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Author Topic: One year on with Windows 7  (Read 2685 times)

pilgrim

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One year on with Windows 7
« on: May 12, 2013, 06:07:17 AM »
A year ago today I installed Windows 7 on what was then my new computer.
It had been started up a couple of days before to set up the BIOS as well as partitioning the SSD and the two hard drives, although the main reason was to make sure that nothing went bang.
Installing the OS meant that after two months of planing, ten days of building, and two days to recover, it was finally usable.

I then spent a week finding out where things were and installing security software and a few other things before putting it online, where I was almost instantly greeted by a demand to install 700MB of updates from MS.

Over the next couple of months one of the biggest tasks was convincing the OS that the computer belonged to me and not to MS, something that still comes up from time to time albeit increasingly rarely.
But having turned off UAC and taken ownership of half the registry and most of the system files I think that I have, by and large, got the idea across.

Up until the end of last year I was installing software and adding tweaks and adjustments to get it how I wanted it and make it easier for me to use, much of which involved replacing things that MS had left out and disabling/removing things that I had no use for and/or were a damn nuisance.

Since the beginning of this year I have undertaken a process of refinement to make it even easier to use. (Hence the large number of posts on batch files et al.)
Once that is done I should be able to start using some of the software I have accumulated like Sokoban for Windows which I have so far tried once without a single success.

I did consider buying something for the computer to mark its first birthday but it already has a full complement of RAM, which under other circumstances might have been the first consideration.
The onboard graphics are more than adequate for my needs so a graphics card would merely be an expensive indulgence on my part.
Likewise any thought of upgrading the CPU which has since been superseded, it will run happily at 4.8Ghz by simply changing the multiplier, although I rarely run it above the default as that is adequate for my uses.

So there you have it, an anniversary that, apart from this post, would have gone unmarked. (And probably should have done.)
Given the thought and care that was put into both the selection of parts and the assembly of same there is a reasonable possibility that the computer will outlast me.
Should that be the case I hope it finds a new owner who will be kind to it. (I'm looking for one for myself but I'm not optimistic.)
I spent 25 years training to be an eccentric then I woke up one morning and realised that I'd cracked it.
I've not had to try since.

I wonder what happens if I click on thi
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 07:55:53 AM by mouser, Reason: improved topic »

IainB

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Re: One year on with Windows 7
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 07:54:51 AM »
Well, I first got Win7-64 Home Premium with a new HP ENVY 14 laptop (i7 CPU) purchased just over 2 years ago, and I invested quite a bit of time in either getting it to run the way I wanted, or adapting my user behaviours to it, as you seem to have done.
A short while after buying the HP ENVY, I got a second Win7-64 Home Premium with a new DELL Inspiron laptop (i5 CPU), and essentially built it up using my experience with the HP ENVY as a template.
When I had them both running pretty much OK, after checking/recording their performance, I upgraded both laptops with more RAM and this was the result (reported on in a separate post on DC forum - here).

DDR3 RAM upgrade performance table.jpg

On both laptops, the additional RAM made a significant difference to perceived latency (everything seemed to run faster/more smoothly) from the user perspective. In terms of measurable performance though, as you can see, there was not much more we could do to speed up the Windows base performance measure in the HP ENVY - its performance LCD (lowest common denominator) seems to be the hard drive, which is already a 7200rpm spec., and, in the case of the DELL Inspiron, its performance LCD seems to be it's Aero performance, which, at a guess, could be a firmware efficiency issue in the display controller - i.e., nothing which otherwise might be fixable. (?)    :tellme:

It would be interesting to know what your Windows base performance measures were/are before and after any hardware changes.

pilgrim

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Re: One year on with Windows 7
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 08:55:16 AM »
To start at the end of your post I have not made any hardware changes and except in the event of component failure I doubt that I will.

Strange as it may seem to some I never benchmark anything, the only testing I have ever done on the computer itself when I was setting up the overclock profiles to make sure that I wasn't cooking anything, at 4.8Ghz it levels off at 67 degrees on 100% CPU.
I only ever looked at the Windows Experience Index once, I can't remember what it was but I remember thinking that one of the reasons it wasn't higher was due to various things that I had disabled, including Aero, so I consider I could never get a fair reading from it. If I wanted to use WEI again I would have to go looking for it as it is one of the many things I disabled.

