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Did the Netbook Improve Windows 7's Performance? 440

Arnie87 writes "One Microsoft Way has an interesting article suggesting that the reason Microsoft is focusing so much on speed with Windows 7 is the whopping sales of netbooks. The article concludes by saying: 'If you plan on adopting Windows 7, you have the netbook to be thankful for, because Vista's successor would be a very different beast if Microsoft had less motivation to pursue performance.'"
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Did the Netbook Improve Windows 7's Performance?

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:10PM (#27284977)

    Face it, the real reason that Windows 7 is leaner than Vista is that Vista was a market flop because it tried to do all sorts of things that Windows users were simply not ready for.

    There is nothing seriously wrong with Vista, and Windows 7 is mostly an optimized version 2 of Vista. So it's no surprise that with the codebase stabilized in Vista SP1 that Windows 7 will be able to build successfully upon that.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:16PM (#27285019)

      Face it, the real reason that Windows 7 is leaner than Vista is that Vista was a market flop because it tried to do all sorts of things that Windows users were simply not ready for.

      Such as force users to give up applications that ran perfectly fine under previous versions of Windows.

      • by koro666 ( 947362 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:09AM (#27285361)

        Such as force users to give up applications that ran perfectly fine under previous versions of Windows.

        They ran perfectly fine because Windows let them get away with whatever dirty tricks they were doing — which wasn't the case with Vista anymore.

        Give me an application that is coded correctly and that does not try to be "more clever" than the operating system by using undocumented structures, functions, registry keys or whatever else, and I'll show you an application that runs fine on Vista.

        • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:44AM (#27285535)

          There are lot of problems with portable applications which try to write into the directory where .exe file is installed.

          Vista 'helpfully' virtualizes file access and this breaks a lot of such apps.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:04AM (#27285655)

            There are lot of problems with portable applications which try to write into the directory where .exe file is installed.

            Do portable progs on your fav linux distro do the same? That is, they write their configuration files to /bin or /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin or whatever.

            What happens when an app with no root priviledge tries to write its configuration files in /bin? It fails spectacularly of course.

            I don't like vista but isn't this double standard?


            • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) * on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:10AM (#27285689) Homepage

              I fully agree.

              For years we (the FOSS community) have been bemoaning Windows' poor, totally broken security model. Now, when MS attempts to fix that and inevitably breaks applications that rely on the previous totally broken security model, we want to whine and moan about backwards compatibility?

              Are we going to whine the same way if IE8 standardizes but breaks web pages that rely on IE7/IE6?

              Seriously, there are some among us that simply will not be satisfied, and they are making the whole FOSS community look like a bunch of children.

              • by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @02:47AM (#27286177) Homepage Journal

                What makes you think that the people complaining about backwards compatibility are the same people who complained about the Windows security model?

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by w0mprat ( 1317953 )
                Vista offers a XP SP2 compatibility mode and other settings, selectable for each executable binary, which will resolve a huge ammount of issues with old applications in Vista.
              • There is no 'we' (Score:5, Insightful)

                by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @03:53AM (#27286365) Journal

                Wonder why 'we' are never happy here on slashdot? Why no matter what MicroSoft does, they are vilified by 'we'?

                Here's a hint: take your user Id, and subtract 1. That's about how many DIFFERENT people registered here before yoi did. Each with their own ideas about priority and values, and what to lambaste MS for.

                I lambaste them for lame things like email not working right with IMAP4 servers in WinMobile 5, 6, 6.1, and 6.5. That's 3 YEARS that some as simple as deleting an email hasn't worked right in a device primarily bought to (ahem) read email.

            • by Jurily ( 900488 )

              Do portable progs on your fav linux distro do the same? That is, they write their configuration files to /bin or /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin or whatever.

              Apples and oranges. The last ten years of Fav Linux Distro didn't let that either, so it's not surprising. XP, on the other hand...

