The right time to assess Windows Vista's performance

The right time to assess Windows Vista's performance

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Measuring the performance of an operating system is a tricky thing.  At the same time, it's the right and necessary thing to do, because performance is one of many criteria important to customers.  Part of the trick of measuring performance is to time testing execution with the product cycle such that the results are as meaningful as possible for customers; this helps them make a better decision by making use of the full array of available information.  As one example, about a year ago we commissioned a firm called Principled Technologies to conduct a study comparing Windows XP SP2 to Windows Vista RTM.  That study found the performance measures of the two operating systems were within the same range for many tasks that home and business users frequently perform under real-world conditions.

My point is that we waited to conduct these benchmarking tests until Windows Vista had reached the RTM milestone in the product cycle, as this allowed us to provide our customers the most meaningful data available at the time -- the data most likely to directly affect their decision to upgrade to Windows Vista.  We do a whole range of performance tests at every stage of the OS development process, but, as a general rule, we avoid sharing benchmark tests of software that hasn't gone RTM (i.e., final code).  This explains why we have not to date published any findings of benchmark tests (nor commissioned anyone to do so) on performance improvements brought about by Windows Vista SP1.  Publishing benchmarks of the performance of Windows Vista SP1 now wouldn't be a worthwhile exercise for our customers, as the code is still in development and, to the degree that benchmarking tests are involved, remains a moving target.

Aside from that point, let me also emphasize that there are a variety of ways to benchmark the performance of a PC.  Different techniques can yield different results.  Some benchmark techniques simply test PC hardware performance by running a series of tasks at superhuman speed.  Such tests tend to exaggerate small differences between test platforms and consequently are used less frequently nowadays, replaced in favor of benchmarks running tasks at human speeds with realistic waits and data entry.  Benchmarks that run at superhuman speeds often deliver results that don't tell the whole story.  In fact, we made deliberate choices during the development of Windows Vista to focus on real-world scenarios affecting user experience, rather than focusing on improvement of microsecond operations imperceptible to the user.  In addition, in Windows many operations can require additional processing time for work that is done for reasons that benefit the customer; these can include security, reliability or application compatibility checks conducted when a program launches.  These operations may add microseconds to an individual application's launch that under real usage isn't perceivable to the human eye.  When thousands such operations are strung together through automation, those few microseconds can have a cumulative effect on the benchmark result, causing performance to appear much better or worse than expected.

I've included below a video we captured depicting a "benchmark test" running a window-open, window-close routine at accelerated speed.  You can see that it isn't representative of real-world user behavior and hence isn't an accurate gauge of the actual end-user experience.  Further, tests like these only measure a very small set of Windows capabilities and so aren't representative of the user's overall day-to-day experience of working with Windows and running applications.

Video: Windows Vista benchmark testing

Methods like those of Principled Technologies that actually approximate the experience of using the PC, taking an OS through the paces of completing actual tasks at the approximate pace a user might click through them, tend to provide results far more useful to our customers.  The typical Windows customer generally wants to know how his/her actual computing experience will change (read: improve) with an upgrade.  The Principled Technologies tests do that.

For what it's worth, I can personally attest that I prefer to get my work done on Windows Vista SP1 RC bits.  I run Windows Vista RTM on two production machines and SP1 RC bits on two others; in fact, I'm writing this post on a machine with SP1 RC bits installed.  As a part of our internal SP1 testing program, I know that we continue to develop and improve SP1 every day, in large part based on feedback and bug submissions from external an internal Beta-test program members.  IMO, the perceived gains in performance between SP1 Beta and SP1 RC code are significant.  As I said at the beginning, though, performance is only part of the story -- don't forget that SP1 also brings support for new types of hardware and several emerging standards, and further eases an IT administrator's deployment and management efforts.

But don't take my word alone for it.  We'll broaden the testing pool of SP1 RC bits soon (very soon), so when I post that notice here on the blog, you'll be able to put Windows Vista SP1 RC through its paces yourself.  I think you'll find the experience worthwhile and satisfying.

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  • Every newer version of windows has reflected a performance drop.  There was a significant drop from 95 to 98, not too bad to XP.  I can't speak for Vista yet - but its coming pre-installed on a Dell laptop.  I'm looking forward to fiddling with all the bells and whistles.  I'm not too worried about the performance, as long as it works.

    ...And I can allways dual boot with SUSE if Vista fails to perform.  I get to wobble windows and play with 3d desktop environments on an 850 duron with 386MB RAM on that platform, so I know it will be pretty smooth even on a single core 1.8Ghz celeron and a few GB of RAM.

