in quirky behavior.

    In truth, Windows is extremely stable and is very fast on its own. But because most people experience Windows through a crapware infested PC, they have the impression that Windows is slow, buggy, and bloated. Competitors to Windows (read: Apple) have complete control over what is installed on their computers and, as a result, have complete control over what their end-user experiences out of the box.

    I realize that the practice of installing crapware is a good one from an OEM business point of view (more money per each computer sold). However, I believe that in the long term, this practice has contributed to damaging the reputation of Windows and PCs in general.

    I am not sure what power the Windows 7 devs have over this practice but I think it would be in Microsoft’s interest to look into this issue and attempt to seek solutions to improve their end-user’s computing experience.

  35. Fredledingue says:

    I’m very glad that you tackled the issue of performance in your blog.

    "The ability to have choice and control what goes on in your PC is of paramount importance to us and you will see us continue to focus on these attributes with Windows 7"

    Exactely and everything should start from that.

    Not because it’s on my egoistic wish list but because it can solve most of the user-side problems from version to performance.

    Everthing can hold on a single version. During install, useres could choose from a list of profiles, then tweak up their profile preset further in the next window.

    After install the same procedure could be offered.

    Of course improving code is to still be an ongoing process.

    The "Disk Footprint" is not as mundane as it seems. 10 years ago, I used to make a total back up of my system on a single CD-R. Today a DVD is not enough.

    How long takes an anti-virus to scan 1.2Gb and 12 Gb?

  36. jbking says:

    Is there any metrics used in terms of how much power is being consumed?  Both in terms of how much of the electricity from the power supply is being used as a percentage as well as an absolute figure?  Will the energy consumption used in having higher performance be something that Windows 7 tries to manage, e.g. a game only needs half of the full CPU power as it bottlenecks on the GPU and so the O/S can ask the CPU to turn itself down to run at half speed and be more power efficient.

    JB

  37. TheViewMaster says:

    I Jus’Want A "Button" I Can Click On That Says,…

    "Optimize Windows 7 For Web Surfing"

    (Then, The Speed/Performance Thing In That, Web Surfing Optimization, Would Be A Given.)

  38. AndiG says:

    Have I missed something ? Is it already time to talk about performance ?

    Ok, its good to have an eye on performance all the time, but I thought that there are some major things to do.

    Maybe performance will increase if the system architecture changes a little bit. There are things to be fixed like program installation, windows attractivity for malware, compatibility issues – all the things people talked about in their comments. Its always a good idea to make it work and then to make it fast.

    What about an analysis to find out why do people say windows is slow and what is the reason for this.

    To be up to date with the discussion I just installed Vista SP1. Its installed within a virtual machine, the only place for vista at the moment (IMHO).

    But I noticed Vista eats a lot of processing power, even when its idle, while running windows xp within a virtual machine is pleasant.

    So maybe it is a good starting point  to ask why…

  39. AndiG says:

    If you talk about performance now, does that mean there will be no significant changes to the system ?

    I’m asking since if there will be major changes, it seems like a bad idea to fine tune performance and afterwards change parts of the system.

    So will Windows 7 be a Vista SE ?

  40. marcinw says:

    Hi,

    I think, that this is very good topic.

    Let’s run Windows NT 4 on modern computer (of course, I assume, that it will be possible to run it) and Vista on the same computer. And compare them – in Vista there are many modules for increasing performance and NT doesn’t need them…

    I understand, that creating something bigger in plain assembler is today maybe not possible. But maybe techniques and technologies used for creating Vista were not good…and you should start from changing them…

    And once again: people want small core, which will separate applications and which will not be slower after year or two because of a lot of missed files and entries (after uninstalled applications). Remove all stuff, which is not liked by people and which doesn’t work like expected (like DRM) and which will make core (much) slower.

    Let’s start from it and various prefetchers and other things simply will be not required. Without it you shouldn’t go into next part of Windows 7 project.

    Additionally – do you remember how slow was Windows 98 when compare it to WIndows 95. People were speaking about integrating IE with system in many bad words. When this and other integrations will be removed in current system, performance will be definitely better :)

  41. punio4 says:

    What needs to be dealt with is HOW the applications are installed.

    Here’s your generic joe-schmoe’s application:

    -One shortcut on the desktop

    -One shortcut in the quick launch bar

    -One shortcut at the base of the start menu

    -One folder in the start menu, containing a readme, another shortcut icon, uninstall, and a link to the author’s website.

    -One folder in C:Program Files

    -One folder in Docs&SettingsAll Users

    -One folder in Docs&SettingsCurrent user

    -Atleast a dozen randomly scattered keys around the registry

    -Maybe something in the Common files

    -Maybe some sort of log in C: (I love those)

    -Stuff in the Temp folder.

    -Perhaps its own folder that recreates itself in My Documents each time the app is started.

    …Do you think that is ok?

    Here’s a few suggestions:

    -Rename "Program Files" to "Programs" or "Applications"

    -Each installation MUST provide an uninstall entry in "remove programs", before installing itself.

    -The app installs itself in C:Programs and in C:UsersusernameProgram dataprogramname, and creates a SINGLE shortcut, in the start menu. No folders, no readmes, no uninstall.ink.

    And ESPECIALLY no junk on the desktop, and quick launch.

    -Try to contol what junk resides in the system tray.

  42. domenico says:

    @pavelmaha

    hey, this is my Dell XPS 1530 with Vista Ultimate x86

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXS-BfTGn7g

  43. TheViewMaster says:

    I Believe That, The Most Perceptible Change In System Speed/Performance Can Be "Easily" Demonstrated On This Very Engineering Windows 7 : Windows 7 — Approach to System Performance Webpage!

    …& That, Would Be That, In Order To Get The Most Current Content (Changes) Here, (i.e. The Comments Posted Below This Comment), You Still, In The Year 2008, Have To "Reload" The Whole, Entire Webpage (File)…

    …As Opposed To Staying On This Webpage, On ReLoad & Jus’Importing The "New" Information/Changes (Like, i.e. Stock Quotes, Which Have Been Possible For Years, Now)!!!

    Do You Have Any Idea How Much Time Has Been Lost Over The Years "ReLoading & ReLoading & ReLoading & ReLoading… Ad Infinitum" The Whole, Entire Webpage (File)…

    …Jus’To Get The "Current" Changes?

    eNuff of The Hood Ornaments, Already!!!

    Importing Jus’The "Changes" To The Webpage/(File) & Not The Whole, Entire Webpage/(File) On ReLoad Would Have a Signficant Impact On @Least The Perception of Speed/Performance of Windows 7/IE8!

    Agree?

    *Cross Posted To…

    IEBlog : Part II: Better Everyday Browsing

    http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/08/28/part-ii-better-everyday-browsing.aspx

  44. joewoodbury says:

    There is no question that Microsoft software, and Windows in particular, has gotten more bloated over the years due, I believe, to a combination of poor management and a lack of coding discipline. All too often, developers just shrug and say that faster CPUs and more memory will take care of larger, less efficient, but easier to write, algorithms. Unfortunately, when this attitude runs through all 40 or whatever development groups, the bloat and slowness very quickly add up.

    Unfortunately, too many managers don’t respect the engineering process, despite giving lip service to it, and don’t insist on quality nor give the time to developers to actually produce quality code.

    The very fact that Vista SP1 offered significant improvements in copy operations is proof positive of this thesis.

    One other advantage of code discipline: fewer bugs. And that saves lots of money.

  45. S.Umair says:

    I have noticed that some of the users aren’t very well aware of Vista’s features or negative press that Vista got alienated them. One commentator above writes, "..make a smart option where system automatically defragmenting disk in the background, with user having to ask them to do it when system is sluggish…"

    Isn’t this what Vista does? It performs automated scheduled de-fragmentation and it doesn’t even have to be completed at one time and perhaps peaks when system is idle.

    I think MS has to better highlight specific features and improvements in a very specific way.

    And jbking made a very good point about power consumption. If Windows can manage power even more smartly it would mean better performance specially for laptops since battery hours are limited.

  46. Falcon7 says:

    Thanks for the very complete paper on system performance.  I learned a lot and hope to keep learning as Windows 7 testing approaches.

  47. Florin says:

    I wrote a long comment so I split it up in sections here it goes:

    First I would like to address the fine people who comment on this blog. Comments like “make it better” or “make it faster” aren’t really helpful, but they add to the clutter and make it more difficult to find good ideas in the comments, also please read through the comments and if you find your idea expressed in more than three comments please don’t repeat it for the thousandth time, just think about something else. Thank you.

