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Author Topic: LifeHacker: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths  (Read 8202 times)

mouser

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There is an unusually long and original post over at LifeHacker today discussing some common tweaks people use to speed up Windows, and which the author does not recommend.  Very useful and it would be nice to hear some feedback from donationcoder readers.

Quote
As a tech writer, one of my biggest pet peeves is the plethora of bad advice littered across almost every web site dedicated to system tweaking. Besides the tweaks that simply don't work, some of them will actually cause your computer to run even slower—or worse. Let's examine some of the most offensive myths out there regarding PC performance tweaking, and debunk them once and for all.


lanux128

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Re: LifeHacker: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2008, 09:12:11 AM »
i always was of the opinion that the hardware drives the PC, hence one should be beefing up their RAM & GPU - two main components and to a lesser extent, hard drive. earlier this year, i upgraded my current PC (WinXP) to 2GB of RAM and a Geforce 8600GT and the performance just went up nicely.

f0dder

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Re: LifeHacker: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2008, 10:10:13 AM »
I did a quick scan of the article (have to leave for work soon), and at least it seems like the topics touched actually are pretty irrelevant - unlike that "xp myths" thing we had a heated thread about some time ago.
- carpe noctem

icekin

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Re: LifeHacker: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2008, 07:21:34 AM »
Speaking of myths, look what I found at freewaregenius today:Minimem Review

Direct Link to Minimem Program

I would like to know if this is a real memory optimizer or another program that causes unnecessary paging of memory to disk.


f0dder

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Re: LifeHacker: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2008, 07:27:04 AM »
Any program that trims memory causes unnecessary paging, period.

But at least that program probably does the SetProcessWorkingSetSize trick instead of (lamely!) allocating a big chunk of memory. Still wouldn't recommend it though, windows itself will trim applications as necessary. Unused RAM is wasted RAM.
- carpe noctem

lanux128

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Re: LifeHacker: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2008, 07:31:23 AM »
get more RAM and say goodbye to all the memory-optimizing magical tools. i'll repeat the mantra: "Unused RAM is wasted RAM". :)

Darwin

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Re: LifeHacker: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2008, 11:00:44 AM »
Excellent - thanks for the link, mouser!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

mikiem

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Re: LifeHacker: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2008, 03:15:43 PM »
"hear some feedback from donationcoder readers."

IMHO, some of the stuff on/in the Lifehacker blog were right, some wrong, & some depends...  ;D It does do a really great job though of pointing out just how distrusting I've become, along with just why I've had to become so distrusting.  :D

Of note:
Memory optimizers shouldn't improve anything, so there I agree, but I've also read countless reports from people who say one or another has helped them tremendously. Maybe it helps minimize the problems from badly behaving software, or maybe it's totally placebo effect, but either way it's providing a benefit to the user that I just don't feel a need to take away from them.

On services, I disagree wholeheartedly. Many 3rd party services are too often the result of the same mindset that adds entries to autostart with Windows, &/or clutters the tray, needlessly for my purposes. Many of them conflict, &/or are generally a PITA. MS services are *usually* cool, BUT, they can get it wrong, as with SSDP Discovery in XP - they target the average, not my PC - they include services I don't want, like remote registry - and they can conflict with running apps &/or other processes, though that may be the apps' fault. There are & have been documented speed increases, but then you get to what's behind my distrust: is that data honest & reliable, & do I have any reason to believe the author at Lifehacker would even consider changing their opinion if presented with that data?

On the registry I couldn't disagree more strongly!  >:(  Several big name apps have screwed the pooch so-to-speak, as has MS, as have several hardware brands. *If* you never changed anything, there's no reason to touch the registry. Once you do, odds are entries have been left behind, or entered wrong or unnecessarily. I've seen all of the above, regularly. It's sadly a very imperfect world, and, even if you don't have problems directly because of bad reg entries, your Windows install has to deal with any increased size. And even if you discount any delays in Windows, you can't deny the bigger it is, the longer it takes to search. That doesn't mean any reg cleaners, even the impressive CCleaner are perfect. since all they can do is look at references, nor does it mean everyone should use them. But taking the view that the registry should be untouchable is with all due respect lunacy. :P

Comments on System Restore are a mixed bag... Haven't seen a lot of recommendations to disable it, it often should be disabled for data only drives & non-current system discs on a multi-boot system, it's not fool-proof, the auto checkpoints are often useless, Vista's shadow copies go away outside of Vista, in XP it doesn't preserve an exact copy of anything, and it's footprint on disc is adjustable. Any of that & I would have thought that section of the blog useful, though I do give them a half star for including the mention of disc cleanup - then take away 1/4 of a star because they didn't say where it's buried, and if you don't know that it clears all but the latest restore point, you probably don't know where it is.

f0dder

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Re: LifeHacker: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2008, 09:25:50 PM »
Quote from: mikiem
I've seen all of the above, regularly. It's sadly a very imperfect world, and, even if you don't have problems directly because of bad reg entries, your Windows install has to deal with any increased size. And even if you discount any delays in Windows, you can't deny the bigger it is, the longer it takes to search.
Searching the registry is very efficient - there's only really two registry problems that should ever need fixing. One is fragmentation, the other is with apps making "bad changes" to some of the more complicated parts of the registry (COM stuff, whatever) that can cause other applications to fail. But leftover bloat in itself really is never a problem.
- carpe noctem

40hz

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Re: LifeHacker: Debunking Common Windows Performance Tweaking Myths
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2008, 12:18:21 PM »
taking the view that the registry should be untouchable is with all due respect lunacy.

I completely agree. The registry is a complex part of the Windows system family. But it is comprehensible, so there's no need to start unrolling the prayer mat and lighting incense when somebody whispers the dreaded words "The Registry." Unfortunately, many Windows guru-types have pandered to that myth to puff up their own reputations.

To which I say: Bunk! (I actually wanted to say something else here, but "bunk" will have to do...)

The registry is no different than the average car engine. It's complex, often poorly designed, and inadequately documented. But it was built by humans, not some vast interstellar intelligence, so it is not beyond the limits of human comprehension.

Getting a grip on working with the registry is a useful skill. It will also give you insights into how the Windows OS works at a very fundamental level. While it is seldom  necessary to work directly with the registry, doing so can provide the user with the power to change or fix things that would be impossible otherwise. And there are some things you might need to do for security or performance reasons (particularly in the server environment) that can only be done by a direct edit to the registry.

Here are some useful things to remember when you're dealing with registry edits:

(0) General learning is best done in a test environment. If you're really into experimenting (as opposed to occasionally tweaking) the registry, think about setting up a virtual machine - or dust off that old junker you have in the closet and experiment on that before you perform surgery on the machine holding your live data.

(1) Research what you want to do before you do anything. Don't start making changes blindly - unless you enjoy reinstalling Windows.

(2) If you still don't understand something after you do your homework, then leave it alone until you can get help from somebody who does.

Mantra: When in doubt - don't. (repeat 3 times)

(3) If you don't really know what you're doing (or if this is your 1st foray into the registry) - double check everything before proceeding.

Mantra: Stop and think. (repeat 3 times)

(4) If you really do know what you're doing (or you've done the same thing 100 times before) - double check everything before proceeding.

Mantra: Stop and think. (repeat 10 times)

(5) Backup everything and have a recovery plan before you start. Even experienced Pros make mistakes.

(6) Don't let yourself be intimidated by all the "horror stories." But don't get too cocky either.

(7) Don't forget to have fun.  8)


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