    DX10 isn't enough to tempt me to Vista for the other PC's, although I'd describe myself as a hardware enthusiast.  In fact, no, really, buying a console is cheaper and better for games.  MMPOG'S are ported to Linux now - and that's an OS I can upgrade and re-install as many times as I like for free.

    I like MS products - but, really, when we talk performance I'd like to see some real improvements and clever stuff - INNVOATION - like optional platter striping for the OS, programs or VM.  I want "green" innovations for using "retired" memory modules over a dedicated bus - that would be cool, and much better power management, clever power management.  I want better self-diagnostics.  I don't want hangs BSODS and freezes and problems with drivers and IRQ's. I want windows to repair itself better.  I want more control of what gets swapped and what is in RAM.  And I want an OS that can run previous generations of operating systems virtually so the software I have will allways run and so that better, braver and faster solutions can be found without worrying about backwards-compatability too much.  

    And I don't want bloat.

  • Hey Nick: I would love to see an update to this now that Windows Vista SP1 has released to manufacturing.  May people want to know what the performance story of Vista is and if SP1 changes it and how do we measure that.

  • Will they be industry standard or

    MS standard?

    Will these benchmarks contain video/audio compression of several compressors, simutaneous processes, statistical analysis,

    time to start applications, start applications

    like Visual Studio 2005, time to start Vista from a cold start, thread benchmarks, and raytracing, database query and record retrival?


  • Nick White
    1204 Posts

    Hey session0:  we'll have more news and guidance on benchmarking Windows Vista SP1 at its RTM, which is coming soon ...

  • Nick,  

    If the Devil Mountain benchmarks are flawed, but you agree that benchmarking is important, then what is the correct methodology?  The Principled Technologies tests reference proprietary tools that were lent to them from Microsoft for the tests (ScenCap), I don’t see how independent tests can reproduced independently.  Can you advise on a tool or methodology for benchmarking that you do think would produce accurate results?

  • Smaug
    1 Posts

    I bougth a notebook with Windows Vista and WOW, my new pc was as slow as a 486, the solution: install a free operating system "UBUNTU"

    WOW i lost my money... WOW

  • I just bought a new Core 2 processor and couldn't wait to put in my Vista machine to see it fly.  The result was absolutly no increase in speed at all.  So I disconnected the primary hard drive and installed xp on the secondary hd I used for mirroring.  It's the exact same hard drive as the primary and I even used the same cables.  So how does the exact same machine run with xp instead of Vista?  Incredibly faster.  No contest.  I'm wiping the Vista drive and considering the money lost.  Was this the correct way to assess Vista or am I doing something wrong?

  • Considering it was to be launched in 07

    then backed to early 08 and now early 08 means

    first half (June) I would call that sliping.

  • Nick White
    1204 Posts

    Hey ChicagoBobt:  not sure what you're referring to, as the release of Windows XP SP3 has not been delayed - it is on track and progressing according to schedule.

  • Not hearing anything more on the topic I was wondering why XP SP3 was delayed?

    Could it be because it wiped the floor with Vista? Thats what some would think. Even

    I wonder though I normally dont way a tin foil


    I was reading the comments you made on performance above and noted that nothing

    in the study was done for multimedia.

    Compression number of simultaneous video stream playback (which tests  Threading and multitasking)

    The bench marks you provided a PDf for are

    a very sad group indeed.

    When you see bench marks you normally look at the hardest tasks first then look at the simpler tasks.

    None for 2003 office? Why not?

    Most people have not moved to 2007 yet.

    I am sorry Nick that Vista seems to perform so poorly. But it seems that the desire for PC users has not changed.

    this link should give you some idea of how well Vista is doing.

    No matter what Mr Bill says.

    It seems from development tools to OS tools

    MS has really lost its primary vision and trying to market its way out of everything.

    Vista is starting to bump into the release of the next OS and may become as obscure as windows ME.

    So what does MS going to do about that?

    Nothing I guess. You can ride on the billions

    of monopoly money you have until you make a better OS. This is why monopolies are bad. They no longer have the pressure to deliver and

    inovate. I will say it again. MS used to make fun of IBM. Its departmetns and groups that have NO idea what the other groups are doing.

    Welcome to the new MS. IBM as it was in the 80's. How many bosses do you have Nick? How many people do you need to make a command decision? I bet its a LOT more than before.

    Anyway thats my view of the internal problems that plauge the mighty 10,000 pound gorilla.

