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Windows for the scrap bin?

Some observations

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Mike Hurley18/03/2021 10:13:28
185 forum posts
69 photos

The other day, my wife asked me a straightforward question as a result of me trying to 'demonstrate' something on my Windows 10 laptop. This, by the way is a good spec fairly new piece of kit.

Q - "why is it so slow starting up, I could have looked at this on my 'phone (Android) staright away".

A - waffle on about complex O/S, technical iffs & buts etc, but no sensible answer that satisfied the query.

The thing is it's a perfectly valid question. Yes, I know techies will give 101 reasons why this is the case, I investigated things my self and found no problems anywhere. Day before yesterday I spent 2 hours waiting for it to finish the latest 'windows is configuring updates...' again. OK I could leave it running 24/7 so it will do background updates but that means it needs to be left plugged in etc. Not many people do that I think. Over the last couple of weeks it seems to be updating every 5 minutes and this is generally becoming a pain as its usually inconvenient when I switch back on or restart and find - again - I can't use it as 'windows is configuring updates...'.

I just wonder if this type of OS is just becoming outdated and too top heavy. I know phones cannot easily run all the more complex apps like CAD or graphics heavy stuff, but for general use is it perhaps getting past it's sell-by date?

Interested to just hear anybody else's overall opinion. I don't want suggestions for 'fixes' as I've guaranteed to have already tried / implemented them with no perceivable difference. I image the 'Apple' brigade will also have a bit of a bias also! Regards

roy entwistle18/03/2021 10:25:29
1407 forum posts

I just updated the latest Windows 10. 1 1/2 hours no problems. PC is a lot faster now as well

Roy

Nicholas Farr18/03/2021 10:34:39
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2985 forum posts
1352 photos

Hi Mike, my main use laptop is always on, unless I go away. However, you may need to go into settings and then into update & security and then select what you want as far as updates and you should be able to schedule a time when you wish for updates to be installed, I normally have them installing them in the wee hours.

Regards Nick.

Gary Wooding18/03/2021 10:39:13
872 forum posts
227 photos

I suspect that the main cause is the startup drive. When an operating system starts up it needs to load lots of code from the startup drive. This takes time, quite a lot of time if the startup drive is a normal hard drive. Hard drives (also known as HDDs) have a disk inside that spins. The speed of reading data from an HDD is limited by the speed at which it spins. If you swapped the HDD for a solid state drive (known as an SSD), you can read data much faster, because it doesn't spin. SSDs are typically 5 to 10x faster than HDDs. When I replaced the HDD with an SSD in my computer, the boot time reduced from about 3 minutes to around 25 seconds!

Smart phones have a startup drive analogous to an SSD, but even then they take a long time to boot - witness how long it takes to do a complete restart.

Gaunless18/03/2021 10:39:48
28 forum posts

Look into Linux. I recommend a 'free' (as in freedom) version like Trisquel. I've been using it happily for years. (and it's free, (as in free beer) too.

I have a former windows PC running well on it, and an Acer Aspire laptop. It isn't full of bloatware like Windows. Plus if you're a tinkerer, you can play with the source code if you like. Runs way faster than Windows, and on older machinery too.

Emgee18/03/2021 10:50:03
2156 forum posts
265 photos

Mike

Because of the problems you describe before going to bed I now use UPDATE & RESTART when updates want to download, if you change settings to Turn Off with no activity for 1 hour all that will happen is your battery will get a full charge, unless like me you are up to use the bathroom in the night when the power can be switched off.

When you switch on the next morning there should be no extended delay in Windows opening, if there is and all caches are cleared as well as temporary files deleted perhaps your anti-virus program or malware program are slowing the computer down, view what's running in Task Manager to check power hungry programs.

Emgee

Russell Eberhardt18/03/2021 10:58:34
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2703 forum posts
86 photos

I agree that Windows updates are a pain. Linux updates in the background while you are using it, in most cases no need to reboot.

I have both Windows and Linux on both my laptop and desktop machines and rarely use Windows - just for Fusion 360. I find Linux is faster, more secure, and more reliable. Give it a go.