    Now a few observations on the raised issues:

    SKU Management: is a Marketing task, the Engineering department doesn’t have much to do with this decision I would imagine, it’s not an engineering task, it concerns me too little (since I used XP Pro and now Vista Ultimate), but to set a few things straight:

    There is only one Vista DVD, no matter what you install there I only ONE Vista DVD, there are no Basic, Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate DVD’s there is only ONE DVD, the edition you install depends on the serial number you purchased, and you can upgrade using the same DVD depending on the serial number you enter at setup, the setup option of what to install is made when you decide which license (SKU) you buy. (Tip: If you can’t decide, get a free trial from Microsoft, it contains the different versions, install the ones you’re interested in and then make an informed decision)

    As for having only one version, that idea is only good for Vista Ultimate users and the Windows Engineering team, because what the different versions do is save customers money by not making them pay for features they don’t use. Why would home users have business and developer features and what would businesses do with Media Center or Movie Maker? More importantly why would they pay for them and have them take up space on the drive? By now, the people who suggested a customized install where people would just install the features they need, are thinking I’m trying to prove their point, no. The Vista setup installs over 6GB of OS in 20 to 30 minutes and it does that by just unzipping an OS image and sets up drivers and options on top of that base image, ISV’s, IT pros and users are happy with the simple, mostly unattended and fast setup procedure, by contrast the XP setup installs 2GB in 20-30 minutes. So if you just want a basic Windows without eye candy use Basic, if you are a typical home user use Home Premium, and so forth.

  48. Florin says:

    As for Windows components customizations all we get is a treeview with checkboxes in the Add Windows components, which takes me, as a developer, a little time to navigate through, it could be impossible for a simple user to tell what those components mean and whether they should Add or Remove them also you can’t uninstall PhotoGallery, MovieMaker, DVD Creator, Media Center, etc So my suggestion is to make a new .cpl with a intuitive interface and guidance for normal users whether a feature is useful for them or not. Because I like PhotoGallery, but if I install the Live PhotoGallery I don’t want them both, also I never use MovieMaker or DVD Creator or Media Center and would like a simple way to uninstall them, so making all the nonessential windows applications easy to uninstall is a good idea (most people won’t do it, but it should be easy for those who want to)

    Some say “throw WinSxS “, they don’t remember DLL HELL and exactly why it has that name, I do, and if giving up 7,5GB on my drive means never going back to that, then I’m happy, but I think there is still some optimization to be done here. I remember that before WinSxS applications only had a few conflicting dll’s which of course made installation impossible, but the key here is only a few conflicting dll’s. Versioning like DX versioning (d3dx9_35.dll) or vc runtime (vcrt80.dll) keeps conflicts to a minimum and a lot of times an application will install a newer dll which is backward compatible with the old one. So why do I need 8 versions of amd64 and 5 versions of the IA64 vcrt dll’s which I don’t use on my 32bit system and which I instructed Visual Studio not to install, maybe I need to take that up with the VS team, but why do I need 8 versions of system.servicemodel.dll which is a managed dll and should implement the same API throughout, so an older application should work just fine with the newer dll, I understand having a system.servicemodel.dll for .NET 2.0 one for 3.0 and one for 3.5, although 3.0 and 3.5 should use some of the same dlls as 2.0, but I would understand having 3 versions, but why eight, because a Service Pack shouldn’t change the API, and if developers developed against the API and not it’s implementation quirks it should be fine using the newest dll, and most applications work just fine with the newest version so why burden my system with 8 versions of every .NET dll on the off chance that maybe a application doesn’t work. I know .NET says it will try to run your application against the newest CLR and then revert to the CLR you were compiling against, but that should be CLR Versions (like 2.0, 3.0, not every single service pack and security update). I know that the current implementation assures compatibility but I’m also sure that a more restrictive implementation would ensure compatibility for 99% of users while reducing disk footprint for everyone. As an idea, maybe you should have a manifest field to specify whether a specific dll breaks (API) compatibility and should be placed as a copy in WinSxS or just replace the older dll.

  49. Kosher says:

    punio4;

    I totally agree.  I would love it if I just dragged the install to the "Applications" folder and the only thing I had to worry about were the documents it created in my "Home" folder and the files it created in the "Applications" folder.

    Back to the registry but that’s a given.  Talk about bootup time improvements.  How much performance would be gained, memory, etc, if the registry wasn’t loaded at start?  I don’t know for sure that it’s fully parsed on startup but I’m not a fan anyway.

    While I think that it’s good to allow users to disable certain "Eye Candy", I don’t think this should be an excuse to have a non-standard UI.  Open IE, you have one style, open Explorer, you have old windows, open a number of different applications and when you want that eye candy you always end up running to that overzealous old schooler.  When I’m using "Competitor" products, do I ever run into an icon that looks like it was made in 1492 or a window that uses dropdowns designed in OS/2 Warp?

    The great thing that WPF provides is the ability to utilize animation and old school looking forms controls in the same application, while maintaining separate templates for both.  Why not open the templates up for override like WPF does?

    I just want to see a consistent clean user experience in both asynchronous GUI parts and everyday tasks.  I know there are a lot of people out there that like the old Windows UI still but that’s why there’s the option to disable it.

    Work out two separate explorers, two separate layouts entirely, and allow the user to choose what they want when they install windows.  Don’t make people use the new UI and don’t make people not use it.  If it means installing old libraries and getting the old Vista/XP experience, let the user install it and don’t install the new UI components.  Work on the new UI entirely separate from the "old UI".  Both teams can hash out API’s with the business and data layer teams.

  50. anonymuos says:

    The biggest enhancement you can make is, (as someone already pointed out), make Windows retain performance even after months of usage. I understand that this is not magically possible because leftover registry entries, growing registry size due to growing list of installed apps and piling log files all slow down Windows but Microsoft has never attempted to prevent any of these. (Windows Disk Protection as part of Shared Computer Toolkit/SteadyState and virtualization undo disks are nice attempts). After several months of usage, typically the most memory consuming processes on my system are usually the Shell which slows down upon adding shell extensions, non plug and play drivers, IE because of IE addins which even when disabled affect IE’s performance and the startup times of all I/O intensive apps. Maybe MS can add a ‘Windows Registry Protection’ to SteadyState which *deliberately makes it* lose all changes upon reboot?

  51. anonymuos says:

    Another major turnoff I discovered in Vista is that it uses WinSxS not only to store side-by-side assemblies but also to store files protected by Windows Resource Protection and maintains multiple copies of those files (along with ridiculously long horrible names) which are updated by hotfixes/service packs. The servicing stack (Package Manager) howsoever it is designed always performs much much slower than its previous incarnation (Update.exe). Installing hotfixes is slow, every hotfix needs to be ‘configured’ before logon and logoff. Whatever maybe the case (poor design or simply another tradeoff), installing updates/hotfixes should not take this kind of approach. Also, the growing footprint of the WinSxS folder is a living example of how Microsoft has no concern about disk space on end users’ drives and you’ve simply assumed modern disk drives are large enough to make disk space an issue. I’ve come to associate Vista with an OS that doesn’t get right updating itself. The WinSxS folder doesn’t seem to be a tradeoff in either time or space. (And yeah I have read http://blog.tiensivu.com/aaron/archives/1306-Demystifying-the-WinSxS-directory-in-Windows-XP,-Vista-and-Server-20032008.html but WinSxS doesn’t perform the same way as in previous OSes, it does something more in Vista). Something seriously needs to be done about WinSxS and the servicing stack, I agree with one of the above posters that it’s the worst architectural part of the OS.

  52. consumer4beta@hotmail.com says:

    ‘Windows is enormously flexible and provides many ways to tune the experience.’ That holds true only for the Windows NT 5.0/5.1 family. Vista isn’t flexible or customizable in any way, it takes away all the power and customizability from power users and offers an enormously dumbed down interface that helps only grandmas and Joe Averages. Microsoft’s shell and UI teams did their worst job during the Longhorn project and the UI is very less productive, disruptive to those already familiar, worsened in many cases by removal of fine-grained configurable settings and made complicated by long explanations which require a lot of reading before the user takes any action. Some examples of unproductive UI are Windows Explorer’s lack of customizablility and removal of several old buttons and menus, idiotic behavior of compulsorily and automatically sorting files, sort by any criteria works in the reverse order, the efforts needed to get to the connection list out-of-the-box, the fixed-size tree-style Start menu, advanced search UI (although search itself works satisfyingly), ‘Default Programs’/file types UI, URLs! (Can you believe it?) in load/save dialog boxes!. ‘Property sheets’ as MS calls them instead of dialogs aren’t productively created in Vista (although they scale well resolution wise). I think all the money Microsoft spend in ‘user interface R&D’ and ‘user experience’ were completely wasted in Windows Vista.

  53. consumer4beta@hotmail.com says:

    I hope Microsoft will really try to address performance of redesigned apps in Vista (e.g. the abominable Disk Defragmenter, Windows Mail performance, slow as ever Windows Media Player), again rewrite the servicing stack in Windows 7 to have the fastest performance that even exceeds that of Update.exe, makes Windows 7’s UI highly customizable (TweakUI, where are you?).