I have 16GB of RAM, 4GB of which is a RamDisk, for normal use around 8GB is in use which leaves me plenty of leeway for just about anything I might want to do.

At the other end of the scale I upgraded my Netbook RAM from 1GB to 2GB which stopped it running out of virtual memory so often but what really improved the performance on it was an 8.75% overclock which made a considerable improvement while only pushing the temperature up by a couple of degrees.

Should anyone be interested I am attaching the PC specs and an image of it, the ball of cable at the bottom of the image got smoothed out and lays much neater.

New Computer.jpg



EDIT: Having had another look at the image I realise I took it just after it was first put together, hence the ball of cable, it also has an NIC card and a USB card installed.
They are not in the component list either.
I spent 25 years training to be an eccentric then I woke up one morning and realised that I'd cracked it.
I've not had to try since.

I wonder what happens if I click on thi
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 09:39:14 AM by pilgrim »

IainB

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Re: One year on with Windows 7
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 11:02:23 AM »
^^That's an interesting monster you have there. Makes me rather envious - as a confirmed laptop-only user nowadays, I no longer get the experience or fun of building or reconfiguring the hardware in a desktop PC like I used to.
Yes, the WEI is a bit of a rough-and-ready rule-of-thumb, but since it came with the OS, it was easy enough for me to use as a standard basis of comparison between As-built and As-modified. I always like to get some metrics on performance, but in this case the most important user metric (latency) was not measurable with what we had. The improvement was perceived but not measured, so not really provable.

Your PC might be blindingly faster, or better-performing than a lesser beast, but you wouldn't necessarily be able to prove it without some comparative metrics either. It really comes down to things such as, for example, the effect on overall performance of (say) throughput rates on specific complex tasks.
I think the WEI was probably intended to give one some pointers to this, and to help one to identify some areas of potential bottlenecks, which it probably does with the LCDs.

Metrics are important for performance measurement, but the user experience is often the most important.
Years ago I used to do a comparative test on sportscars to get an average time out of 10 tries at 0 to 60mph and 0-100mph with two people inside (the driver and the stopwatch-holder). That figure would be a product of a complex function probably including things such as, for example, brake horse power, final drive (differential) gearing ratio, power-to-weight ratio, traction, and suspension spring "tramping".
As a metric, though the 0-60mph time was quite a useful metric - an addition to the "experience index" for a sportscar driver - some of the unmeasurable things were probably more important.
I recall that, on doing a major engine conversion on one road-going sportscar, which made a power-to-weight ratio improvement (doubled the power output, knocked about 50lbs off the engine weight by moving from cast iron to sandcast or diecast aluminium alloy), changed the weight distribution from front-heavy to near 50-50% (engine moved further amidships), not only did the car run more quietly and feel safer at speed (better traction and roadholding) but it also shaved something like 3+ seconds off its average 0-60mph time and pushed up achievable top speed from about 100mph to 137.5mph, with happy high-speed cruising at 110-125mph. The user experience was described as "electrifying"!

As an experiment, it might be interesting to get a WEI measure for your PC (AS-IS), then install (say) Windows 8, and then rerun the WEI to see what difference (if any) there might be...    ;)

pilgrim

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Re: One year on with Windows 7
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2013, 05:20:50 AM »
You have inadvertently hit on the reason I never benchmark anything.

Quote
you wouldn't necessarily be able to prove it without some comparative metrics

Why would I need to prove it?

When I buy/build things for my own use I have no interest in comparing/competing with other people.
When I was planing this PC for instance I could have gone for a higher spec, I could have started with a larger case, a higher rated motherboard, an i7 instead of the i5, I could have used water cooling.
I considered everything that was available at the time and weighed it against my requirements, (that's why the planing took two months) cost was a consideration but not the main one. I finished up with what I've got.

For what it is worth on the one occasion I looked at WEI it was 7.6.

