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§ "Vista is bloated" is an understatement

Windows Vista is bloated.

No, I mean, it's bloated. Really bloated. Massively waterlogged needs-immediate-surgery bloated.

My current Windows XP SP2 installation takes 6GB. Of that, about 4GB of it is the fully patched XP installation itself, with the other ~2GB including an installation of Visual Studio 2005 SP1 and some miscellaneous tools such as OpenOffice. Therefore, I figured that devoting 15GB of my 120GB laptop hard drive to a Vista x64 system drive would be more than adequate, given a 2.5x multiplier. I installed Vista x64, ran Windows Update, and let it do its thing, which took a loooong time... only to find out that I was running low on disk space. Yes, I know about the hard links in the Windows folder blah blah blah, but this was an actual popup warning from Explorer itself and the drive did actually have less than 500MB free.

Let me repeat that again: I had a Vista x64 installation, with NO applications installed on it, that was running out of disk space just patching. And we're not even talking about Vista SP1 -- this is pre-SP1 patching. Vista SP1 says requires a minimum of 5GB to install, which is a bit remarkable given that it's a 700MB patch... and filling an NTFS drive to the brim is not a good idea.

I dug around a bit on the C: drive and managed to do a couple of things to free up disk space -- got rid of the hiberfil.sys file, moved the page file onto another partition, nuked all volume shadow copies, etc. In the end, I still only ended up with about 5GB of space free, with over 9GB being taken up in the Windows directory, of which about 5GB is in WinSXS (which is basically the new DLL cesspool). And I still don't have any applications installed. None. Perhaps I should change the boot entry to read Windows Vista Capable, since it's good for nothing.

Now, I conceded a long time ago that having Windows nicely cordoned off in a small little partition on the side, like I used to do in the Windows 95/98 days, doesn't work anymore. There's too much software that forcibly installs on the C: drive to make this work, and as a result I now allocate a beefier system partition and put all of my applications on it as well. Microsoft's current trend of eating gobs of disk space for patching, installing, and general garbage is making this hard, though. I really hate the "one big partition" setup, where all of your data and system files are mixed together, everything fragments like crazy, all of your useful data is three subdirectories down, and you lose everything if the one filesystem dies. Yet Microsoft seems absolutely determined to burn more and more disk space on absurd uses, such as 10% for the Windows Installer baseline cache, 15% for System Restore, and so on. Note that these are percentages, so if you get a bigger disk, they'll just use more by default. And since I work on a video processing application, I kinda need space for other things....

Certain people on the Windows team clearly need to be smacked upside the head with regard to resource usage. Perhaps the Windows team should talk to the Office team, which does a better job of keeping install footprint down and actually lets you skip components during install. It's not just x64, because not everything is duplicated between x86 and x64, and I don't remember XP x64 being this bloated. It wouldn't be so bad except that the amount of disk space being used seems to be outstripping the rate at which I'm getting bigger hard drives. I had a 120GB drive in my Inspiron 9300, and when I configured my current Latitude D830, the biggest hard disk that Dell offered was a 160GB (the 200GB+ drives were only on the Inspiron line, which I passed on for other reasons). With the current trend of leaning back toward more compact and efficient systems, we're actually starting to see devices with less storage space. I was actually considering getting an Asus Eee, which only has anywhere from between 4GB to 24GB of storage, depending on how much you expand/hack/solder to it. Just getting an XP installation to fit is a challenge at that rate, much less Vista.

At the moment, I'm installing Vista SP1 anyway, to see how it fares. The beta SP1 required something like 7GB for x86 and 12GB for x64; the RTM version requires a bit less and seems to be progressing so far. I'm not overly concerned about it blowing up, since all of my important data is still on the old laptop. If it fails, though, I'll probably try using vLite to slipstream SP1 -- I already did that for VS2005 SP1, since it too takes something like 2GB extra if you install it normally, and I could strip more junk that way. Regardless, I refuse to devote something like a quarter of my hard drive to Vista... that's outrageous.


Comments posted:

Wait, doesn't Vista do more than XP?

Sarcasm aside, I’m trying to remember what size HDD I had when I first installed XP. I’m pretty sure it was a 40GB Seagate “Cheetah” drive—so around 15-20% was devoted to the OS even in those days.