    Its so full of cash kings and groups its got a tummy ache.


  • Nick White
    1204 Posts

    Hey hexaae:  prior to SP1 RTM, we're releasing updates that improve performance and reliability on most machines.  Thus, it's likely that most or all the issues you may have today will be alleviated via these updates, but it's also wise to read the documentation that will accompany SP1 at it RTM and consider installing it at that point if a review of the documentation warrants it.

  • Every video/audio application that needs speed and has a Vista driver turns off Aero for starters. Then it has you turn off all the great features that are supposed to protect you from virus etc.. In short any power user has to turn off anything that makes Vista, Vista to get performance.

    The OS is too busy trying to send MS information that you have a legal version than performing its main duty,

    providing FAST bug free performance.

    OK so the last bit was a cheap shot but it remains for MS to prove that this OS is worth owning. Is 64 bit faster? No not so far. Is 32 bit Faster? no not so far.

    Where are the numbers that state you can compress video 20 or 30% faster (should be able to with 64 bit I/O)

    Where are the numbers that state you can have HD playing without skiping while you compress and burn a DVD on a Quad CPU machine?

    Where are the features for the power users that

    would make us stand up and take notice?

    Instead you get annoying pop ups and folders you can not access. What a nightmare.

    I belong to several Video user lists and the feeling is the same. Vista YUCK..

    And for the average user the spin the Mac -vs- PC commercial hits it right on the head.

    HOW many Mac OS versions? 1 How Many PC Vista

    Versions? Well you have about 10 or is that 12? How completely insane. Fire that decision maker NOW. Worst Idea ever. There should be 2 versions Server and Non Server.

    Mr White I leave it to you. Your a PM there.

    I have been in this for 20 years beta tested

    3.1 windows and more.. I love tech

    so can you tell me when you will deliver a real

    OS upgrade? One with blinding speed that boots

    in no time? Can multitask with these new multicore CPU's. Can actually NOT use SLOW virtual memory and doesnt have a memory foot print the size of a house?

    I remember DOS 3.1 started to use more than a few KB and people screamed. Are you guys going for the GB OS? Why? What do I get for that GB?

    Waiting for some sort of reply.

    Tell me what Vista can do and keep performance.

    Oh and one more thing..

    I bought a laptop and they charged me $40 to tune it up so it would boot faster. Is that

    what you get from Vista? More charges?


  • I recently installed Vista Enterprise on a 1.6GHz AMD Semperon Notebook with 1GB of RAM (32MB shared video) and an 80GB 7200RPM HDD.

    My prior experience with Windows Vista had been very negative from the performance side of things.  I was doing this informal "test" as a way of showing a worst case scenario for performance as the organization I work for will be migrating to Vista next summer.

    I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised.  On the machine I am running:

    Vista Enterprise 32bit

    Office 2007

    Adobe Createive Suite 3 Design Premium

    AVG Anti-Virus

    While the performance is nowhere near earth-shattering, I am pleased to say its very usable.  I can open and close applications 2 or so at a time without having any slowdowns.  In addition, despite the rather large at-boot memory footprint, the system seems content returning to that footprint when the applications are closed.

    Now, I'm not doing any major design work, nor am I opening 4 to 5 heavy-duty apps at once, but again, this was a usability test for old hardware.

    I was very surprised that Vista was up to the task.  I will be doing more of these subjective tests in the future.  For now, call me pleasantly surprised.

  • First

    >But the media, who is/was the culprit in

    >spreading false messages is still at the top >in putting Vista down. But Media cannot put

    >down the real users.

    This is funny. In fact I think being a developer and left scratching my head with the 20 other developers around me makes me think the real users are the ones that dont ask questions and buy what ever MS sells. Thats just being a lemming.

    >No Operating System is perfect - If you just

    >be complaining, why dont you build your own

    >OS and release and challenge others instead

    >of just complaining.

    DR DOS Should I remind you? How about those messages when DR DOS was BETTER than MS DOS.

    MONOPOLY can do anything and pay off anyone.


    Then there was NOVELL who was doing so well in networking that MS decided to write on the

    DOS extra bytes area where they noticed they used to multi tasking and NOT clean up.

    Its all an honest mistake. And while MS Word was using DOS drivers for printers MS told EVERYONE NOT to use DOS drivers because that was incorrect. So WordPerfect and everyone else used CRASHING badly designed windows drivers. And folks thought GEE these programs are broken under windows. When that wasnt the case. You see you got be around for a while to remember all development marketing etc.

    Stacker had a great product until it was

    destroyed and then bought off in court.