              Also, Linux is nowhere near standardized with directories:

              jurily@jurily ~ $ echo $PATH /usr/kde/3.5/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/opt/bin:/usr/x86_64-pc-linux-gnu/gcc-bin/4.3.3:/opt/blackdown-jdk-

              Just randomly, can you guess where, say, alsamixer is?

          • Speaking as an IT manager, I'll be dancing in the street the day that the last app stops this.

            If I had a penny for every time a user lost data because some app decided to be clever in the manner mentioned above and not save it in the users profile directory...

            Truly, if you were writing a linux app would you expect this to work? It's the same thing. Your app needs to expect that it can write to the user's home directory and temp locations. Fini. Done. Need to write somewhere else, make sure you set up the proper permissions during install time, when you'll be running with privs to access those directories.

            Then I know where the user's data will be and can plan backups accordingly, without playing scavenger hunt with however many hundreds of apps my users are using.


          • by kaiwai ( 765866 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:54AM (#27285973)

            WARNING: Intense rant built up over years of raging against boy wonder dickhead programmers who think they're top shit.

            Here is a great hint for all those boy wonders who write shit applications that spray their shit applications everywhere - fix your damn applications up.

            It pisses me off when I see vendors spray DLL's everywhere, from their own directory to the Windows directory to the user directory and everything in between.

            1) Keep your fucking application exe and all the bundled DLL's in your application director - leave the fucking Windows directory alone. It is not for YOU to place YOUR shit into. It is for Windows and Windows only.

            2) Don't write shit to your application directory; if it is a universal setting then you should ask the user for permission and write it to the global registry. Is it a user related setting then save it to the user profile. No if's, no buts.

            3) Don't use undocumented API's and hacks. You aren't cool, you aren't hip, it doesn't make you gods gift to the world because you're using private API calls never intended by Microsoft to be used outside their operating system development teams. Its private for a reason - private meaning it is not for you to fucking use. Hack away at Microsoft's private api's and I'll hack away at your privates.

            Do the fucking job properly the first fucking time and stop turning a clean and pristine Windows installation ito a fucking dogs breakfast because you think you're top shit when clearly you're not.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AvitarX ( 172628 )

        The nature of software and progress.

        Both Linux and OSX are far worse than Windows on backwards compatibility.

        Adobe's creative suite still doesn't run properly on OSX (weird print driver conflict with HP Design jet, effects InDesign is a known problem, Apple admits it, but yet 10.5, and still running it in Rosetta to print).

        I recently just gave up trying to get Majesty to run on mycomputer (after downloading a new installer, and updater), and from what I read, it would be easier to get the Windows version ru

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:28PM (#27285095) Homepage

      My guess is this will be more of 'ready for Vista' underpowered desktop, now just in windows 'craps' (what version is it anyhow, up near 13 by now) for netbooks. Sure it will run windows, just barely, but run any applications on top and you'll get to re-experience that whole vista feeling all over again.

      Personally I want my netbook to come basically complete with all the applications I will ever need at a very 'competitive' price, so when I drop it, drown it or some one pilfers it, I can just buy another one restore the data, not have to futz around with re-installing software or paying for B$ software licences bound to dead or missing hardware.

      Netbooks are going to suffer a pretty hard life and the last thing you want to get caught up in, is buying the same software over and over again and you certainly don't want to end up paying three times the price in software versus what you are spending on hardware.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Gerzel ( 240421 ) *

      Vista uswers were simply not ready for...

      Darned users! Why can't they get off their rears and make themselves ready for MS's products?

      Should MS have to do all the work of marketing, programming, and figuring out what these "users" want?

      Users should what what MS provides when MS wants to provide it!

    • Will windows 7 actually run acceptably on a netbook?

      I downloaded that public beta of mojave but never bothered trying it. Anyone here have Windows 7 on a netbook like a Dell Mini 9?

    • by xs650 ( 741277 )
      "Vista was a market flop because it tried to do all sorts of things that Windows users were simply not ready for."