Russell (using Linux Mint Cinnamon)

AndrewD18/03/2021 11:03:01
9 forum posts
5 photos

The automatic updates with Windows 10 are indeed annoying. However, since configuring them through the group policy options, I can now choose when to download and install. Just like the good old days.

Steve Skelton 118/03/2021 11:03:24
120 forum posts
3 photos

It really is about the hard disk speed and age of the hard disk - we just bought two new Dell pc's for our office and I specified ssd drives. Our start-up is less than 10 seconds, faster than my S20 Samsung.

Steve

An Other18/03/2021 11:08:19
210 forum posts
1 photos

I think this is a very dangerous subject, to judge by the animosity provoked by previous threads on the relative merits of Windows or Linux.

However, it always seems to me that once a Windows user, always a Windows user, and thus failing to see the merits of a possible change. But of course, what you use is entirely your own decision.

Gary has a good point about a change to an SSD as the boot drive - they can make the boot drive much faster than the old mechanical drives - one disadvantage {maybe} is that they are not usually available in the large sizes of the mechanical drives {yet!}

Another issue which slows machine booting is that all OS's (Windows, Linux, whathaveyou) start background processes during booting, allegedly to improve operating speed. Often some of these processes are unnecessary, so one thing I always do is go into the startup and stop the unwanted processes from starting. I admit you need to know what you are doing, but there is information available online how to do this, if you want to learn more - there are enough people posting on this forum who can answer specific questions as well..

Gaunless also makes a valid point - Linux has been very easy to use for several years now, thanks to the efforts of the developers of Debian, Ubuntu, Mint and others, and its free: you can even try most versions out from a USB stick, without having to install it., and as Gaunless says, LInux nowadays not only supports older computers, but has support for the latest machines, and uses much less space on the disk.

Please note that I make this post in the interests of informing people who may not be aware of alternatives - I have no wish to fire up the usual fanatics.

I know several people who eventually gave Linux a try, and never went back to Windows.

Mike Hurley18/03/2021 11:17:34
185 forum posts
69 photos

Thanks for the observations chaps

Russell - funnily enough I resurrected an ancient laptop (Acer) that must be 10 years old and possibly steam powered which had Microsoft Vista on it. It worked ok but because of all the security issues due to lack of updates etc I decided to re use it and not worth paying £ to upgrade Windows on such an old m/c I installed Linux Mint (Cinnamon). I used UNIX many years ago on mainframes so was familiar, but well surprised how easy it was to install and use, so many easy-to-use GUI's etc. loads of 'help' and info available on the 'net if you need it.

Steve - I had the option of SSD's when I bought this laptop, but had read a few negative reports about life expectancy (wether or not they were valid or not I can't say in hindsight) so went for HDD instead.

Journeyman18/03/2021 11:30:03
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1033 forum posts
199 photos
Posted by Mike Hurley on 18/03/2021 10:13:28:

Q - "why is it so slow starting up, I could have looked at this on my 'phone (Android) staright away".

Well of course the main reason is that the phone is already powered on and booted up, only the screen is turned off. If you had to boot the phone, Android or Apple, from powered down it would probably be comparable to Windows boot up.

Must admit I prefer Linux and only run Windows 10 so that I can use Alibre, I wish they would port it to Linux but that is unlikely to happen as it uses too many Windows specifics like DirectX and the various .Net addons. Unfortunately Alibre won't run nicely in a virtual machine nor under Wine.

Apple systems OSX, Android, Linux and others are all derived from Unix so have many similarities once you delve under the bonnet. My advice just use what you get on with and works for you. One day someone will invent something completely new but at the moment most systems are tied to outdated hardware and the hardware is tied to outdated software, round and round we gocheeky

John

Dave Halford18/03/2021 11:40:03
1726 forum posts
19 photos

Start up time also depends on the number of actual files rather than short cuts to them that you may have on your front page.

stevetee18/03/2021 11:51:18
142 forum posts
14 photos

When a considerable proportion of items on the news are about hacking events that have taken place recently, for example , the Woodland Trust and Email servers powered by Microsoft, wouldn't you want your operating system to be patched with security updates as often as in neccessary? I would.