    Its sad.. I have know many MS developers they

    are good guys but the vision is gone.

    Next they will do more Apple knock offs and call it Vista 2.

    The company has turned into IBM. Thats the company the used to make fun of.

  • hexaae
    2 Posts

    I have Vista HB (Ita, x86) on a Compaq Presario F500 with 1GB RAM.

    I think Vista still loads/writes a lot on the HD (sadly vmem swap-file is heavily used even if you have a lot of mem. You should improve this aspect and minimize HD interactions) but overall is a good OS, now more secure, smart and powerful... and hope it will be faster and faster in the near future.

    A question about SP1: I've installed many KB manually from and from automatic WUS... Are them part of the SP1 or should I expect a further performance boost f.e. in file copy/move etc. from SP1?

    In other words: with all these fixes installed I already have part of the SP1 installed? ;)

  • Hi guys

    After hours of trying to get this to work I found with your help the right c++ coding, hopefully I can start seeing the wow with out going back to school to get a software engineering degree to run Vista

    Thank you again for all the help.


  • Thank you for your post. yes it is certified for vista. All I want to do is use my computer for music production, how do I get my hands on MS "Monaco"? Will go to the forum to see if it helps. Thank you.


  • Hi Michael, Here is a post in MSDN forums dealing with your issue -

    I think its the application which is causing the problem. Is your Music Creator certified for Vista or do the application website have any patches/upgrades for Vista?

  • This has been most of my wow with vista for the last six months >Log Name: Application>Source: SideBySide>Date: 11/29/2007 10:40:47 PM>Event ID: 33>Task Category: None>Level: Error>Keywords: Classic>User: N/A>Computer: leannawingfi-PC>Description:>Activation context generation failed for "C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Music Creator 4\". Dependent Assembly Microsoft.VC80.MFC,processorArchitecture="x86",publicKeyToken="1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b",type="win32",version="8.0.50727.762" could not be found. Please use sxstrace.exe for detailed diagnosis.>Event Xml:><Event xmlns="">> <System>> <Provider Name="SideBySide" />> <EventID Qualifiers="49409">33</EventID>> <Level>2</Level>> <Task>0</Task>> <Keywords>0x80000000000000</Keywords>> <TimeCreated SystemTime="2007-11-30T04:40:47.000Z" />> <EventRecordID>10641</EventRecordID>> <Channel>Application</Channel>> <Computer>leannawingfi-PC</Computer>> <Security />> </System>> <EventData>> <Data>Microsoft.VC80.MFC,processorArchitecture="x86",publicKeyToken="1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b",type="win32",version="8.0.50727.762"</Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\Music Creator 4\</Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> <Data>> </Data>> </EventData>></Event>>>

    would like some help so my computer will work.

    Thank you


  • I think if Microsoft had released Vista with custom designed PCs instead of just letting it out to the OEM Market, like what Apple does, it would have been really good.

    If you really want to experience "WoW", you need to have the right machine and I have seen Dell/HP PCs/Laptops really have excellent options to build a good "WoW" experience. I myself own a Dell laptop and Vista is running great and enjoy every moment using it.

    But the media, who is/was the culprit in spreading false messages is still at the top in putting Vista down. But Media cannot put down the real users.

    No Operating System is perfect - If you just be complaining, why dont you build your own OS and release and challenge others instead of just complaining.

    As Nick tells, this is not the right time to  test Vista SP1. And also there is a BIG misunderstanding of Service Packs and again many websites are still believing that Service Packs are meant to bring new interface changes, new functionalities and goodies.

    As far as Vista is concerned, The Service Pack heavily deals in optimizing the performance and doing some tweaks to the OS.

    I would suggest people who review Vista SP1 to adhere to the Vista SP1 Test Document that every SP1 Beta Tester gets to download. Release results based on that. The document has the changelog for each release of Vista SP1, the features improved, features added and how to test them. Has anyone released results using that? Answer is NO.

    And moreover, these people could discuss a lot with the Vista SP1 Beta Newsgroups instead of just complaining and putting it public.

    I personally have tested SP1 Beta and found my Laptops to perform well than the RTM. I dont need any benchmark,when you use it, you will come to know whether there is some improvement or not. I had installed RC1 Preview in my main development machine and it didnt break anything and there were no problems at all and of course  there was good speed increase.

    So, can I go and boast about SP1? No, this isnt the final release and how can I take it for granted that things would be smooth and fine in the final release or work even better than this release? Will the testing being done and the issues not being discussed with the newsgroups (where beta testers as well as Microsoft employees are) yield any good results?