      Oh, bullshit. It was a flop because users have seen it for the POS that it is.
    • by daoine_sidhe ( 619572 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @08:27AM (#27287269)

      You're wrong. The only thing that matters at all with any product anywhere is wrong with Vista; my customers don't want it and won't buy it. Therefore, it is a terrible product that I don't carry and have no interest in.

      Now, with Windows 7 my customers have been showing some cautious optimism, so we'll see how it goes.

  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:14PM (#27285003) Homepage

    It doesn't matter if I have a netbook or not, if this is true, then everyone benefits. Even the guy with a multimedia powerhouse machine will see an improvement if performance is the bottom line.

    Microsoft's fascination with taking advantage of new hardware and technologies has led to a consistent decrease in performance over the years, with Vista perhaps being the most obvious and poorly received example. The tide seems to be turning, though. Symantec pulled all the stops on making the newest releases dramatically lower in memory & faster, everyone's re-writing pages so they scale properly for mobile devices, now Microsoft is paying attention too?

    This is a good trend. I hope it continues.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:29AM (#27285453) Homepage

      Microsoft's fascination with taking advantage of new hardware and technologies has led to a consistent decrease in performance over the years, with Vista perhaps being the most obvious and poorly received example.

      Oh, please. A "fascination with taking advantage of new hardware and technologies" is not why Windows has sucked on an an epic level. Windows has always been an "also ran" when it comes to adapting "new hardware and technologies". Always.

      Hardware support? Even the abysmal Mac OS 9 had more leading-edge hardware support than W9x and W2K on their respective releases. Windows XP and 2k3 can, and have been, a huge pain to install if you've got SATA and/or necessary USB devices on the system. Sure, decent support is available after you're installed - but that's not due to Microsoft.

      Emerging technologies? Can you name one software/OS/desktop feature which MS was first-to-market on for Windows? I seem to remember something called Cairo that was making news back in the mid-90s, which had a feature list similar to what we now know as Time Machine - on OS X. MS still hasn't come up with such a functionality. Hell, they don't even have simple search indexing working well in Vista, yet.

      No, MS has been behind the curve with implementation - and well ahead of it with outright lies and broken promises ("Vista Ready", anyone?)

      Historically, these are the things a new version of Windows has been certain to bring to the table:
      * Slower performance
      * Bigger memory footprint with little related advantage (see "slower performance").
      * The first release/pre-SP will be buggy, unstable, and nearly unusable.
      * A lot of stuff that's supposed to work, won't. This includes applications which are supposedly designed for said OS.
      * If it's a complete lemon, they'll silently drop actual support and focus their efforts on their next release (See: ME -> 2k, Vista -> W7).

      Yes, there are various other improvements to new Windows releases. But, consider: Windows still can not approximately estimate the time it will take to copy a file from one local directory to another. That's hardly a focus on new technologies.

      Though, I absolutely agree with you on the whole low-end focus in the IT industry being a good deal for everyone. Now, if only we could get away from the "the browser is the OS" idea, as we're running into all sorts of the same bloat and instability we got with OSes, as browser developers re-implement containers and other OS-level features at a highly abstracted level.

      • Hell, they don't even have simple search indexing working well in Vista, yet.

        I'm curious, what do you mean by that? It seems to be working fine for me, despite what you say.

        I agree on the browser thing though; it's like the thin client all over again, but using 10x more resources than an equivalent desktop programs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:17PM (#27285021)

    Yeah, because 3 years ago when Microsoft started the work that went into Windows 7 (remember MinWin?) they were smart enough to anticipate netbooks and so they did the performance work up front that would be necessary to make netbooks work well.

    Or maybe, just maybe, they realized that Vista's performance sucked rocks and they decided to fix it and Netbooks were a happy beneficiary.

    • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:23PM (#27285065)
      I give credit to the OLPC and the push it gave to the computing world to come up with something lightweight but functional. And that was long before Vista shipped. The Netbooks were a result of the global awareness the OLPC gave to a need for cheap, portable, functional computing.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I never saw an OLPC here in Australia or anywhere else in my travels (including 2 trips to the US last year and 3 months in Europe).

