Windows Vista & The Memory Monster

My friend bought a new laptop the other day after his old died on him (shows a blank white screen on startup – anyone have any ideas?). So he toddled off to the local PC World to have a look at the laptops. I seem to remember a time a few years ago where desktop PC’s took up the floor space and laptops were confined to one or two rows. Now laptops dominate the floorspace.

While browsing the laptops, I came across a Compaq Presario with the following spec:

1. 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo Processor
2. 2 GB RAM
3. 120 GB HDD
4. 256 MB Shared Graphics
5. 15.4″ Widescreen LCD
6. Dual Layer DVD +/- ReWriter
7. Vista Home Premium

All that for just £599 – an absolute bargain. Since I’m still using a beat up old Compaq with a PIII & 256MB RAM I knew that they make good sturdy laptops; which is more than can be said for the Toshiba my friend was using. So eventually after a bit of umming and ahing he took the plunge and bought the new Compaq (and I don’t know how I walked out without one, I was this close | | to getting one myself). He got a right touch on it too, getting £20 knocked off for signing up to their ‘care’ plan – which was free and can be cancelled at any time.

So he gets it home and spends the necessary hour or two installing and setting it up (I want to know, can you really take a Apple Mac out of it’s box and be on the internet in 5 minutes? Is it really that easy?!) we both noticed that it seemed a little…sluggish.

He had installed the latest version of Zone Alarm and Webroot’s Spy Sweeper and removed a lot of the none essential components and software. Even with 2 GB of RAM the system just seemed a little slow – like 1/2 second too slow, just enough to notice it. We timed the start up time and it came to 2 minutes to start up Vista with the ZA and SS installed. By contrast, my crappy old laptop which runs XP professional on a mere 256 MB RAM and hasn’t been tuned up, scanned or defragged in centuries, started up in 1 1/2 minutes.

The situation was even worse for shutting Windows Vista Premium down, it seems to go on for an eternity. This is for a brand new machine with Core 2 Duo and 2 GB RAM remember.

I called up another friend who had just bought a top of the range desktop PC and he said that just running Vista and Norton AV his computer takes up 1 GB of RAM…and that’s when it’s idle! I can’t see how you can buy a machine and run Vista normally with less than 2 GB.

I’ve been seriously considering buying a new laptop, and as I said earlier I was so close to getting one the other day. But after seeing the (non) performance of Vista…I think I’m gonna pass. If I do get one, I will have to find a company that still ships a machine with Windows XP or else I might have to be forced to uninstall Vista and get a copy of XP myself.

Update: I’ve done some further reading and research. It seems that start up and shut down times on Windows Vista that can be timed in milleniums is a common complaint amongst users. Some point to driver problems or software incompatibility.

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