Plus 1 vote for putting the C drive at least on SSD.

Having said all that things do seem to be moving over to phones.

 

Edited By stevetee on 18/03/2021 11:54:42

Gerard O'Toole18/03/2021 11:55:14
122 forum posts
10 photos
Posted by Mike Hurley on 18/03/2021 10:13:28:

...g on my Windows 10 laptop. This, by the way is a good spec fairly new piece of kit.

Q - "why is it so slow starting up, I could have looked at this on my 'phone (Android) staright away".

A - waffle on about complex O/S, technical iffs & buts etc, but no sensible answer that satisfied the query.

. OK I could leave it running 24/7 so it will do background updates...

Are we to assume that the Android phone is left running 24/7 , or do you switch it off after each use?

Fowlers Fury18/03/2021 12:09:04
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385 forum posts
88 photos

You wrote " I don't want suggestions for 'fixes' as I've guaranteed to have already tried / implemented them with no perceivable difference."

Hence you will have done the following:-

Pressed Ctrl + Alt + Del keys together when your pc has finally loaded up.
Then clicked on Task Manager.
Clicked on the tab "Startup" showing you the impact that start up progs are having on your computer's resources.
You will have disabled any progs you don't need at start up.

Also, if you have a 'big' antivirus prog installed e.g. Norton, you will have already checked that it's likely to be examining all running boot processes etc when starting and you will be aware it can delay things appreciably.

Yes, absolutely a SSD (Solid State Drive) will speed things up no end. But you'll be well aware of the numerous Windows "gotchers!" in transferring your operating system from a HDD to a SSD.

" I just wonder if this type of OS is just becoming outdated and too top heavy."
I don't find it (Win10) "outdated" in any way. Not sure what "top heavy" means but in its current manifestation, it certainly occupies a vast number of gigabytes.

Ian Mellors18/03/2021 12:38:17
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64 forum posts
16 photos
Posted by Gary Wooding on 18/03/2021 10:39:13:

I suspect that the main cause is the startup drive. When an operating system starts up it needs to load lots of code from the startup drive. This takes time, quite a lot of time if the startup drive is a normal hard drive. Hard drives (also known as HDDs) have a disk inside that spins. The speed of reading data from an HDD is limited by the speed at which it spins. If you swapped the HDD for a solid state drive (known as an SSD), you can read data much faster, because it doesn't spin. SSDs are typically 5 to 10x faster than HDDs. When I replaced the HDD with an SSD in my computer, the boot time reduced from about 3 minutes to around 25 seconds!

Smart phones have a startup drive analogous to an SSD, but even then they take a long time to boot - witness how long it takes to do a complete restart.

Agreed, I bought SWMBO a new second hand laptop for Christmas, made sure it had an SSD in it. It boots up from cold in 20s, that's logged in and everything.

Swarf, Mostly!18/03/2021 13:17:49
606 forum posts
62 photos

Hi there, all,

Regarding solid state drives, I read somewhere recently a caution that Windows 10 performs drive defragmentation in the background.

It is my understanding (always prepared to be corrected) that defragmentation and the internal housekeeping of flash memory (including solid state drives) don't get on!

I know that there has been some anxious debate regarding the possible damage to flash devices resulting from the use of repetitive random string over-writing type of 'wiping' software.

By the way: we all know what we mean but the term 'solid state hard drive' is manna for the pedantic. The alternative description, 'non-volatile store' might be better.

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

Ady118/03/2021 13:29:42
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4726 forum posts
714 photos

I got nothing but garbage adverts and useless returns on my phone if I tried a netsearch

Gave up on it and use a Win 8 tablet nowadays, far simpler

Not having fingertips like the end of a ball point pen didn't help either

Edited By Ady1 on 18/03/2021 13:41:20

Vic18/03/2021 14:07:47
2912 forum posts
8 photos

After buying my first iPad I was hooked on using a tablet. We still have a desktop for some jobs but it doesn’t get used nearly as much now. Some of the top end iPads are billed as laptop replacements and I’m not surprised. Battery life in particular is very good.

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