One of the things that amuses me on a lot of computer forums is discussions on start-up times. I must admit that when I switch my old PC on I could get my breakfast before everything loaded, it is actually quicker now since I returned it to its original spec after its upgraded MB died last year, (which is what prompted building a new one) than it was before the upgrade.
I judge start-up time from when I hit the button on the tower till when the last start-up program has finished loading, on my Netbook that is probably around two minutes on my new PC it is around a minute.
I do not need it to be any faster, there is nothing I need to do that needs to be done 'instantly'.

I fear this sort of thing is just one instance of where so-called 'civilisation' has got to, everybody is in a rush to get nowhere.

I was working on motorcycle and car engines long before I left school, tuning them was a part of it although not to the extent that you are talking about.
For people who were into competition the sort of factors you are talking about were important, to the rest of us they weren't.
I can remember when the E Type first came out, and I can remember when the Shelby Cobra made the Jag look like a family saloon in terms of performance. But nobody I knew was ever likely to be able to afford either.

Back in the 1980's I had a company vehicle for several years, when I left that job I needed a car to get me to and from my new job.
I went out and bought a FIAT 126. Just about everybody I knew wanted to know why 'I hadn't bought a bigger car', why 'I hadn't bought a faster car', the answer was simple, I didn't need one.
(I also took a 66% drop in earnings because unlike the old job the new one was 'worthwhile'.)

We all have our own way of looking at things and in this case yours and mine are very different. That is not to say that either is wrong and the other right, after all both views are valid to the holder.

EDIT: Windows 8 has as much chance of appearing on a computer of mine as Vista did, NONE!
I spent 25 years training to be an eccentric then I woke up one morning and realised that I'd cracked it.
I've not had to try since.

I wonder what happens if I click on thi
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 05:50:37 AM by pilgrim »

IainB

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Re: One year on with Windows 7
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2013, 10:11:40 AM »
Sorry, I didn't intend to imply that you needed to measure performance to (say) compete with anyone. I never use metrics for that either (couldn't care less really). No, I just use the metrics to establish how much of an improvement I might have been able to have achieved in something.
I got a great deal of satisfaction from tweaking up the laptops (both were heavily discounted/refurbished models), knowing that I had been able to get some significant improvement - one was for me, the other for my daughter Lily (hers is also a standby for me). Lily is now 11½ years old, but she had been hammering her laptop with some graphic-intensive games, including SIMS games (she especially likes designing her female SIMS clothes, and designing houses). She later might knock up some of the more simple SIMS dress designs she had created, on her sewing machine, for herself or some of her friends. She wants me to start selling them on an internet auction site, together with a range of cloth bag designs she knocked up. (I told her I'd do it for a commission.)
The RAM upgrade taught me a few things, and afterwards Lily was very pleased with the reduced latency on her laptop, and I with mine.

Bit of a digression:
Spoiler
The cars I mucked about with were successive sportscars of mine, at a time before I had a mortgage and family responsibilities to contend with.
Having grown up with two older brothers who had sportscars, I was very keenly interested in cars and motor mechanics, and by about 11 y/o had usually memorised the name and engine spec of almost every car at the biannual Earl's Court motor show, without even trying. I didn't memorise the prices as I wasn't interested in owning any of them, but just in understanding how they ticked.

When older, I went through a few company cars, tending to thrash them a bit too hard. I recall one point where I was offered jobs by two different employers. One job went with a sporty-looking BMW and the other a Ford saloon. My friends seemed to expect me to go for the BMW - probably because that's what they might have done - but I went for the job that seemed inherently more "worthwhile" as you put it.

I can't see what's wrong with the Fiat 126. I've driven that and the old Fiat 850 and old BL Minis, and been impressed with their value-for money. Same for Skodas (older design), and cars with 3-cylinder 2-stroke engines. For practical purposes my preference has usually been for the smaller-engined cars with relatively better operational cost-efficiency than their larger-engined counterparts.
Later, I tended to prefer station wagons, mainly because of their greater load-carrying capacity - e.g., it can fit all the holiday camping gear in without your needing to have a trailer or use a van. Big saloon cars with cavernous boots can be handy in that regard as well.
My preferred mode of transport nowadays is a road bicycle, followed by shank's pony, or bus. I like to cycle to work (clients premises) if they are in reasonable range.
I map a few of my favourite recreational bike routes on Google maps, just to see the trip distance, and I monitor how long the trip takes, there and back, as a rough indicator of fitness. If Lily comes with me (she started doing that sometimes at about age 9) we go slowly and stop for a McDonalds burger or a Subway sandwich en route, as a reward.


pilgrim

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Re: One year on with Windows 7
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2013, 03:44:51 AM »
No apology needed, I can actually understand people's interest in performance figures it's just not my cup of tea.