        I /did/ see a lot of eeePCs. Not all of them running Linux, but the day my parents came home with their shiny new eeePC running Linux, I thought to myself "Microsoft must be SHITTING BRICKS".

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by theillien ( 984847 )
          Agreed. OLPC wasn't meant to be a market-changing piece of hardware. It was designed to provide inexpensive options to countries with limited resources so that students could get a relatively modern education. Initially, that it ran Linux is why it was able to be made so small. They were able to keep it small when XP was introduced on it by using a scaled down version. The eeePC is what became the market changer because it was more consumer focused.
  • Bloat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:22PM (#27285053)

    I dunno...Microsoft isn't the only faction that's suffered from some serious code bloat. Computers have gotten so much faster at such a rapid pace. Linux + Gnome and OSX have gotten rather porky as well....

    I'd be happy to forego all the eye candy if it would speed up the work that I actually care about.


  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:24PM (#27285069)

    Sadly, I have some bad news for Linux lovers (myself included) when it comes to the netbook. The fact is that hopes for Linux on the netbook is all but dead now that Windows owns more than 90% [computerworld.com] of this market.

    I still have some hope though. KDE 4.2.1 is convincing many folks in my small world. If KDE programmers do what they have to do in terms of multimedia and the browser (read KHTML/WebKit), there is a future.

    • by FranTaylor ( 164577 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:36PM (#27285143)

      Nothing is going to get me to stop using Linux, and if all of this competition means that Windows is getting better, well bully. I seriously would not mind if everyone stopped asking me to fix their computer for them.

      • by Celc ( 1471887 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:57PM (#27285283)

        The others asking you for help problem lies with people not getting better.

        ... that and you obviously aren't unplesant enough for them to be scared of asking you, work on that it helps.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

        Well, it's bad news for a reason he didn't quite mention. The bad news is that it's likely, in part, due to how pokey Linux has gotten on the desktop in the last 5 years.

        We need a serious initiative within open source to push for a feature-lock for a year or two (or even 6 months), and focus on improving the ability of OSS to run within small constraints. Granted, a lot of this is happening currently (see: Firefox), but I think a more concerted effort needs to be taken.

        • I have a pretty standard Linux desktop, and just about everything happens instantaneously. It takes a second or two to start up Firefox, but everything else is just blinding quick. Really nothing to complain about.

    • by wisty ( 1335733 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:44PM (#27285199)

      Even so, 10% is pretty damn good. Ask BMW, or Steve Jobs.

      I'll agree - KDE is doing a lot of attractive stuff, with it's whole interoperability of user data focus. And the default theme looks better than Leopard.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Even so, 10% is pretty damn good. Ask BMW, or Steve Jobs.

        Instead ask Yugo, because Linux netbooks tend to be the elcheapo models.

        What's happening is that Windows users have found higher-end netbooks to be workable laptop replacements and not just internet appliances.

        • by AuMatar ( 183847 )

          Of course they are. Not having windows or office shaves a few hundred off the price.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            The comparison was with BMW, not the loss-leader they throw out there at $299 to bait you into buying the more profitable windows models.

        • Linux netbooks tend to be identical to the windows models except that they have an 8GB SSD instead of a 120GB HD.

    • Recent games don't run on netbooks. Old Windows-only games run fine in Wine. So I've got no issue running Linux on my Eee PC. The only thing I'd like to see, is apps have better support for the small screen. I'm sure Windows has much of the same problems -- whoever gets there first might find it easier to sell.
    • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:16AM (#27285395) Homepage Journal

      10% of 14 million is still a sizable market share. There are countries all over the world that are smaller than that number that speak their own unique language. The netbook might not be most people's primary machine, but 1.4 million people who are now OK with using linux that would have blindly bought a windows PC before is a giant leap in terms of consumer penetration. 10% penetration is a number Apple's been clawing after for years .