    I hope people discuss with the newsgroups before publishing their benchmark results. I think many websites just show off that they have tested Vista SP1

  • Release SP1... we have been hearing it will be out soon for way too long.

  • dovella
    303 Posts

    i have

    Asus 650 SLI

    2 gb ram ddr 2 in 1t

    Nvidia 8800 Gtx

    Monitor Dell 27 ultrasharp

    Vista 32 home premium

    0 problems

  • After being coding for 20 years I have seen lots ups and downs from MS. Vista is a definite downer. People may want to talk about stability of Vista but thats because its all they can say thats good. I have had XP machines not blue screen for long periods of time as well. Err umm So what.. Isnt that what an OS is supposed to do? It seems to me that MS believes marketing over quality can drive a product into existance. They may be right as they squeeze the OEM's to deliver Vista or Else and people buy new hardware.

    It wont get back your tatered reputation delivering a fat and slow OS though will it?

    Thats the long and short of it.

    Until you turn of everything that makes it Vista,Vista you cant get any performance from it.  Go figure.

    I work in realtime video and the first thing I was told to do was turn off Aero, turn off anti virus, turn off etc.

    I am left with a shell that looks a lot like XP and not everyone has drivers for my gear that work in Vista. Now what?

    I dont know what Redmond can do to fix this and to tell the truth I have a Quad Core with 2GB of Ram new 7200rpm SATAII Seagate drives

    dual monitors and a lot of video gear cramed into my box along with Raid 0 on a newer P35 chipset. Video card is a new NVidia 8800GT

    I went back to XP.

    Boots faster. My other gear works and stability is the same. Stable.

    I want to know what I am going to get from Vista that would ever make me want to change?

    An OS copies and organizes files and provides a generic enviornment to access hardware.

    Thats its job since DOS.

    The other crap thats in there is.. crap.

    So whats Vista GOT that I need or want cause it

    sure isnt speed.

    Oh and by the way a DOS copy is still superior to a Windows copy because in a few keystrokes I can copy all my source files from a root directory off to another drive. STILL can do that in Windows....

    Cant open up to documents in the same window to

    cut and paste between them. I had a 64k app that did that in DOS..

    KIDS... They they think they are so smart.


  • dovella
    303 Posts

    I have not  problem with my Vista.

  • Well, yes and no. The 'benchmark' created by Devil Mountain Software is clearly a poor one, and shouldn't be relied on for Vista performance.

    Then again, the Microsoft study isn't too hot either. It's no surprise that general productivity apps won't stress the system - what should be benchmarked is serious number crunching, disk and network I/O, multitasking/multithreading, graphics and sound subsystems.

    I'm actually quite hopeful SP1 will be a large improvement. Despite the fact (for me) the current beta RC is a bit crap, the prior one was ok. With a few performance tweaks, some bugs squashed, some tuning of the interface and UAC and crucially improved drivers (sad to say, a lot of third party drivers are dire) it'll be worth running.

    I like the smoothness of Aero, it's *much* better in multi monitor configurations (even if non plug and play monitors are a disaster area), the networking appears to be solid and the Unix subsystem is good (NFS works well).

  • Well, looks like I'm not the only one that had issues with Vista.

    I gotta admit that first impressions were good... well, first impressions after the incredibly slow update process (and it wasn't due to the download speed, that was fine, it was the actual installation that took ages.), however, after a few hours I started to wonder whether anyone at MS had actually bothered to use the OS before releasing it to the public.

    Seriously, how on earth did anyone think UAC was a good idea?

    How did it make it past the front door with such horrid disk access speeds?

    Didn't anyone think the constant hard drive flogging by the windows search service was a problem?

    Was vista tested with any software other than MS Office and if so, didn't anyone realise that software running like an anemic mule on a fairly powerful PC was going to be unacceptable to the general public?

    Frankly I'm not holding my breath for SP1, I got a feeling that the performance problems are too severe to be fixed up with a single service pack.

    I realise that a lot of the current issues are not Microsoft's fault, fair enough, they can't control third party developers and such but the fact is that those problems are there and they are real and people are not going to buy Vista until they know they can run their programs reliably at a speed similar to XP.

    Personally, I'm gonna sit and wait for Windows 7. If it turns into another Vista then looks like I will have to abandon my principals and  get a ...ew... get a Mac. I'm sure I won't be the only one.

  • someone
    156 Posts

    So by writing this, you agree that the final SP1 WILL have some solid performance improvements...let's wait and watch.