That sounds like a very bright young lady you have there.

Your interest in cars sounds to have been about as varied as mine although for several years when I started out my interest had two wheels rather than four.
I have finished up with a 1248cc turbo diesel which I bought new 9 years ago this coming Sunday.
It will exceed the national speed limit (70mph) with two gears to spare and from new has averaged 67mpg, I am no longer able to work on it myself but I'm not complaining.

One thing I have to ask you about your last post is how do you get the 'click to reveal/hide' feature?
I spent 25 years training to be an eccentric then I woke up one morning and realised that I'd cracked it.
I've not had to try since.

I wonder what happens if I click on thi

IainB

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Re: One year on with Windows 7
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2013, 03:30:55 PM »
Lily showed herself to be an artistic/creative child from about 4 y/o, and her teachers used to comment on it.
I quite like motorcycles, but my interest in them is mostly on aspects of their mechanics and design. Though I have ridden a few, I have never owned one. Your diesel motor sounds pretty good. I think diesel-powered cars are great, though, again I have never owned one.

The 'click to reveal/hide' is a "spoiler", and is created by pressing the button marked with a large "SP", above the reply editing box. All it does is insert the BBS code for "spoiler" "/spoiler" (in square brackets) - which switches the spoiler on/off for anything you type/insert inbetween the two code commands.

Windows 8 has as much chance of appearing on a computer of mine as Vista did, NONE!

Given that Win7 is arguably an improved Vista, then I am curious to know why you seem so negative about Win8.
I have a licence for Win8, but have held off installing it as I don't like what I am reading about peoples' experiences with it. I might install it after Win8.1 is released.

pilgrim

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Re: One year on with Windows 7
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2013, 06:02:08 AM »
Given that Win7 is arguably an improved Vista, then I am curious to know why you seem so negative about Win8.
I have a licence for Win8, but have held off installing it as I don't like what I am reading about peoples' experiences with it. I might install it after Win8.1 is released.

There are several reasons.
There are a lot of things in 7 that I would never use so I have disabled them, in 8 there would appear to be even more.
It can be used on touch screen devices, fine, speaking as one of the many who could never use one that merely means more of the OS that I would never use.
A similar thing could be said about things that have been left out, MS would appear to pay little if any attention to what users (a considerable number of them) have been saying about first 7 and now 8.
One thing that surprised me about 7 was the number of IT professionals who were critical about certain aspects of it, 8 as well now. It is not just your average users who think they are making mistakes.
From everything that I have read about 8 it would take even longer to make it 'usable' for me than it has 7.
I do not think the idea of using a single OS for multiple device types works out, they brought out the 7 starter version for portables and effectively crippled it. Then you had the RT and the desktop versions of 8.

I bought my first computer in 2005, prior to that I had rarely used one. Perhaps part of it is that until last year nearly all my computing experience had been with XP which for all its faults was known and understood by a great many people who had been using it for years. Most of us would have been quite happy if things had stayed as they were with a few improvements to what we had.

It's true that I view many things in the same way, I have a friend who bought his car around the same time I bought mine, (he's an ex mechanic as well) we have often talked about buying new ones but there's nothing out there that either of us like.

Perhaps my only hope would be to get a film part if they ever do a remake of Jurassic Park, before I become extinct. :D
I spent 25 years training to be an eccentric then I woke up one morning and realised that I'd cracked it.
I've not had to try since.

I wonder what happens if I click on thi

IainB

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Re: One year on with Windows 7
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2013, 02:00:08 AM »
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 02:11:43 AM by IainB »

barney

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Re: One year on with Windows 7
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2013, 02:11:16 AM »
... before I become extinct.

Optimist  :P.