I have been using Windows since 3.1 RRS feed

  • Question


    And vista is pretty much the best way to lose loyal customers like me.


    On my laptop, Vista install is consuming 14 GB of disk space. 1.5 GB for Office local caching on C:


    What is going on here? I lose 16 GB on my primary disk to the OS install? Who came up with the brilliant odea of WinSxS???? Yeah! avoid compatibility problems by installing alll known versions of every single file and yes, I forgot about the lost ability to uninstalll apps I dont need ... Windows Mail, Calendar, SyncCenter, Tablet PC, more and more stuff I dont need or use. And every time I install an update, all those installs are cached as well. All the install packages of additional apps like DiskKeeper, messenger are also locally cached.


    What happened? Did Microsoft just fire all the really brilliant developers and hire a bunch of rookies just for Vista? I was very very patient with Vista since 1 year but I really dont see what is the appeal in this? Windows XP was a much better platform. I wish I never upgraded.



    ugh! yuck! blah!


    1) Slow

    2) Bloated and consumes more and more disk space each week

    3) Slow

    4) irritating

    5) veyr buggy

    6) slow

    Sunday, March 9, 2008 9:14 AM

All replies

  • First of all, no the vista team was mostly run by old farts at M$ not rookies.
    Secondly, yes it has alot of stuff enabled by default but this is to avoid compatibilty problems. It could be easily solved by asking a few questions during installation but M$ doesn't do this for some reason. You can do it all manually though pretty easily.
    Thirdly, updates ect are not "cached" the only thing that is kept is the actually update and the uninstaller. An update is the equal of a program if you didn't know. You can take those programs off btw. It is your choice to keep installers programs or not. Vista (nor xp for that matter) deleted them by default. You can put them in a temporary folder but it is easier to just delete the installer manually after using it.
    Fourth, You can reduce the size of vista installion easily with vLite http://www.vlite.net/

    1)Upgrade to 2GB ram min. (very cheap nowdays)
    2)delete what you don't need and stop downloading things
    3)revert to 1
    4)read a book or guide on vista
    5)well... yes but its getting better
    6)so are you, you listed this three times and are clearly slow yourself

    Still having problems, try Linux, it's free.
    Thursday, March 20, 2008 9:45 PM

    I have been using 'Windows' since first release of DOSSmile. I have been a hold back re: XP vs. Vista. I have quite a few systems on a wireless LAN (kids and many systems are job specific). Purchased my first PC w/ Vista. Dual Core, 2GB, Vista Home Ultimate. After installing SP1, system runs very smooth and relative fast thus far. I just set up this Laptop for dual boot and XP does run faster, however this is something everyone knows. This system was 'cheap'! An Acer. 250GB Sata, 2GB. 1.8 Dual Core, 15.4 inch crystalbrite screen, DVD everything drive (dual layer ect ect) and all for about 500 bucks. 


    If anyone complains about size of install, make sure you but a system w/ enough disk space. Unfortunately, MS is shoving this OS down our throat with XP sales to stop June 30th. I am still holding out hope for an OS/2 comeback  ha!.


    I am still tweaking Vista. It got a really bad rap for they realized it and it was full of holes. They are doing (finally) a decent job of plugging (SP1 for example). I don't see corporate America (big/medium) companies converting to Vista for at LEAST 2 years.





    Saturday, March 29, 2008 5:39 AM
  • Okay maybe some background on the root of the problem would help.

    Windows XP (and Windows 2000) used a fast and great mechanism called Hotfix Installer (Update.exe) to install updates. Updates installed in very little time. If you wanted to further reduce update times on Windows XP, you could just temporarily stop the System Restore service and updates would install at crazy speeds. Note that this is not recommended for novice users who don't know advanced recovery methods, as some updates can sometimes cause your system to stop booting so you cannot even uninstall them. The method the Hotfix Installer used was simple, it just installed a new version of files to be updated at %windir%\system32 and %windir%\system32\dllcache (the Windows File Protection cache). For files that were in use, a restart copied them from dllcache to the system32 folder. This is simple file-based servicing. The hotfix installer (Update.exe) also supported various command line switches like /nobackup which means not to backup files it patches. Again, this is not recommended for novice users as some updates can screw your system even after the comprehensive testing Microsoft does before releasing them. But if you won't be uninstalling any updates (usually one only requires uninstalling updates if they cause problems), you could save a ton of disk space by not backing up the files it patched. The Hotfix Installer backed up files to C:\Windows\$Uninstall$KBxxxxxx folders so even if you did back up the files at install time, they could be safely deleted after a few days if no stability issues were found after using Windows with the newest updates applied. Update.exe also supported the very important and convenient ability to slipstream a service pack or update into the original Windows setup files using the /s switch.    