    As for number of editions, you could merge Starter and Home Basic and keep them for new markets. The Starter/Home Basic can be power optimized for laptops, 3 mainstream editions (Home, Professional (again merge the Business/Enterprise SKUs) and Ultimate balance out things. The Home edition can be the media/gamer-oriented one. Another minor aspect is the features of the OS aren’t correctly distributed across the SKUs, for example, for some insane reason, the Business edition doesn’t have BitLocker, and the Unix subsystem! (what value does it give me in upgrading if XP Professional can get Services for Unix?). Home Premium doesn’t have Fax?, EFS!, Previous versions?, Complete PC Backup, RDP Host/Server?, Local Group Policy (at least)!

    Lastly, another change of approach I would like to see in Microsoft’s attitude with respect to what it calls ‘feature design change’. I think Microsoft can really carefully watch the market for issues which users have and agree with unanimously *with the current product* and ship solutions in the form of powertoys, hotfixes or service packs. Waiting for the next release to get some major blunders right besides bugs doesn’t add value to those who’ve purchased the current product already and are not happy with it.

  54. possan says:

    While re-engineering alot of other stuff under the hood, could we please see somekind of application-bundles (like osx) with an folder representing an application, preferably combined with something like a registry-root named  HKEY_CURRENT_APPLICATION that stores it’s settings inside that bundle, so we finally can move applications around without breaking their configuration… – or force us developers to use inifiles again.

    Oh, and while you’re at it, separating the ui/kernel and making the ui very open to customization would be really fun :)

  55. anttikarhu says:

    "The Vista setup installs over 6GB of OS in 20 to 30 minutes and it does that by just unzipping an OS image and sets up drivers and options on top of that base image, ISV’s, IT pros and users are happy with the simple, mostly unattended and fast setup procedure, by contrast the XP setup installs 2GB in 20-30 minutes."

    What is the point of this thinking? That Vista is capable of installing 6GB of mostly useless stuff on your HD in same time, while XP installs only 2G in the same amount of time? How about if Vista would install the 2G of data it (the user) needs, and takes the 20 minutes for that? Would that be reasonable? Would that be right? I think so.

  56. TheNetAvenger says:

    Things to think about for users and developers…

    The thoughts of many users which is reflected in the posts to this blog seem to skip over the feature trade off and how vast the performance issues they raise truly are.

    How big are the performance issues?

    What performance issues that ‘still’ exist between Vista and XP even on a 1GB Pentium system are quite small, and the performance ‘increases’ are often overlooked. In getting your daily work done, Vista’s performance is better, even if you want to show a 10sec slower boot speed.  

    A lot of this comes for the ‘artificial’ office performance tests that many news outlets actually used, comparing a ‘scripted’ set of performance is not real performance, and Vista’s user based optimization systems even make these even more invalid.

    There is no way to use a scripted set of tests to show that when jumping from Word to CorelDraw in the middle of thought that Corel will load significantly faster and make both it and Word far more usable as the user switches his/her work between them and other applications. (Just the minimize virtual memory page feature of NT that ended with XP is enough of a reason to move to Vista, so that memory is not shoved to VM just because a user minimized their current application.)

    How do the features affect performance and are they worth it?

    Someone mentions the defragmenter of Vista as being slower than tools like Contig.exe, but when Vista’s defragmenter for the first time puts files and applications in disk locations that allow them to load faster and also manages free space and other aspects that generic defrag tools don’t manage, is the defragmenter in Vista really so bad, especially when it usually runs when the user isn’t sitting at the computer?

    What about data security as a feature? The additional journaling features of Vista add a slight overhead (although not really noticeable in the performance), is this not worth the trade off?

    What about people that complain about the HD light staying on, even though there is no performance loss while this happening? What if the HD light is staying on because of the background CHKDSK features to ensure the volume is sound, fixing problems of the HD, and even keeping a failing HD alive by recognizing bad blocks and pre-emptively managing?

    Someone even mentions Windows Media Player as being slower. However Windows Media player in Vista is known for its ability to have the best experience in viewing video/audio content when it comes to stream latency and ensure the lips and words always match. Is the extra second it takes to load worth surpassing everyone else in sync features?  There is also the expanded library features, that allow your content to stream to your Xbox or other PCs, is this not worth whatever loss in performance the user notices?

    This is also a debate users seem to ‘keep’ having about ‘themes’ and ‘Glass’ in both XP and Vista. In XP the theme overhead was so tiny that even on a 200mhz Pentium 80mb system, our engineers could not find a test that showed any measurable performance with it on. Yet people today, still talk about the ‘performance loss’ of themes in XP. (Even in RDP sessions, we couldn’t measure enough of a different to have our server turn it off for TS for our clients.)

    Aero and Glass again are a ‘performance’ argument, but in truth, leaving Glass On results in better performance, even for business users. The only ‘slow down’ we have seen is on a bad driver on a 5200 FX series card that ½ clocked the GPU, and then turning off the transparency was enough to restore any performance loss. (Although fixing the driver to run at native speeds worked even better.)

    Aero and Glass are ‘pretty’, but other than the few ‘MB’ of RAM DWM consumes, is it really slower? The answer is no.

    People assume the Aero ‘composer’ in Vista works like composers of the past and composer in other OSes like OS X and even Linux’s KDE4. It doesn’t, the memory footprint is very light as it uses GPU RAM efficiently and even when that is not enough, shares out system RAM, due to the beauty of the WDDM. It also works more closely with WPF applications, acting more like a true Vector based composer for performance and low footprint on resources.

    For everyone reading this post, take a few minutes to learn about Aero and Glass and ‘learn’ that turning it off will reduce system performance. And this is from the basic window redraw and tearing all the way to how the Vista composer uses 3D GPU features for font rendering and bitmap decompression and even a few GDI calls.

    Gaming…

    While we are talking features and performance, let talk gaming, as this seems to be the best example of stretching both the underlying hardware and OS the game is running on. Even when Vista was released with ‘new’ drivers from NVidia and ATI, the performance averaged 15% less than XP. On a game that runs at 30fps, that is only 5 fps loss.

    Sure for gamers 5% is a lot, but not much considering the new WDDM and the graphics model ATI and NVidia had to meet with their drivers. Move forward to June 07 and this loss started to disappear on many games, and by Septemeber of 07, the maturity of the ATI and NVidia drivers finally allowed Vista to ‘keep up’ with XP and start surpassing it.

    Fast forward to July 08, and in most games Vista, especially Vista x64 is outperforming XP in every game, and in some games as much as 20%. This also doesn’t account for the faster load times or faster dynamic content loading Vista users were getting with less HD activity. Even MMOs that have zones or dynamic content stopped stuttering to load content and not only could zone users faster, but were noticeably smoothing when the player was entering a new area loading new content. And this is even older games like CoX or SWG or WoW.

    As for features for games, sure the superfetch of Vista adds in better features by pre-loading content from massive games and users get a more fluid experience. However, there are other features Vista brings to gamers, that a lot of people never realize or even try.

    For example the nature of the WDDM in Vista gives Vista the ability to manage the Video card, and this brings almost a full pre-emptive GPU experience if you are running several games at once, or are running the game in a Window ‘with the Aero Glass’ also running perfectly alongside the game. Some games even run faster in a Window on the Vista desktop than in a full-screen window, because the game is working with the Aero Composer in a shared texture write method. Try this yourself, some games will run faster in a Window on the desktop than full screen. Then bring up your games FPS and watch it barely even move while doing Flip3D. Even load another game and watch as the games both have rather high FPS running on the screen at the same time, thanks to Vista’s control over the GPU threads and the WDDM.

    The next feature often missed when gaming on Vista is the WDDM’s shared memory abilities. Sure this allows the OS to utilize more RAM than your GPU VRAM has available, but even on high end system, this gives users a few more features in the game.  For example, in a game where you can change your texture sizes used, if you have a 128mb or 256mb Video card, you can turn up your in game texture sizes to levels that normally only a 512mb card could handle.

    This is because Vista presents part of the system RAM as VRAM and does direct writing via old AGP write technologies. So Vista can identify high performance texture needs, ensure they are in the fastest place possible, and textures that don’t need super performance can reside in system ‘virtualized VRAM’, leaving room for more ‘high end’ textures in your game, without a performance loss.  

    So with shared RAM and Vista’s WDDM, gamers can not only ‘now’ get better performance than XP, but better performance running in a Window, and also use higher level textures in the game than is possible on XP.

    —-

    These are just a few things to think about, and hopefully get people to pay attention to how features and performance not only contrast each other, but sometimes work together in ‘strange’ ways to give both more features and better performance.

    The Net Avenger

    PS – I do not work for Microsoft or with Microsoft in any way, and have no personal or professional interests in Vista or its success. I am a consultant, researcher, and teacher that finds the misinformation of technology dangerous as it becomes more politically motivated rather than assessed based on fact.