  • Maybe, Maybe not. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reed Solomon ( 897367 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:38PM (#27285151) Homepage

    While they claim (and reports indicate) Windows 7 will be faster than Vista, I wouldn't put it past Microsoft to shoot themselves in the foot as soon as it's released.

    And I don't think its the success of Netbooks that is making Microsoft focus on speed on netbooks. It's the fear of Linux/Android taking over where Windows Vista cannot work that is making them focus on speed for Windows 7. Amusingly enough, if Arm based netbooks take off, Not only is Microsoft screwed, but intel too.

    Then again, Via Nano based netbooks are also starting to be rolled out, and they are comparable to the atom chipset. We'll see.

    Nobody has made a netbook where when the lid is closed you have an e-ink screen for dual use as an ebook reader. This is totally pissing me off. I'm not the only person in the world who wants this or has thought of this.

  • I ran Vista for a few hours before hitting fdisk, and didn't dig, but Windows 7 has ten million services I'm unfamiliar with, and everything I've read about 7's performance on a netbook has to do with the disabling tons of services for the netbook verison.

    I'm pretty familiar with what all the XP services are, and which I don't need, but what NEW can I disable in 7? What is MS disabling in the netbook version?

    Other than Samba sharing, I don't expect I need much more than the netbook version would offer on m

  • Short answer - no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Daltorak ( 122403 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:16AM (#27285397)

    Short answer -- No.

    First of all, the obvious: Microsoft started working on Windows 7 late in 2006, even before Vista was released. Netbooks became popular in 2008. 2007 worldwide sales of Netbook-type machines were less than half a million.

    Any self-respecting computer programmer knows what's really going on. When you spend months or years working on a major new release, you're often struggling to get the new stuff working at all. Your managers are pushing you to get the thing out the door; deadlines are looming; adding more people to the team would probably be counterproductive since they'd only slow down the people who need to be 100% focused on finishing things up.

    Once you get that x.0 release out the door, you take a vacation, reintroduce yourself to your wife and kids, putter around at work for a while, and then dive back in and make your code faster, cleaner, more reliable, more useful. The x.1 release that follows ends up being the one everyone likes; people say "It's what x.0 should have been!" ... Right? That's what happens!

    And that's exactly what's happening with Windows 7. This isn't a major "reinvent the wheel" release... it's all about optimization, performance, better user interfaces, and tacking on some new things that have become popular since Vista was released, like proper support for SSD drives, multi-touch, multi-core GPUs, and so on...

    • by D Ninja ( 825055 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:55AM (#27285601)

      adding more people to the team will always be counterproductive since they'd only slow down the people who need to be 100% focused on finishing things up

      Fixed that for you.

      If there are any manager types reading this - THIS IS TRUE. More people does not make a project quicker to market. In fact, it has the reverse effect for a variety of reasons. A great book about this is The Mythical Man Month by Frederick P. Brooks. Please. Read. Do it for all of us techs-types who already know this.

  • Who says it performs better anyway? Arstechnica gives no information on what tests they ran. Windows 7 is really just Vista SP3, so I'm a bit sketical.

  • makes sense (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:18AM (#27285407)

    Microsoft will *always* improve their products. As the very last resort.

  • thank the netbook? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:36AM (#27285873) Journal
    Yeah - godferbid they just make a quick efficient OS because it's a good idea...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )
      The point is that it wasn't always a good idea. The machine I ran Windows 3 on was an 8MHz 8086 with 640KB of RAM. The machine I ran Windows 3.11 on was a 16MHz 80386 with 5MB of RAM. The machine I ran NT4 on was a 166MHz Pentium with 32MB of RAM. The machine I ran Windows 2000 on was a 1.33GHz Athlon with 512MB of RAM. Each of these machines was significantly faster than the predecessor.

      Now, however, I still do a lot of work on machines with roughly similar specs to the machine I was using in 2001.