For doing a true bloat check on your hardware, if you don’t feel like installing XP to see a difference, try installing Ubuntu in a virtual disk using Wubi (

Trimbo (link) - 13 04 08 - 23:17

When you say bloat check, you mean check as in test, or check as in Hockey-style? :)

I suspect that a few too many teams hitched a ride on Windows Vista to get their stuff pushed out to desktops, like .NET Framework 3.0. In the past, you could omit optional install components to save on disk space, but that was gradually reduced until XP, when you couldn't omit anything during installation. IIRC, I used to install Windows 95 in about 40MB, 98 in about 100MB, and Windows 2000 in ~250MB. I guess that would have made a nice 2.5x curve except that XP jumped to ~1.1GB and Vista to 4GB+, giving us now a 4x curve. At this rate I expect Windows 7 to take 16GB to install and 60GB to patch.

It's a bit of a tough decision, actually. For ISVs, having a lot of modules come with the OS is convenient, but it kinda sucks for users. As I implied above, this wouldn't have been much of an issue given the growth of storage on desktops, except for the shift to laptops and ultra-portables.

Phaeron - 14 04 08 - 00:08

An entire column about Vista and not a single personal opinion of the OS's front end in sight! Blasphemy!! We demand to know your opinion on the rest of Vista so you may help fuel the fires of religious OS wars everywhere.

checkers - 14 04 08 - 06:17

Folks, there are so many improvements smaller than 1kb at the very basic OS that are NOT done eversince. Thus i can really see only one reason of why how this a-million-developers-&-a-millon-marketing-assholes - monopol can survive and survive and survive: stupor homini.

Just one Example: Copy some media over boundaries of partitions. Wait for the "Copying..."-Dialog. Drag'n'drop some more you find worth copying. See the second Dialog. There's no intelligence at all. They are gemini of executing OS-code, and they are fighting for HD-performance. Stupid as a Bush.

blausand (link) - 14 04 08 - 06:44

Microsoft folks get in trouble (bloat) when they rip ideas off Macintosh (aero, shadow copies...) and can't implement them properly. :)

I don't own a Mac.


Grof Luigi - 14 04 08 - 10:51

Please, no discussions on features copied from each other.

I have been using Vista x86 and x64 for over a year now, here are a few things that bugged me :
# No more direct access to enable/disable hibernation... this get ugly when you have a lot of RAM.
# Page file is automatically on auto-size which will fragment over time and it usually takes about 1.5 times your RAM too.
# Indexing service is still a pain and doesn't get any improvement in my opinion.
# Aero on the other side is not using RAM (around 25MB), unless you have a video card that doesn't have it's own memory (ie.: most laptops). At least you can deactivate it quite easily.
# Before SP1, copying files were painful and lag the computer. After SP1, a lot better, but still have it when copying from certain media (CD/DVD/etc).

Beside those 'helpful features', the main problems reside in the drivers. MOSTLY for x64...
On the x64 version, it takes a lot of RAM compared to the x86.
Now that I have 4GB of RAM, it does run smoother, but the page file is now 6GB and 4GB for hibernate... yay 10GB lost!

Simbou - 14 04 08 - 11:39

Vista bloat especially annoys when you take disk images regularly because every mb on disk ist duplicated over and over again. the first time i saw the size of winsxs in treesize i was startled.

Tobias Rieper - 14 04 08 - 12:17

>I suspect that a few too many teams hitched a ride on Windows Vista to get their stuff pushed out to desktops, like .NET Framework 3.0.
Too many teams are hitching a ride on process creation as well:
>Yet Microsoft seems absolutely determined to burn more and more disk space on absurd uses, such as 10% for the Windows Installer baseline cache, 15% for System Restore, and so on. Note that these are percentages, so if you get a bigger disk, they'll just use more by default.
Again, I think too many teams want to take some disk space, not realizing that it eventually adds up to 100%.
>At this rate I expect Windows 7 to take 16GB to install and 60GB to patch.
If not for the fact that it will be componentized. Windows Server 2008 already take some steps towards that.

Yuhong Bao - 14 04 08 - 12:35

Well, I could bitch about Vista's UI, except that my UI sucks too... and I don't have the excuse of localization.

The file copy issue is an interesting one. From what I gather, Microsoft tried to optimize disk I/O by using asynchronous I/O with unbuffered writes, in order to increase disk utilization and reduce seeks, which occur often with the old memory mapped scheme and destroy throughput. VirtualDub's been doing this for a while and it's the reason that it can sometimes do a direct stream copy operation faster than Explorer can copy the file. The gotchas are that you can seriously impact the performance of the rest of the system by doing this and it can also be a loss when the buffering is excessive or you're copying between different drives. I wish they had attempted to fix this at the kernel level instead of the API level, because the real problem is the writebacks from the cache manager and VM interfering with the read due to insufficient batching and scheduling. I can understand why they didn't do this, however, given the low level at which all of this occurs, and the number of kernel changes that were already done.