  57. Asesh says:

    As a developer and am quite dissatisfied with Windows Vista. Windows 7 should be very fast, not a resource hog like Vista. No eye candies should be installed by default on Business editions of Windows 7. And please give us more reasons to upgrade, more handy features and innovations. And just keep about three editions of Windows 7–Home Premium, Business and ultimate. And for those who want eye candies (home premium and Ultimate), please make more eye popping animations and stunning graphics for Windows 7 (let it be OS X killer). We would love to see Office 2007’s ribbons integrated in Windows 7 explorer and that’s what am expecting. Hopefully Windows 7 will have all those features and many new ones too. Thanks

  58. Colmeister says:

    To add to the mix here are the most important points I’d like to see addressed:

    1) A universal updater. As a previous poster touched upon every application these days seems to have it’s own updater to automatically download and install bug fixes, new features, etc. The OS should provide a simple mechanism for this similar to the one included with some Linux distros such as Ubuntu. This would prevent a lot of annoying popups and system tray balloons as well as developers having to ‘reinvent the wheel’.

    2) Several previous posters have mentioned there many MS applications that do the same thing, I agree this should be sorted. Is there no-one responsible for looking at the ‘big picture’? My biggest annoyance in this area is with calendars and contacts. Vista provides perfectly good calendar and contacts functionality but I can’t sync this with my PocketPC (which is running a version of Windows), instead I have to install Office which provides another calendar and contacts which will sync with my PPC. Not everyone has/wants to install Office you know!

    3) GUI consistency – Vista looks disjointed because each part uses different GUI paradigms. Again it seems there was no-one looking at the ‘big picture’. How can 3rd party developers be expected to produce applications for Vista with a consistent GUI when MS can’t even manage this with the OS itself?

    4) Ditch the registry. I realise this would be a huge amount of work but as others have said would help alleviate the gradual system slow-down over time.

  59. quux says:

    I have spent much time discussing performance with users of all stripes – love Windows, hate Windows, indifferent to it. Strongly technical, wannabe technical, nontechnical.

    My feeling is that the biggest problem around performance is that people don’t really understand how to put it into perspective. Windows actually has a wonderful perf measuring tool (PerfMon), but few people – even technical ones – few people take the time to learn and understand it. It’s a deep topic.

    So I (humbly!) suggest that you set aside a few people to rethink performance visualization and explanation. The Experience Index is too simplistic; PerfMon too complex. TaskMan is often misinterpreted (especially the memory numbers; few people understand the concept of backing store). Maybe some middle ground? I’d love to see some sort of pie graph, or group of pie graphs, which allow a middle-of-the road user to instantly spot which programs are using the most cpu/ram/disk/network. Importantly, these graphs need to be able to show all programs, not just Windows and its services.

    In many ‘Windows slow’ complaints, the real slowdown is actually some 3rdparty program. Users need to be able to see and quickly understand where the hogs are. Over and over we hear people talking about ‘bit rot’ and ‘stuffed registry’; these are mainly illusory pictures painted by people who aren’t able to tell what’s *really* going on. Give them the tools, and less-technical overview docs, and they’ll start to have a better understanding of reality.

    Additionally, I was very sad to see BootVis go away. We need that (or something like it – maybe with those piegraph views) back again. We also need a ShutdownVis, so we can see what’s causing those 5 minute shutdowns. Startup and shutdown are, as you say, very important to the overall performance perception.

    Thanks for hosting the dialog, Mr. Sinofsky. It’s valuable!

  60. domenico says:

    Nice post

    TheNetAvenger !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GREAT

  61. quux says:

    Couple things to add to my prior post:

    First, I do love Perfmon in its present form, so in no way am I suggesting it should be replaced with simpler tools. It could be extended, or an additional tool created, but hopefully Perfmon’s existing features wouldn’t go away.

    Also, I wanted to take note of a couple of missing perfmon counters I have always wanted to see. All in the Process object:

    Process/disk IO: per process counters for disk IO in megabytes/sec and/or as averages over last sample period. If there were another counter which expressed this as ‘percentage of current disk queue length’, that would rock!

    Process/paging counters:

  62. quux says:

    Couple things to add to my prior post:

    First, I do love Perfmon in its present form, so in no way am I suggesting it should be replaced with simpler tools. It could be extended, or an additional tool created, but hopefully Perfmon’s existing features wouldn’t go away.

    Also, I wanted to take note of a couple of missing perfmon counters I have always wanted to see. All in the Process object:

    Process/disk IO: per process counters for disk IO in megabytes/sec and/or as averages over last sample period. If there were another counter which expressed this as ‘percentage of current disk queue length’, that would rock!

    Process/paging counters:

  63. quux says:

    Oops, sorry, that last post got submitted too soon. Here’s the rest.

    Process/paging counters: Right now you can’t see page-ins or page-outs, broken down by which process is causing them. This data would be invaluable!

    Process/network counters: and continuing on a theme, network IO broken down on a per-process basis.

    Process/CPU queue. We do have the %CPU counter on a per-process bases. Would be nice to also be able to see which processes have the longest CPU queue lengths.

    The general thrust here is, essentially the computer has four main resources we want to use effectively: CPU, memory, disk, and network. If we could clearly see how each process is using these resources, we’d have a lot better understanding of how to intelligently shed the load when the system isn’t as performant as we’d like.

  64. kizkoool says:

    I second the fact that 3rd party programs are usually the culprit.

    The Mojave experiment proved it clearly. Vista is up to the users expectancy.

    So Microsoft has to find a way to struggle with these 3rd party applications which put the Windows brand reputation at risk.

    A desirable idea is to extend the signed drivers concept to 3rd party applications.

    You should put in place a certificate program enforcing strict energy and efficiency rules to deliver a "WHQL" like signature in 3rd party applications.

    So ideally, if a user wants to launch an unsigned application, Windows 7 would warn him in a UAC way, warning him about power consumption and explaining him the impediment towards the efficiency of the OS.

  65. philcm says:

    Performance….

    I think the most common issue here is.  Why does the new OS require latest hardware to run at about the same speed my old pc and previous os.  Vista has lots of features (that most might be aware) that are good.  But it does require more power.  

    1) Gamers.  I haven’t done this personally, but many have complained that the games run slower on vista vs xp.  There is benchmarks on the web showing this.  Are they valid? If anything, I would address this.  I mention games, but the fact is its an overall problem on most softwares.  Why is this happening?  I’d love to tell you, look at line 512334 in your code, there’s your problem.  But really I can’t and this is the biggest issue that just about everyone complains on.  Why does X run slower in Vista than XP?  Is there more overhead added? Why the extra overhead?  Is it defender, search, shadow copy, etc.. causing this slow down? Can those be improved?  

    2) Background tasks.  Are all the tasks running in background needed?  Wireless, I don’t have it, but its on by default in XP/Vista.  Might not do any impact, but its still there. Taking memory, pooling what ever.  How many tasks are really needed for users.  There’s a couple of sites showing which service to disable to improve speed.  Many don’t really affect the system, but never the less are all those services needed.  In the end, more stuff running the more things can go wrong.

    3) Simple tasks.  File Copy, Move, Scanning network etc.  There is no doubt that these tasks are slowing in vista.  Many have been fixed by SP.  But why did this happen!!  Simple tasks should NOT BREAK!  And even now, they are slower than 3rd party ones.  Example I use teracopy to do my file copying.  Its faster than default windows.  Command line typing is faster, but I’m assuming this is due to no graphic over head. BUT does a progress bar slow the copy process that MUCH!?

    In vista a big improvement appeared in a few places.  When display some items list like (Add/Remove programs) it doesn’t wait for the entire list to be created like in XP.  You see the items appear on the fly.  I think this feature would be nice in more places.  It gives the user more feeling that the system is actually doing something.  Some tasks just can’t be made faster, but can they give you the illusion its faster?  I find that when I go back to XP and do remove app, I walk away waiting for the list to populate, unlike vista I see it very fast.  This is a big +.

    I’m sure some will say, make the os boot faster.  But I think that the boot up speed seems to be fast enough.  Especially the improvements that as been done to vista from power management.  Any time on making the OS boot 5-10 sec faster personally would be a waste of time.  How often do you cold boot your OS.

    The idea of having a task running in the background to optimize the system, sounds good, until that task runs while play a game or doing a video conference.  Please make sure that any feature like that is "Optional"  I like the fact that I can right click and perform defrag when I want and not when the OS "Thinks" it should.  I could bring up a icon on my status saying hey its been awhile you haven’t done X.  Maybe have one window with all the different "Tasks" that can optimize.

  66. spivonious says:

    Philcm – the background defragger is optional already.  Just open the defrag program and turn off the automatic scheduling if you’re going to be doing a video conference.

    It should never run while you’re playing a game, since it only runs when the system is idle.

  67. philcm says:

    Sorry I wasn’t clear.  I just picked defrag as an example.  I’ve had other things run in background that slows my system.  Specifically the index of search.  The harddrive just spins like crazy and all slows down.  And my demoing of a product looks bad.