    When Microsoft was developing Windows Vista, they realized that components had gotten too many interdepencies on each other and to service each file reliably without breaking another component that relied on it, Microsoft introduced what they called as Component Based Servicing (CBS). You can read all about it in a much more technical way at The Servicing Guy's blog. What CBS does basically is it installs all files of the entire operating system, including all languages into C:\Windows\WinSxS and then it hard-links files from there to C:\Windows\system32. This has the benefit of not having to insert the OS disc to add or remove any components, and some other advantages as well like offline servicing of a Windows Vista or Windows 7 image. But the design introduces a major disadvantage of taking up a lot of hard disk space. Whenever an update is installed, it no longer installs it to C:\Windows\system32 and C:\Windows\system32\dllcache like Windows XP's hotfix installer (Update.exe) did. Instead, it updates the files in C:\Windows\WinSxS. Now, Windows keeps multiple copies of the same file but with different version in WinSxS if it is used by more than one Windows component. The higher the number of components, that many number of times the file exists in C:\Windows\WinSxS. When a Windows Vista update (.MSU) is installed, the components get updated, each and every one, instead of the files and the worst part is it still maintains the older superseded previous versions of components in WinSxS so the user would be able to uninstall updates. Microsoft does say that some sort of "scavenging" or deleting older copies of components takes place but is scarce on the details. The scavenging seems to take place automatically at certain intervals in Windows 7 but not in Windows Vista. In Windows Vista, you have to add or remove any Windows component for the scavenging to take place. And Microsoft says the scavenging will free up some disk space but in practice, on my system, I see my free disk space only decreasing on Vista as I remove or add any component. Windows does not give the user an option to not backup the earlier versions of components like Windows XP's /nobackup switch in Hotfix Installer did. As as you install more and more updates on your system, they will take more and more disk space. This is one of the primary reasons Windows Vista and Windows 7 are so bloated. Another reason for them being so bloated is the DriverStore that these OSes store. All drivers that are shipped with the OS and the OEM ones which you download and which are installed for a particular system are staged in C:\Windows\System32\DriverStore. But let's not go there for now.


    Now, an important thing to note is that the size of the WinSxS folder is not what Explorer or the dir command report, it is far less but is misreported by Explorer because it counts the hard links more than once when calculating size. That does not mean, the size of WinSxS is not causing real-world disk space problems on numerous Windows Vista/7 systems in use today. Microsoft's ingenious recommendation to this problem of ever growing disk consumption is to install fewer updates to keep the size of the servicing store under control. Of course, users cannot deny installing security updates and leave their system open to security holes. What they can do is install less optional updates, the ones that Microsoft releases on the fourth Tuesday of every month and also install less of the hotfixes that are available by request from a Knowledge Base article. In short, you have to trade the number of bugs fixed in the OS by installing hotfixes at the cost of enormous amounts of disk space. The whole servicing stack is a total downgrade to Windows XP's update.exe method. It causes heavy disk thrashing and slow logoffs/logons while Windows configures these updates at the Welcome Screen. Many systems are unable to boot because of failed updates. Another disadvantage of the "new" servicing stack (and the redesigned Setup mechanism of Windows Vista) is the inability to do a true slipstream of service packs and hotfixes.
    The time it takes to actually install these hotfixes online compared to Windows XP is also completely unacceptable. When you start installing an MSU update, it spends a lot of time determining whether the update applies to your system. Then, the update itself takes much longer to install compared to Windows XP's Update.exe (hours instead of minutes if you are installing dozens of updates through a script). Finally, that post-installation process ("Configuring updates... Do not turn off your computer") takes several minutes before shut down followed by a second post-installation process (configuration) upon restart before logon that also takes also several minutes and thrashes the disk.