  • Pretty Convincing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LuYu ( 519260 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:41AM (#27285899) Homepage Journal

    This whole thing seems to support earlier rumours that MS was deliberately bloating Windows code in order to make people keep buying new computers. Now that the market has spoken, all of that bloat can be easily removed. Everything in Windows seems to be necessary until MS is forced to remove it.

  • Duh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by symbolset ( 646467 )

    Intel giveth, Microsoft taketh away.

    The thing that breaks this paradigm is an Intel platform that moves backwards in net performance. When the goal shifts from ever increasing net performance to performance per power it's only expected that Microsoft should miss the turn.

    The question is, how did they miss being informed that the turn was coming? Did they get told and disbelieve, or were they just not told? I believe the former, not the latter.

  • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:54AM (#27285971) Homepage

    This has a few (opposite) parallels over in the Mac world.

    When the PPC platform stagnated, Mac OS releases started doing a strange thing.... they actually tended to be faster than the previous release on old hardware.

    I've got a 450MHz G4 in its (mostly) original hardware configuration currently running 10.3.9. Unless I'm doing video encoding, or something else similarly processor-intensive, it certainly doesn't feel like a 10 year old machine. (The video encoding example is an interesting one, given that I used the machine 2 years ago for a large video-editing project with Final Cut Pro, and simply farmed out the rendering and encoding tasks to a more powerful machine -- FCP has remarkably modest hardware requirements)

    This is all on a computer that shipped 2 years before the release of OS X. (As a random sidenote, I've also always been impressed that it could handle up to 2 GiB of RAM. That was unprecedented for its time)

    Once Apple switched to Intel chips, new releases started to become progressively slower. Leopard would be an embarrassment if it weren't for the fact that Vista was even a bigger embarrassment.

    IMO, the PowerPC's limitations actually drove a lot of innovation at Apple during those few years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Once Apple switched to Intel chips, new releases started to become progressively slower. Leopard would be an embarrassment if it weren't for the fact that Vista was even a bigger embarrassment.

      What are you talking about? If you've got an Intel-based Mac, Leopard is actually faster. The kernel handles SMP much, much better, and many of the things like Spotlight received serious optimization -- try using a Tiger-based Mac and a Leopard-based one side-by-side under load and you'll see a difference.

  • by pinkfloydhomer ( 999075 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @03:18AM (#27286259)

    I really want to like Windows 7.

    On one hand, I hate Microsoft as much as the next guy.

    On the other hand, I use their software everyday at work. And if the market leader massively improves their (somewhat crappy) software, it forces the competitors to get better too.

    For instance, IE8 seems much faster and better than IE7 (and of course IE6). This will hopefully wake up Mozilla and force them to improve on Firefox.

    Regarding Windows 7, I can see that the memory footprint is lower, and that's a good thing.

    =====> But it still _feels_ much slower than XP in everyday use! =====

    I am talking about the little things that make up the experience of responsiveness. It just takes a noticeable amount of milliseconds more when I click on an icon, until the OS reacts. Opening a new browser window just have that extra lag. Copying files feels slower. Etc.

    At first, I sort of liked Windows 7 and ran it for a couple of weeks. Then I booted back into XP (not a fresh installation of XP, mind you). I was depressed by how much snappier XP feels. I was hoping to have a good reason to ditch XP.

    Makers of desktop operating systems should focus intensively on responsiveness. The OS should react as fast as possible on any user request, regardless of whatever else it is doing.

    It's fair enough that some heavy calculation takes longer time if you have some other heavy job or service running, but the initial latency from any user request until you get some sort of reaction should be as low as possible. And XP is much better in this regard than Windows 7 or Vista (and also faster than all Linux distros I've been running).

    To use an analogy from network land: I would much rather have 10 ms ping times and 1 Mbps than 1000 ms ping times and 100 Mbps.

Don't get suckered in by the comments -- they can be terribly misleading. Debug only code. -- Dave Storer