    That’s why I mentioned background tasks in general is good, until they hurt you.

    Defrag wasn’t a good one to pick, since that one is actually nice and lets you stop.  The search index is the one I have a real issue with.  I understand that it needs to do it, otherwise things are out of sync. but does it require to slow down my system while its doing that task?  Lowing process doesn’t help since it really is kill the hard drive not the cpu.

  68. monkeyvvagon says:

    I would really really love it if Microsoft actually gave it’s consumers the option to do a customer install alongside the express install option. What I mean by this is things like Windows Media Player, Live Messenger, Windows Mail, Internet Explorer, SmartCard, etc. should be optional to the consumer. Why must I have every single program and/or service and/or process installed on my system by default? Sometimes turning it off isn’t enough. I realize you have the ability to uninstall the above items after install. But why does the consumer have to uninstall it? If I fork out my hard earned cash for a retail copy of your OS, why can’t I say what things I want to never be put on my hard drive? Please at least consider my plea. I really do beg of you to seriously consider this install option.

  69. d_e says:

    This computer needs 1:10 to show the logon screen and 2:58 to show the desktop.

    It takes over 5 minutes to get a usable system on my other computer (disk trashing). It has got 4 GB RAM…

    Both systems are fresh installs of Vista Ultimate with SP1 applied, no antivirus software, Windows Defender disabled and no logon scripts.

    BeOS R5 takes 4 seconds to boot in Virtual PC on the very same machines. I’m aware of the fact that BeOS does a lot less than Windows Vista. But that’s exactly the point I’m trying to make. Maybe Windows 7 should do a bit less. Not have 700 threads running after starting up. Use the KISS approach?

    And most of the time it’s just percieved performance – why does Vista wait until the preview is ready before showing the delete confirmation dialog? Why did it just take 10 seconds to open the "Computer Management" MMC? MMC could have shown the main window and populate the tree while loading all snap-ins…

    Cutting 2 seconds off the boot time isn’t going to help. People will notice halved boot times. Not if Windows 7 boots in 1:08 instead of 1:10.

    But I’m happy to see that Microsoft cares about boot performance. This is the right direction. Now you just have to replace all computers inside MS with 2+ years old machines instead of measuring boot performance with state-of-the-art computers. Because most people use old computers.

  70. Walters says:

    As everyone has said, one SKU.  Also, in order to appeal to the general market, maybe there needs to be a "Mac Mode" that simplifies the user experience without sacrificing features.  Easier to use remote access would be very nice, as well as giving gamers a better reason to switch.  Maybe make Valve’s Steam Digital Distribution service integrated with it instead of trying to compete with them.  If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

  71. Happy-Dude says:

    Here’s a quote from Jon Erickson’s Hacking: The Art of Exploitation (http://www.amazon.com/Hacking-Art-Exploitation-Jon-Erickson/dp/1593271441 ; don’t worry, its about system performance)

    Please bear with reading the full thing, there’s an important point in there.

    –Begin excerpt

    ""The hacks found in program exploits usually use the rules of the computer to bypass security in ways never intended. Programming hacks are similar in that they also use the rules of the computer in new and and inventive ways, but the final goal is efficiency or smaller source code, not necessarily a security compromise. There are actually an infinite number of programs that can be written to accomplish any given task, but most of these solutions are unnecessarily large, complex, and sloppy. The few solutions that remain are small, efficient, and neat. Programs that have these qualities are said to have elegance, and the clever and inventive solutions that tend to lead to this efficiency are called hacks. Hackers on both sides of programming appreciate both the beauty of elegant code and the ingenuity of clever hacks.

    In the business world, more importance is placed on churning out functional code than on achieving clever hacks and elegance. Because of the tremendous exponential growth of computational power and memory, spending an extra five hours to create a slightly faster and more memory efficient piece of code just doesn’t male business sense when dealing with modern computers that have gigahertz of processing cycles and gigabytes of memory. While time and memory optimizations go without notice by all but the most sophisticated users, a new feature is marketable. When the bottom line is money, spending time on clever hacks for optimization just doesn’t make sense.""

    –End excerpt

  72. Happy-Dude says:

    I forgot to add to my above post::

    But it does matter. To the end user, the developer, the power/ tech user, and even businesses.

    Functional code, something that works.

    *Elegant* code, something that works with greater efficiency of hardware resources and software. Something that’s just better.

    Please, optimize the code. Reorganize it. Make ever part of the Windows OS optimized and tweaked.

    After seeing Vista, we will wait. Take as much time as you need. Take an extra year. As long as Microsoft gets this release correct.

    Please.

  73. paaland says:

    I’m a system developer and regard myself as a power user of computers. I’ve got a quad core CPU, 4 GB RAM and lots of disk space.

    I don’t care about power consumption and keeping the CPU load low. I have a quad core CPU so please use it. You talk about optimizing for multi user scenarios, that’s fine for a server OS (at least it might be). But for a standard file server/web server or desktop PC with a single purpose/user unused hardware is wast imho.

    If you can use 3 of the 4 cores at 100% and do something useful that will make my work experience faster and more performant then please do so. The conclusion must be to do more stuff and try to anticipate the users actions when ever resources are idle. Use the CPU, disk and memory for what it’s worth.

  74. magicalclick says:

    A lot of time my Vista using HDD for no apparent reason. I consider my PC install is fairly clean, no crapware, otherwise PC recover.

    Most of time Vista waste time on HDD activities and Network Device Detection. Like when I tried to print, it will stop for awhile to check my network printer’s status.

  75. Jalf says:

    "We see this a lot with what some on have called “eye candy”—we get many requests to make the base user interface “more fun” with animations and graphics (“like those found on competing products”) while at the same time some say “get rid of graphics and go back to Windows 2000”"

    I don’t really think this is a contradiction though. It’s just people being lousy at explaining what they want. What most people mean when they say "go back to Win2k" is not "I want it to be all grey and square and boxy with no animations". It’s "I want it to be as fast to work with as 2k was".

    I don’t mind flashy graphics, but Vista annoys me because 1) the animations create artificial latency. If I do something, I want it to happen now, not 200 milliseconds from now, when some animation or fadein/out has completed. And 2) the Aero interface in Vista just is not as efficient as it could be. It places some heavier demands on CPU/GPU, which also slows things down a bit.

    Now, everyone can agree that 2) should be optimized as much as possible. 1) is the tricky one. I don’t mind colors or a nice-looking theme. I’ve always used the default XP theme, even when all the cool people stuck with the 2k one because it was "simpler" and XP looked too "childish". I even think Aero looks nice in still pictures for the most part. But all the extra flashy bits just get in my way when I try to use the OS.

    Keep those concerns separated. Yes, a lot of people are saying "Just make it like 2k", but people are lousy at separating different concerns. What (many of them) mean is just that it should be as fast as 2k, not that it has to look identical.

    Similarly, the groop asking for more eyecandy are not also asking for the interface to be slower. They’re not asking for *longer* animations when they click a button. They just want it to look nice.

  76. hitman721 says:

    One of the quirks that bother’s me about Vista even though I love Vista, the number of processes running in the background. Currently, I’ve got 66 processes running in the background of Vista Ultimate. In XP we had about 20-ish. I believe processes should activate and then DE-activate as you turn on and turn off applications within Windows. I think this is what’s leading to the perception of Vista being a resource hog. I think you guys should leverage your position to write proccesses that activate and deactivate efficiently. It would be great if Seven keeps processes low especially at startup.

    Like for example, if a program needs to update and its not from Microsoft. The process turns on and accesses the web. It finds the update, pulls it, installs it, resets, and then the process turns off. That restores memory and CPU cycles to be used. A less is more philosophy.

    Second, the same goes with services. Less is more. Do we really need all theses different services active? Can’t they starup and shutdown as needed?

    Third, expand the Readyboost program to use SmartMedia cards, Compact Flash, SD/MMC, MS/MS Pro sticks, etc. That would be great to use that cheap storage to boost performance.

    Also, a burning bootdisk program to help with problems would be excellent. Built in ISO support in Seven and ISO burning would be a great step forward. Make it also compatable with boot USB drives, so we can use those technologies to fix malfunctioning systems quickly and efficently. I really hope virtualization really makes a debut in Windows so we can set up ISO images and burn them without third party apps.

    I really don’t envy the task you guys are on, but would love to be there in the thick of it. Here’s to making the best Windows ever. I hope it becomes a reality. Take care and God bless.

  77. soloseven007 says:

    I’ll try to keep it simple.  The file management system needs lots of improvements.  My personal main problem is the number of times I lose/corrupt my files whenever I move them from one folder to another & the system suddenly crashes.  Microsoft shouldn’t miss taking care of that issue with Windows 7.  Improve the speed & handling of copying & moving files to what it should be like for a 2009/2010 operating system.  Unlike Vista, where it just kills me whenever I see the transfer speed goes down to 2MB/sec when I’m copying large chunk of files.  Good luck!