    I can install the entire SP3 for Windows XP in about 10 minutes after downloading the full installer. I can also install a slipstreamed-with-SP3 copy of Windows XP is about 45 minutes on a modern fast PC. In contrast, Windows Vista or Windows 7 do install relatively quickly (in just about 15-20 minutes) on a modern PC but installing the service packs and updates takes more time than anything on XP did. Not only can service packs not be slipstreamed, but Vista Service Packs are not even cumulative, which means if you clean install Windows Vista today, you have to install SP1 first which takes about 90 minutes, then SP2 which takes less time, then all the post-SP2 updates which do take hours to install. If you really HAVE to use Windows 7 or Windows Vista, you are stuck with this slow update non-sense as Microsoft does not even acknowledge that there is any slowdown or loss of functionality in the new servicing mechanism. The fact remains: MSU updates are slow as **** and take too much time and as Windows 7/Vista get older and Microsoft stops producing service packs, a clean install is going to take longer and longer to bring it up-to-date with all patches installed. Is is worth wasting your time on an OS whose servicing mechanism Microsoft completely screwed up? I once again recommend you read more about the servicing stack and how it operates at The Servicing Guy's blog:http://blogs.technet.com/b/joscon/. To fix this messed up servicing stack, Microsoft also offers a tool called CheckSUR for your system if it finds “inconsistencies in the servicing store”.


    Microsoft's Windows Vista and Windows 7 products are not engineered with disk space in mind. It causes a problem, especially for SSDs which are still low capacity and very expensive. The only hope is that Microsoft again completely redesigns this servicing mechanism in a future Windows release so it would not cause this growing disk space consumption issue, speed up installation of updates by an order of magnitude, not slow down logon and logoff, not prevent systems becoming unusable because of failed updates being stuck at a particular stage and allow true slipstreaming.
    Microsoft's response to this is vague - they simply state "Windows 7's servicing is more reliable than Windows XP" but they cannot acknowledge it is a million times slower and still unreliable...slow to the point of being unusable and sometimes leaving systems in an unbootable damaged state. Of course they know all this too but can't admit it since it makes their latest OSes look poor. Moving from a very simple and fast update mechanism that worked to a complex one that requires endless “configuring” and repair through CheckSUR is a product engineering defect.

    Take a look at servicing-related complaints in Microsoft's own forums:

    1. Very slow install of updates to Windows 7
    2. Windows 7 - Updates are very slow
    3. Windows 7 Ultimate, it takes long time configuring updates
    4. "Preparing To Configure Windows. Please Do Not Turn Off Your Computer"
    5. Very slow update install at shutdown (Windows 7 Home Premium)
    6. Why does my computer run so slow when installing updates?
    7. Every time the computer is shut down, it always says installing update do not turn off your computer
    8. Computer is working slow and wants to do windows updates all the time
    9. Windows 7 Update install time taking a very long time
    10. Windows wants to install 6 updates every time I log off or put the computer in sleep mode
    11. Problem In Configuring Windows Updates at the time of Startup
    12. Computer really slow after latest updates
    13. Windows hangs up in "configuring updates"
    14. Why can't windows 7 install updates?
    15. Every time computer is shut down, receive Installing updates, do not shut off....
    16. How long does it take for the Windows 7 Home Premium updates take?
    17. Windows 7 "Installing Update 2 of 2" for 12 hours now
    18. Updates causes endless reboots
    19. Updates stuck installing for over 24 hrs. Computer does not boot
    20. Cannot load Windows 7 after installing 2 critical updates

    A proper solution to this problem would be to completely re-engineer and rewrite the servicing mechanism so it operates with the speed, reliability and pain-free operation of the XP servicing mechanism.

    I don't see this situation improving in Windows 8 either. Good luck with your Windows tablet taking hours to install service packs and updates. Now, do iPads take that long to install updates?

    So truth is Microsoft understated the real system requirements to keep a Windows 7/Vista system running. System requirements at install time may be 15 GB of free disk space but over time, this number increases to alarming levels as you install more service packs and post SP-updates. You can find out the real size of the WinSxS folder using a tool like cttruesize (ctts.exe) (download it from http://www.heise.de/software/download/cttruesize/50272 and run ctts -la -a -l C:\Windows to find the correct size minus the hard links which MS says causes Explorer to misreport the WinSxS folder size but the fact remains that even with the correctly calculated size of WinSxS, the disk space requirements of Windows 7 to keep it updated are unacceptable, especially for people's SSDs which are running out of disk space!

    • Proposed as answer by xpclient Sunday, March 25, 2012 12:08 PM
    Sunday, March 25, 2012 12:08 PM