  • dafyddu
    1 Posts

    Some time ago we purchased an ACER laptop with XP Pro preinstalled, fast, stable and a good deal we thought as it came with a "free" (£14 shipping) upgrade to Vista.

    Having upgraded, after following ACER's instructions to load "Vista compatible" drivers, to say I was disappointed is an understatement.

    This was a direct comparison on the same m/c, running the same softwear. Vista took minutes to load (every time), the browser was slow (nothing to do with network or websites), and applications ran noticeably slower.

    UAC is the worst addition to an OS I've ever seen (and I've been around computers a while), and was disabled immediately (there has to be a better way, the fact you can disable it means MS knew it would be an issue).

    My wife blamed me for all the problems and I was miserable for two weeks tweaking to try and improve this disastrous OS.

    Vista gobbles resources to feed it's very pretty and very clever, uselessly self indulgent UI, seems to be incompatible with even drivers classed as Vista compatible, and apart from the fact that if you run it you can access DX10 (which provides you extra widgets, but not necessarily better performance), it's difficult to see why it exists at all.

    For MS to launch this OS in this state, knowing that we will all get it forced down our throats by PC manufacturers bundling it with new PCs, and giving us no choice unless we go out and buy a copy of XP is inexcuseable.

    Please will somebody get BG out of retirement or wherever he is so he can knock some sense into the high flyers.

    Vista is in the bin, XP is back. Please can I have my 14 quid back.

  • boe
    9 Posts

    Citanic, you are correct - MS is looking for others as the source of the issue.   A day after I installed Vista I contacted MS because I was astounded that it was so incredibly slow- they said, it is your firewall, turn it off, it is your network card, update the drivers, you need more memory (I have 2 GIG of memory), you need a faster video card (I have an x1950 w/512mb of ram), you need a faster processor (I have a core 2 2.67 GHz), you need to turn off your antivirus.

    So basically the solution is - turn off the video features of Vista, turn off antivirus and your firewall, don't surf the web, don't run any applications and don't reboot your computer and as long as you have a 4GHz quad core system with 4 GIGs of RAM - vista won't seem to slow as long as you don't have an XP machine for comparision.   Obviously I'm a fool if I hadn't divined all these things before installing Vista.   5 months later MS admitted (VERY QUITETLY) there were some slight performance issues with VISTA.   Who the CHUCK did the testing for VISTA?

    I would love to see a performance test (A real one) with the following

    2 IDENTICAL MACHINES (except the OS) - say a mid range machine Core 2 2GHz, 1 GIG of RAM, a 256 video card, 80 gig hard drive (AND DON'T bother telling me I can buy faster - I know that - this is actually a step up from the "standard" desktop most companies have so I think it is a compromise between what I would buy and what most companies already have).

    Once you have the two machines running either Symantic antivirus or Mcafee as those are the most common, no firewall as most companies turn it off since they already have a corporate firewall, and the latest drivers, and neither defragged since the install we can begin the test.

    Boot both machines- same things in the start up for each.   Run the silly aero interface since that is what so many claim is great about Vista.   Open an application (that hasn't already been cleared for UAC - because frankly it adds some realism to the test and might get MS to consider what a worthless piece of crap UAC is when it it turned on).

    Now the real test - copie files up and down from the server (a windows 2003 server since no one will roll out 2008 any more than they will Vista) - various folders with small files, large files, one file of various sizes).  Now do the same test to another hard drive on the same unit (Vista to Vista and XP to XP) now do the same thing on the same hard drive of the PC.

    Now shut down the machine.

    That is a REAL world test.

  • ctitanic
    69 Posts

    Nick, you are absolutely right in your article. We should go more with real tests. Unfortunately, I'm not so happy with Vista performance. And here is my real life test: Starting Vista and XP, Vista, 2 minutes with 55 seconds, XP, 45 Seconds.

    This is just unacceptable. And the worse part of it is that so far I have not seen any improvement in SP1, it's like Microsoft is waiting for a hardware miracle to get the performance issue fixed.

  • same experience...i have to say about vista is...

    its running very poor compare to the XP....

    machine take too much time to load...

    sudden blackouts...

    not responding for a long time...

    i'll be interesting if u'll be able to leave some text to speed up this OS...

  • Nick White
    1204 Posts

    Hey cfold, juliangall and Kittyburgers:  much of what you're experiencing is improved via SP1, which is detailed in part in this white paper:  Expect another white paper with the RC.  SP1 RC will be available for broad testing soon - I will let readers know on the blog when that occurs.