  78. graham.lv says:

    What about the fact that you purposely put a delay in opening folder icon on the start menu? (There is a Reg. hack to null it.) You think customers would be frightened by too fast?

    Third party software like Windows Blinds lets you customize the look and feel of Windows and they claim does not slow down the system.  You can’t do this?  (So, people that want to customize can and those that want death valley bare bones Windows can choose that.)

    And unrelated to performance but annoying is "shortcut" tacked on the end of shortcuts.  Little arrow on/off OK, but if you don’t know what the little arrow means, I put it to you that ‘shortcut’ would have no meaning.  Or not the meaning you intend.

    And I agree with post by: samrbrimble,Thursday, August 28, 2008 7:09 AM

    re: Windows 7 — Approach to System Performance

  79. Dfarce says:

    If there is one thing that is sorely needed, and would make windows 7 as popular as previous windows versions, it is full customization.

    There are a few things that should be done, and I think are incredibly good ideas.

    1- Preset install options (Ultimate, MCE, etc) as well as a custom option. The custom option should allow users to select what programs and extras will be installed, as well as optional drivers, and settings. Similarly, it would be handy to be able to load install settings from a USB drive or floppy disk. This would make programs like vLite redundant. The more options you make available the better. [I have to admit I read this from another comment and expanded on it]

    2- Control over background applications. And I’m not just talking about going through registry hack and command prompts to disable them. Make it simple, something grandma can use [mind the cliche]. Also, it would be nice to be able to set a program installed by the user to background status. After setting a program as such, windows would monitor the programs activities for a little [in somewhat of a "grace" period] and take note of what files and such are used most frequently by that program. The user would set how much ram to be allotted to the program, and the most used files and settings would be kept stored as long as the computer was running for quick opening of said program. Finally on this note, it is needed the ability to distinguish and disable any other default background tasks. Microsoft needs to have a database of background tasks, what they do, and whether or not they can be disabled safely. W7 would then check into this when you select a background task to tell you what it does. Even a viral task.

    3- More customizable GUI. I think that there needs to be three levels of GUI performance in windows. There needs to be a fast, and efficient 2D GUI. One similar to XP, but extremely light and lacking all of the tearing issues that plague most 2d GUIs. This would be the performance level. Then, keep the usual aero interface as the default, and create a third interface. A "pretty" one, have you. similar to the "competitors" interface. One that carries some system load, but still not much. All of the levels between the effects should be able to enable and disable pending on whether you are in 2D mode or in graphic accelerated mode.

    As a second note. there should also be customization of the way the windows and start menu are lain out. For example, I would personally like to have the taskbar going all of the way around my screen, with programs on the right, folders on the left, and the contents of a temporary folder on the top. The only conceivable way I can do this is by creating my own GUI, possibly by modifying a linux distro (way beyond my skill level). Therefore, make the ability to make your windows 7 look the way you want. Themes, we need themes! and we need the ability to lay things out how we want. This would be incredible.

    On a side note, I think that there should not be a closed beta for windows. I think an open beta, or even earlier revisions should be available to everyone. Even a suggestion to all owners of XP and Vista that the beta is free and available to try. You want the largest userbase for your testing so you can see how the software works on the largest set of hardware. Also, get the reactions. If you release the beta early enough, then peoples reactions to the other aspects of the OS can be gauges. Finally, it also creates a huge hype machine if the reactions are positive.

    Do some work, make the best version of windows yet. And sorry for the wall of text, its a bad habit.

  80. alexsosa says:

    Thank you for sharing this information.

    A suggestion on how to improve (user) performance: take into account the time he has to spend relearning previously mastered procedures.  Build his knowledge, don’t force him to waste time relearning the same things.  It’s OK to need time to learn how to do new things, but not the same ones if they work well.  The champion offender is MS Office 7 which replaced the menu system with the ribbon without the courtesy of offering a choice.   The message is please don’t be trigger happy when it comes to reorganizing where you place features.

    I have a lot of software in my PC and replacing it has become a dreaded experience.  It used to be fun.  I wish I could just upgrade the motherboard and be done.  I would be willing to buy new licenses for the new motherboard in order to avoid the hassle of an upgrade.  Consider offering that option.

    Sorry to be nagging, but this is an important issue, at least for this user.

  81. tophness says:

    Thanks for listening to our comments steven.

    You should be able to handle both partys (complaining about wanting something, and the ones complaining they don’t want that) using options.

    When i program i try to make it win/win by making layers depending on which options are chosen, so there’s no performance impact either way (even theoretically),

    And then step into the user’s shoes to find out the most easy and unintrusive place to setup those options.

    In relation to the ‘eye candy’, that seems to be pretty much taken care of in vista anyway.

    People can go back to windows 2000 themes if they choose or even disable the DWM service.

    When we talk about performance, I think the majority of people primarily care about the speed applications do their job (i.e. FPS for games),

    And secondly startup performance.

    Those of us that hunger performance want functionality too, but if it comes to a call where you can’t setup a way to do both, please choose performance.

  82. phschmidt says:

    Now seriously, where does this fixation about "typical" or "vast majority"of scenarios come from. There is quite the simple solution of making a modular system where the core is as simple as possible (able to run comfortably on all those Atom/Nano new devices and recycled systems, which could be seriously old [486DX FPM/EDO DRAM, one ISA multi I/O, 2MB EISA trident video and the nostalgic stuff]). Additional features/functionality could be then added as additional modules, they don’t even need to be loaded on demand as only those needed will be present, though enabling the option for the user to choose what he would prefer is better (in a particular scenario a particular set of modules may be used less often, hence warranting an on-demand approach, while at other scenarios that particular set could be different).

    Hate to repeat myself but a simple no nonsense core and many additional independent modules (not necessarily independent but, at least, with explicit dependencies), each with a price tag is the only mean in which a way to please everybody can be achieved. With a little bit of imagination I am sure you can see how what I’ve just said can be deeply significant over your appointed performance metrics, including those you didn’t mention.

  83. AndrewMartin says:

    A nice feature would be to have the old XP / 2000 / 2003 interface back. There’s a lot of professionals on help desks that have had years of experience on XP only to find that with Vista all the dialogs had been moved.

    Why change it? It’s certainly one of the reasons companies haven’t adopted Vista, retraining their entire support staff to be able to talk to users over a phone and direct them to correct dialog box when its now in a completely different area.

    I’ve got an experienced windows and office user who I’ve given a vista machine with office 2007 as an experiment and he absolutely hates it, many of us are used to the old menus and then you go and change them and tell us its progress. How am I supposed to deploy this to users who don’t have the experience and struggle with XP and Office 2003. Support staff have a bad enough job without having to answer questions on where a certain menu has gone.

    Giving back the XP interface would please a lot of people.

  84. thecolonel says:

    make it smaller and they will buy it

    75% of vista is bloat. time to get the axe out

    one more thing – is there any way you can persuade the government to make installing crapware on new PCs an offense punishable by death? just wondering

  85. Penumbra says:

    I suggest you embrace modular installation/features, both in letter and in spirit.  Many computer users are novices and appreciate animations, automatic functions, etc; but just as many users are old hands and expect complete performance customization.  Exemplars can be found in PC gaming; games often have "performance" and "high graphics" pre-sets, with custom settings available in the next tab.

    Incidentally, I’ll be importing my copy of Win7 from Europe, just to avoid Media Player (and hopefully IE8).

  86. Timite.Hassan says:

    Hi, I think that several things to be done to improve the overall performance of Windows.

    Some require a significant rewriting of Windows(such as remove the registry) while over would just require better practices.

    One thing that could certainly improve Windows performance is to strongly improve some Windows components such as the one use to compress and decompress installation files(.CAB) and to a certain extent the NTFS files and folders.

    I have always been amazed by the fact that Microsoft Applications are often among the slowest applications to install or to uninstall.

    A much faster compression/decompression component could be also used to do much faster loading from the hard drive to the RAM and thus speed up boot.

    Such com

    Another thing is the implementation of a virtualisation layer which would handle old pre Vista applications by for example executing them in a transparent way on a strongly optimised and trimed down Windows XP Pro virtual machine.

    This part is very important i have always found  anormal that Microsoft doesn’t take advantage of the significant upgrade that Vista represents to solve the backward compatibility problem.

    I doubt that this will be done with Windows 7 but i hope that this will be done with Windows 8.

    Another thing which can be done could be an interactive performance monitor which would notify the user when the system has reached the limit of its ressources without degrading the performances (cf swap for example) and offer the user solutions to prevent performances fro mdegrading.

    And last but not the least remove all the artificial bloat added to favor sales of new hardware should be removed, especially as manufacturers seem unable to do what need to be done for this to be effective:

    I mean release in a reasonnable amount of time right drivers.

  87. Timite.Hassan says:

    Basic edition:

    ==============

    I think that this version should not be a home edition only but a version with both home and professional features(although not all of them).However it should be aimed exclusively at legacy/underpowered hardware(a.k.a software designed for XP) and at low cost PC such as netbooks.

    This edition should also feature a light version of AERO for the machines of the aimed category able to run it.

    Such an edition if it has the right price could be a hit in third world and emerging countries where only a minority has the incomes to buy PC powerful enough to run an O.S as ressources hungry as Vista.

    Home Edition:

    =============

    I have nothing special to say on this edition.

    Business and Professional edition:

    ==================================

    First there is no need for both business and professional editions especially as the difference between these two editions is almost non existant.

    They both must be fused in only one version called either professional or business.

    Second, i don’t think that it is useful to have AERO as the default U.I(or at all) for the professional edition.

    I think that a kind of lighter AERO with less effects and requiring less hardware ressources would be interesting for both professional and basic edition.

    And last but not the least, this version should come with default settings similar to those of the server edition which definitevily gives the impression to be both faster and more responsive than any Windows Vista edition and this on the same hardware.

    Ultimate Edition:

    =================

    Like the Vista edition, this version must features capabilities of all the other editions but could feature an interesting new capability:

    The possibility to switch in almost real time between Ultimate,Basic,Home,Professional, Gaming,etc… modes as well as the possibility to define a default mode per profile.

    The Gaming mode should a mode with all settings optimised for Games and thus enabling Games to get as much ressources as they can.

    Moreover this edition should have in Ultimate mode a more advanced,more revolutionnary and more impressive U.I than AERO Glass.

    For all Editions:

    =================

    They should all feature very useful functionnalities such as the whole system backup which is one of the best features of some editions of Vista.

    They should also be significantly cheaper to fight efficiently piracy or switching to alternative O.S .

  88. kostasRM says:

    Common guys, you can do better and (lighter) than VISTA.

    It’s a shame that on the same 2 new CORE DUO systems one with XP the other with VISTA, the same programs run slower in the VISTA machine.

    And things than we used to do with 2-3 clicks now on VISTA need twice more.

    Things we need:

    1. Less memory consumption (600MB usage after a format is unthinkable). And don’t say that VISTA caches all that memory, or even more, for faster recalling when you need it, it DOESN’T WORK, XP are still faster. (TESTED ON IDENTICAL MACHINES MENTIONED ABOVE)

    2. Simpler interface (simple and productive, without all that shining, glowing but of course eye-attractive…….. he,he)

    MAC OS X is waiting just around the corner….

  89. Jens.Voigt says:

    Hi,

    it is possible to show me driver performance. Under Vista all driver are located inside the system process and it is difficult to find out, which part of the system is the bottleneck.

    In my case the bluetooth was the problem.

    Thanks

    Jens

  90. snaven says:

    I don’t care about Aero and stuff like that. I care about the system performance. I want a fast and flexible os, not a slow one.

  91. snaven says:

    Gaming performance is very important. i play a lot and I think that Windows 7 should be a better gaming platform than Vista.

  92. OHD says:

    Do we really need a rough 0.7 GB with drivers copied to our disk? Can’t we just insert the disc that came with the printer, search the web or simply put in the Windows disc during setup? The removal of security center, Tablet PC Input or easy transfer, speech tool among other parts, reduced the Vista Business installation from 11 GB down to a modest 4 GB. I loved it. Vista became everything I wanted it to be, and without the sacrifice of compatibility, security and usability. What should be done:

    – The possibility to fully customize the installation: removing everything that’s not crucial for stability and security. If such features are needed at a later time, put the Windows-DVD back in and install it.

  93. steven_sinofsky says:

    @OHD

    There are a couple of good observations here and some good discussion.

    We do include a large number of drivers in the standard install of Windows and there currently isn’t an obvious way to reduce that footprint.  We do select drivers to install based on the broad applicability of those drivers (based on real world device installation and configuration, through our anonymous, opt-in data).  We can definitely imagine removing drivers but keep in mind that many of them are used to get to drivers in the first place (networking, storage, etc.)  And also keep in mind that when you need a driver you also might not have connectivity (say a hotel printer when there is no network you can use or the connection is too slow for a driver download, which happened to me this week).

    Many of the things you mention above do not have a supported means to remove (TabletPC does) and doing so can leave the PC in an unsupportable state (i.e. windows update will stop working).  It is perfectly great to use the Windows Options (in Programs and Features) to remove things.  

    The reality is that the code of Windows is not where the bulk of footprint resides.  It takes removing a lot of code before you save a significant amount of disk space.  However tHere are some disk footprint steps that I personally take–I remove the hibernate file (disk cleanup supports this, or powercfg -hibernate off), and I also turn off system restore on the volume since I have not had issues with needing rollback.  

    Those two along allow me to run my primary vista SP1 machine with Office Enterprise on a 16GB SSD.  THe base OS+Office+apps (Reader, for example) is about 10GB.  I keep all my personal files in a foldershare.live.com sync’ed folder on an SSD card in the laptop.

    There are many ways to reduce the footprint.  In general, I want to encourage folks to stick to documented and supported ways.

    –Steven

  94. PAStheLoD says:

    Performance is the magic word. Because Windows is a system of enormous complexity, but before everything else it’s an OS.

    W7 should be able to be just that. Unloading, stopping, killing, erasing, destroying everything else in it’s wake if I want that. If I want to play Halo 42, I’d like W7 to switch into gaming mode, shut down printer spooler, stop searching for WLANs, bluetooth devices, stop task scheduler, forget about all that stuff in the system tray (like I care when I got a new email when I’m about to kill everyone else? :) But when my solely theoretical girlfriend IMs me I want that to get to me. So I need control..

    While Developer 23.2.1 can write scripts, but maybe Average Joe 1.0 can’t to automate these.

    Same for power saving, watching a movie. Because 3rd party applications and system services are more likely to impact performance. (Most of the services can be paused already.)

    Timeouts. Like browsing the network places, enumerating folders, doing anything that requires external connectivity, involves devices, drivers, etc.. should get into a background/worker thread. And these timeouts should be customizable.

    And a few things I noticed while using Windows. Even tasks that seem trivial take a lot of time. Like installing an update, installing a program, configuring something somewhere. I’m not a hardcore developer, I haven’t written any OSes, but I just don’t see, why these things take so long.

      Setting a new IP takes 10 seconds. And that’s not long in itself, but during those 10 seconds our CPUs can copy hundreds of megabytes of data, gigabytes if it’s RAM-to-RAM, process, parse, display web pages, get all my emails from 10 mailboxes, even loading all the unreal tournament map just takes a little longer nowadays.

    I’m not entirely familiar with the process of setting a new static IP address, but it must involve some registry changes (that implies some IO), and issuing some kind of release/renew to the NIC, and that involves the driver (and at least a few IRQs, but if those would be the bottleneck, we’d be screwed :]), plus updating the GUI, and after this, firing events for the event models (COM, WMI, etc).

    Installs. Also, I don’t get it why installing things take so long. Even installing windows is slow. Why? Copy the basic things. With 20MB/s from a 16x DVD, copying and extracting 2-3 GBs takes roughly 2 minutes, then writing the configuration file (like, why have more than 1?) should take like 0 second. Writing MRB, a few seconds. Maybe CRC/MD5/SHA1-ing _main_ (not some totally useless DLLs like in DllCache. Quartz.dll? DirectShow? Why? Sound and multi-media isn’t crucial.) system files and backing them up (check before and after copy) ~ 1-2 minutes. So, it’s max. 10 minutes. Why doesn’t it take that long? What’s keeping so long? Installing a service pack takes ~30 minutes. Why? Installing Visual Studio takes more than 40 minutes.

    If I recall correctly, installing .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 took more than 20 minutes. It made a log, and I was terrified, horrified, frightened and such by that, like when people see 20 feet tall alien monsters with huge tentacles and killer jaws and laser beam eyes, roaring and COMING AT THEM.

    As you’ve figured with the Mojave experiment, not knowing things doesn’t really stop people from judging it. And with Windows, we have more thirst for knowledge than enough smart-water around. Especially for these performance things. Explaining is a lot cheaper than developing a new OS, you know.

    Keep things simple, or please give relevant information on why you couldn’t make it more simpler.

    Thanks ;]

  95. longmode says:

    Mojave or not, I have not come across a caching that matches RAM disk performance, and for me, loading a 400MB file in notepad is an excellent test. Also whereas Vista did not allow me to go above the 128GB of XP x64, I wonder whether W7 ecosystem will include anything else than llp64, so that the dual-processors motherboards now reaching 288GB (Nehalem) or more (Magny-Cours) can be used with W7. Also I’d like to see what the direction is in terms of DMA abstraction vs performance, especially when using over 128GB memory (while not bouncing buffers over 4GB).

    Thanks !

  96. Jalf says:

    Like PAStheLoD said, how is it even *possible* for Microsoft’s installers (all of them, it seems) to be so slow?