  • @Good_Bytes

    If RKennedy feels this way,and obviously he knows what he's talking about,being the author of benchmarking stuff;(which,btw shows totally the opposite of what Nick is spinning), then he's qualified to evaluate and critique.

  • I just want to know when the issues of Vista not recognizing MTP devices and the "Server Execution Failed" problem will be addressed?

  • Perfwise it might be all right if I lived in the United States AND had 20-20 vision.

    1. Because Vista has moved towards this cyan on blue/grey everywhere the readability of many screen elements is dramatically reduced from XP, and is not customisable then it's just not worth squinting at it all day to get work done. It's the same old story of having 25yr-olds looking at the bug and saying "not repro" (for their eyes).

    2. IE7 ignores user locale settings and switches to US English, a bug that has been repeatedly reported and verified outside of MS since Vista and IE7 were in beta. It also insists on installing US English keyboard language even though my keyboard is UK layout and my locale is Australia. Supposedly by design, but no one can explain the rationale! It interferes with day-to-day use by forcing the language bar to keep re-appearing and apps like Word end up toggling to the wrong language and thus invoking the wrong proofing tools.

    So, assessment? A few chip cycles saved, but endless human cycles broken.

  • rkennedy01, stop bullying, let the man in his blog alone.

  • "Like other posted comments, hibernate, sleep, file copy and transfer are not microsecond tasks and their performance is completely unacceptable."

    There are patches that fix all of the above. Search the knowledge base.

    "The annoying thing is that to get a fast PC, the consumer needs to buy a computer somewhere around £2000"

    I just built a system for less than half that and it runs Vista very fast.

    My own desktop is faster in Vista than in XP. I have all the patches, including several direct from the knowledge base that address almost all the problems people have brought up here.

    For me Vista is fast and stable. I use x64 on my desktop and 32bit on my HTPC. I also have a windows home server box I built and file transfers between Vista and the server are fast.

  • Nice "hit piece," Nick! First you generalize about benchmark "purity," then you do a hatchet job on OfficeBench without so much as a shred of technical evidence.

    As the author of the OfficeBench test script I take personal offense at your cavalier handling of what is a very real and pressing issue for enterprise IT organizations.

    You've learned well the lessons of your FUD-mongering masters. Consider this fair warning that we ( will NOT let this issue rest and that you'll be hearing from us again in the near future.

    Randall C. Kennedy, Director

    Devil Mountain Software, Inc.

  • Cant wait for SP1, hope you can broaden the pool of testers soon :-)

  • boe
    9 Posts

    GoodBytes - I assure I did not say the same thing about XP when it was released - I rolled out XP before SP1 for XP even came out because it was acceptable as it was released - same with Windows 2000.   None of them SLOWED any system to a craow.

    1.  Vista doesn't like any technology - my guess is because the programmers weren't familiar with computers and never actually used one before they hired them to code for Vista.

    The test systems had 2 GIG of memory - that didn't help the Vista machine even come close in performance to the XP machines.   I can build a $500, $1500, $3000 machine each one will run faster than an identical system running Vista if use XP instead - no excuse for slow performance - and yes I'm using VERY VERY FAST Gaming video cards so that isn't the issue.

    As for your questions -

    1 Not really still slow.

    2. Vista slows down the machines so much I won't waste time trying to get additional features if the base system is too slow.  

  • Oh calm down Boe, you said the same thing when WinXP was released :)

    1- Vista doesn't like old technology, that is something I found out. If you have a SATA-II with 16MB of cache (buffer) HDD you will see a performance increase over IDE.

    Also you need 2GB of RAM to have a smooth system, a good motherboard, and low latency memory. The problem is computer manufacture like HP and Dell don't like, for some reason (possibly maximize profit) put dose components, unless you pay A LOT.

    If you custom build your computer you can achieve such system with about 1 000-1500$ Canadian before taxes. And with an exellent sound damping case, and a ultra quiet PSU.


    In an other subject...I wonder 2 things...

    1- As we know Windows Vista Business edition is lighter than Windows Ultimate and Home Premium, as it doesn't have Media center, and all that stuff... So I wonder, does Windows startup and load faster?

    2- I know I will probably not get an answer to this as its against Windows EULA, but fun to try out. (NOTE: I already have Windows Ultimate 64-bit). What if a user buys Windows Business edition, but install the Ultimate edition, and copy all (except the activation system files, and files that already exists in the Business edition) THEN, format and install Windows Vista Business, go to safe mode or command line mode, and past all the copied files of Windows Ultimate. Won't he or she get all the ultimate edition features for free?

  • boe
    9 Posts

    The right time to assess Vista's performance would have been a year and a half ago before this atrocity hit the market.   I set up networks for a living so CRAZY ME, I actually really tested an apples to apples performance comparison - identical machines two P4 3GHz and 2 Core 2 2.6GHz - each with identical hard drives, identical network cards, identical memory.   I disabled all bells and whistles on each - Antivirus, firewall, etc etc - updated to the latest drivers.  

    Then I actually TESTED performance - file copies to a server (large files, small files, groups of files), copied files from a server, copied files between two hard drives, and to the same hard drive - performance could easily take up to 8 times longer on Vista - HOW THE HECK DID THAT GET OVERLOOKED?   I still have a couple of machines for testing as they said - must be drivers - blah blah blah - performance is still less than 50% of XP.   Why would anyone want to switch to vista.   I wouldn't buy a new ferrari and then put a speed governor on it that reduces HP by half.  

    Vista is an abomination that cannot be fixed.  

    If I saw a house that was infested with mold, termites, lead paint and asbestos - logic dictates - wiping it out and starting from scratch would be the course of action.   Vista is dead - throw it in the heap with Clippy, Windows ME and BOB.   It's time to cart that horse to a glue factor and start on XP 2009.   Vista was a spectacular failure and unless Ballmer can get that through his fat head - he could single handedly reverse the empire that Bill built.

  • borisnyc
    12 Posts

    well some1 should try some of these tips, hope it will help you to increase speed of you pc with vista:

  • I'm experiencing all the same problems of juliangall.  All that despite a relatively fast machine (AMD 4600+ and 4BG RAM on VISTA Home Premium x64).  The Windows that show "not responding", in particular Windows Photogallery or Live Photogallery generally don't crash completely, but come back to life after about 10/20 seconds.  Also, I find that Photo/Live Gallery often take about 20 seconds or so to actually appear.  Also, I still have Word 2007 crash once in a while when using the envelope function under "mailings".

    I truly hope that these issues will be dealt with as SP1 is rolled out.  These are problems that need to be fixed for sure.

    VISTA has been stable for me since I installed it in April: not one single BSOD! (touch wood).

  • cfold
    1 Posts

    Like other posted comments, hibernate, sleep, file copy and transfer are not microsecond tasks and their performance is completely unacceptable. I'm surprised that Vista was released with such issues because the perception is that you don't care about the end user experience.

    Another good example that I haven't seen in other comments has to do with the control panel. When you open control panel it looks like it is searching for all the components to display....every time! Ridiculously slow.

    If these types of issues are not addressed in SP1 I don't hold out a lot of hope that anything new will be given a warm reception.

  • Windows Vista performs very poor compared side to side on the same machine with Windows XP.

    But the "speed sensation" isn't all, if an user can afford a newer PC (at least 2gb ram, dual core) the final experience in that machine will be very superior with Vista than with XP.

  • tN0
    41 Posts

    When talking about real use experiences and performance it's interesting to compare how Vista and Office 2007 manage to display "eye candy" animations: in Vista many menus fade in so that the user has to wait some milliseconds until the menu appaers. But they do not fade out. In Office 2007 it's vice versa and improves performance: controls appear instandly but they fade out.

    Vista SP1 should resolve this. And by fasten up the minimize and maximize animations of windows, Vista would "feel" much faster.

  • Titan602
    34 Posts

    Preformance for me has been very low lately. My graphics card decided to break its fan and make strange noises.

    The annoying thing is that to get a fast PC, the consumer needs to buy a computer somewhere around £2000. Since the price of electronics and numerous other products is always double everywhere else in the world, hardly anyone can get a good computer. It's like saving up for a car!

  • The performance issues I have with Vista are nothing to do with benchmarks as such. There are some things that just have long delays or result in "program is not responding". Often, the system freezes so badly that windows cannot be dragged. When I start IE7 with six home tabs, it's 10 seconds or more before clicking on the tabs does anything at all. And this is not just the first time of running. And Outlook constantly goes dead while it's waiting for a response from Exchange.

    Then there's the ridiculous wait for the message box when copying or deleting small files. This should be instantaneous on a fast PC.

    And a final moan! When I resume from standby and switch to a different user from the one that initiated the standby, it takes 30s to a minute for the system to become usable.

    All these things seem to point to programs that are coded to wait while things are happening rather than returning control to the user. Why don't Bill G or Steve B have these problems and land like a ton of bricks on the people responsible?