    I recently tried installing Gears of War for PC… Baad idea. Took me something like two hours. Most games install in 5 minutes.

    A month ago, I installed VS2k8 Sp1. Bad idea too. Another 2 hours out the window. Windows updates too, are ridiculously slow, considering how little is usually updated.

    Ironically, the only Microsoft product that seems to install in a reasonable time is Windows itself. Yeah, you can give yourselves a pat on the back for that. It’s not perfect, but it’s acceptable, and on par with other OS’es.

    But really, the situation with other software is just beyond ridiculous. Please solve it. I don’t care how. I don’t care if the OS has to expose the One True Installer, make it free for all to use, and put InstallShield and all the other third-party installers out of a job. I certainly don’t care if it replaces Microsoft’s own 5 or so different installers.

    But this isn’t a problem with individual Microsoft products, it’s every single one of them. (And third-party installers have plenty of issues too, even if they’re some 30x faster than Microsoft’s) So it’d make sense to solve it once, at the OS level. Good luck with that. 😉

  97. PAStheLoD says:

    Just a quick question, for a probably-future Networking post.

    What TCP congestion control algorithm will W7 use? Will it be modular/selectable/modifyable?

  98. jhill25570 says:

    I want to talk about your staments:

    "customization and management tools Windows has to offer to tune the experience"

    I enjoy tuning up my computer.  I hope Microsoft will add a tool for cleaning the regitry, removing broken links, and unnecessary files, and folders

  99. jhill25570 says:

    Microsoft should add a system that will let the customer see the computer during the defragmenting job.

    All the Window systems, before Vista, have permitted the customers, see how much, was needed, to defrag their computers.  The system would give us an ideal of how long it would take to defrag the computer.

    We can only look at a little ring, going around, in a circle, to let us know that the system was defraging..

  100. jhill25570 says:

    Microsoft should include a  PC, Turn-Up, system like Dell.

    This is a link to Dell’s "Automated PC Turn-Up:

    http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=19&l=en&oc=DDCWDA3&s=dhs

  101. highestcrown says:

    Hi developers,

    compared to Vista, I think that in Windows 7 efforts should be concentrated on two main focus points: reducing the ‘always-on’ system services and minimizing the times of read/write access on disk while indexing files.

    Thank you for the opportunity given to share our opinions.

  102. phil1970 says:

    Here are some of the performances problem that should be fixed:

    – Do not wait hard drives to start before displaying "My computer" contents (drives) or "Send To" folder. This is particulary annoying for external hard drives that are always connected. When using standard open, a small delay (2 seconds) might be added when the user display "My computer" before starting external drives (last known information would be used instead). Thus if I immediatly decide to browse one drive, not all drives would be started.

    – If fact, do not starts drive for those commands in the user does not browse inside a specific drive. If starting the drive is necesary (for example, to display the recycle bin), immediatly display available informations and continue with other drives as they become ready.

    – Ensure that indexing and "System restore" backup operation are even lower priority for disk access so that Windows Media Player would be able to play a video (or audio) smoothly even after a reboot, a bunch of system changes including those of Windows update. This problem also affects professional recording softwares like Sonar that require "real-time" disk access.

    – Add some checks to tools like indexing and system restore backuping to detect if there are working anormally high (for example, because one on the folder is often updated).

    – Make it easier to start Windows in a light configuration (less services started at boot, no startup programs) and maybe load missing services/programs afterward without requiring a reboot of Windows.

    – Add a disgnostic tools that would allows to get timing informations on the boot process and find services/drivers/programs that causes unexpected delays.

    – Add accessible options to power profiles (batteries/AC, economy/balanced/performance) to control some other thing that affect the performance (indexing, backup…). In fact, when doing a presentation we want to ensure that such activities does not affect the performance (for example a video playing in Media player).

    – Maybe allows to specify that some programs requires "performance" so that the system would really give them priority over indexing and such.

    – Ensure that the system is not working too high after a boot. On my system, the performance (being able to play a video smoothly) is often reduced after booting the computer. If the computer is clanly stopped, it should not works hard after it have rebooted (well there might be a 30 seconds delay after logon where some operation might be slower since some program might still be starting).

    – Makes Windows more "real-time" so that program like Media player, professionnal recording software, video-editing software and such depends less on what other programs are running on the system.

  103. Whitebrow says:

    Further up the thread somebody talked about the slowdown overtime from a clean install due to the registry being clogged.

    What if you had some sort of ‘sandbox’ for registry settings for 3rd party applications. An isolated entity. You could make references to those app specific isolated settings in the system specific part. If a program is deinstalled, the entire ‘sandbox’ dissappears and the next time the loose (null) reference(s) are queried they are removed before they’re released to the inquirer. Some other reference ‘garbage collector’ could be thought of as well.

    This way the registry doesn’t get clogged. For extra-lifespan settings or values you could make another form of ‘registry’ concerning historical changes. The registry in my opinion serves only the current needs of the system.

    This might also seriously reduce the hardship for 3rd party developers putting their apps n sync with the system.

    It’s only an idea :) Worth looking into though.

  104. neil_m says:

    My experience with W7 is a migration from MCE 2005 to W7 on my HTPC.

    First impression is that you seem to need about 3 times the PC to achieve the same level of responsiveness.

    Libraries, one would assume, should act like pre-indexed lists of files that you can access. MCE2005 is cheaper and quicker because a) thumbnails are pre-generated and b) the GUI just does a file list. W7 seems to regenerate Thumbnails constantly; they’re not shared between SMP either. the EHVID and WMPLAYER Processes seem to work, in realtime, performing god knows what function, but my impression is that whatever they are doing should be already done before you try to use a library.

    On a 2.6ghz single core P4 with 2gb of Ram, i experienced: 5-10 second delays loading libraries. 1-2 second lag navigating libraries. A/V synch issues playing Mpeg4 files. 100% CPU usage playing back Mpeg4 files; CPU utilisation by WMPntwrksvc & EHVID & WMPlayer even while watching MP4’s fullscreen in MC. I have no extender, so I don’t understand why W7 is devoting significant resources to background processes at the cost of responsive video playback.

    This experience was on hardware that was 30% better than what i was comfortably running MCE 2005 on.

    Since installing W7, I do like it. I like it so much that it now runs on a C2D2.8ghz machine with 4gb Ram. Only now have I achieved a level of responsiveness and usability that I previously had on a 1.8ghz P4 with a gb of Ram.

    I’ve never Run VMC so I can’t compare. People say Aero is just eyecandy bloat; I think it hides some serious underlying system architecture issues. The delays I’ve seen are not rendering related; they relate to storage and resource utilisation.

    I think you guys need to put W7 on some older hardware, and take a good hard look at the performance bottlenecks behind the GUI.  

  105. cirurgia plastica says:

    Microsoft should add a system that will let the customer see the computer during the defragmenting job.

    All the Window systems, before Vista, have permitted the customers, see how much, was needed, to defrag their computers.  The system would give us an ideal of how long it would take to defrag the computer.

  106. mikehudson says:

    Today in Windows Vista we have two ways to do that–first you can pick Windows Home Basic and add your own software, or you can pick a more "feature-oriented" version and also keep in mind that when you need a driver you also might not have connectivity say a hotel printer when there is no network you can use or the connection is too slow for a driver download

  107. mikehudson says:

    Today in Windows Vista we have two ways to do that–first you can pick Windows Home Basic and add your own software, or you can pick a more "feature-oriented" version and also keep in mind that when you need a driver you also might not have connectivity say a hotel printer when there is no network you can use or the connection is too slow for a driver download

  108. sasa says:

    thanks, nice post, keep posting

  109. izdelava spletnih strani says:

    Couldn’t defragmentation be in progress while your computer is in sleep mode. It could be done on regular base. Everytime comp is in sleep mode it could be doing other jobs which are important but are time consuming.

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  111. axel olsen says:

    can't get my oyle Casino game to work. it keep coming up with the fact it needs d3d

  112. essam says:

    why my screen become black suddenly i have to shut my laptop and remove the electric power in order to let it work again

  113. will shrubsole says:

    Hi I would like to know exactly what files i need to operate windows7 at basic level, i.e without other user programs just for it to boot, i have a second hand computer and therefore other peoples junk probably should have reformatted it before installing my stuff, my bad on that and my reasons for that is many but 1 being i was an ex xp user and it took some time to get used to the windows7 set up of where everything is. I would also like to know the best way to reformat windows7 to factory state am thinking of doing a full whitewash after i remove my vital files to USB. Also i have 2GB of ram and right now all am running is antivirus, task manager and this website i have already switched my comps setting to basic display so it looks pretty plain to improve performance somewhat, however it is still consuming 1.73GB of memory right now which is much too high, also its running 76 processes so if i could be told the necessary processes that need to be running just for windows to work without crashing for example dwm.exe for windows desktop manager and taskmgr.exe for now as am running task manager trying to watch performance and processes  would be great from there i can workout what else i need to be running personally.