I'm wholly unimpressed with Aero Glass and the DWM. It adds noticeable lag to the system, and for all of the limitations and resources it takes, it actually reduces how much you can do from native code. The few interesting paths that have been added are only available to managed code via WPF, which has its own problems. Entire new driver model, loss of 2D hardware acceleration, and additional 3D load, and there isn't even an API to scale a window besides retrieving a postage stamp sized thumbnail. In my case it even ADDED flicker to my application, despite being a composited rendering model. Both MacOS X and Linux window managers do far more impressive (and useful) things with 3D hardware.

I think the most disappointing thing for me is that part of me wants to like Vista, because there are a lot of interesting APIs and kernel features that really do improve system performance and make it easier to write for Windows... how long have we been waiting for condition variables and symlinks? The performance monitor is really cool, too... in some ways better than FileMon. Yet, despite having tried it a few times, I keep going back to XP. It's pretty much the same thing I did with Visual Studio .NET 2002/2003, which is why it looks like I'll probably never commit to Vista and just use it for testing and 64-bit development until Windows 7 at least is out.

Phaeron - 15 04 08 - 01:56

I agree for the all above - as a long-time PC user since times of DOS I guess most operating systems gets bloated over time - yes this affects mostly Windows line, but also other, including Linux - well this should be really small and fast, at least in theory, but just try get some major distro made for average PC user and try to customize your install - so called "dependency hell" will eat a few gigabytes as well.
However Linux has one big advantage - if you don't like something, you can always get the sources and make it better - and people do so! Why's Debian used as a base for so many distros? It's clever and can be drastically cut in size. Dynebolic? Linux music studio on single PC that will run as well on 4GHz P4 as well as on 350MHz PII.
What annoys me is that Microsoft is rippng stuff from other OSes since the very beginnig however what they rip is always implemented in their own bloated way. History of computer science will tell you headache-making stories. Well my point is that I think this whole bloating thing is good afterall - years are passing by, people (users) are getting more educated and smarter on computers and that this will change the market.
For example: I'm getting a laptop in a next few months - if MS will kindly allow me to install/buy XP - I'll do so, I'm not going to pay half price or more of the laptop price itself for the Vista, not mentioning junking new HDD. Well, VirtualDub runs under Wine like a charm afterall :P

CJ_HNO (link) - 15 04 08 - 06:09

"I once saw the following requirements: 'Windows XP or better'. So I installed Linux."

Vista made this jibe real, oh my. Joke aside, and without saying who copied who, when you see an Athlon 1400 MHz, Geforce2/MX400 with 64 Mb of VRAM and 384 Mb of SD-RAM (you know, the computer turned file server you keep in your garage) handling 3D desktop compositing more smoothly than Vista does when fed a dual core 2 GHz CPU, a Geforce 6600 with 256 Mb of VRAM and 2 Gb of dual channel DDR2...


Mitch 74 (link) - 15 04 08 - 06:26

Hi Avery and everyone reading this thread,

I think the guy who wrote these articles hit the nail RIGHT on the head - what do you think ?


Calvin (link) - 15 04 08 - 08:17

Actually, the most annoying bloat to me are VisualStudio Service Packs. They unpack and copy themselves about 4 times onto the system partition and then finally start installing. Since I still believed in separating the OS from the Applications back then, that means the only way I can ever install them is by eliminating two of the extra copies to the system partition by downloading manually, extracting manually and then starting installing.
I just wished they could finally clean up that bloated mess that the Windows Installer is...

Reimar - 15 04 08 - 10:08

"There's too much software that forcibly installs on the C: drive to make this work, and as a result I now allocate a beefier system partition and put all of my applications on it as well."
In XP the C:\Program Files folder can still be completely moved after install to another drive.
First copy the folder to the dive you want.
Then for convenience a tool is recomended that can batch rename registry entries (eg. registry toolkit).
Search for c:\progra and replace it eg. d:\Progra and c?\Progra with eg. d?\Progra (and C:\PROGRA when using case sensitive). Replace Data, values and keys (and different data types).
Then C:\Program Files can safely be deleted or denied all permission.
With 3.5GByte my C drive is fairly big enough containing only the system and some profile data.
This should only be done after a fresh install. Doing something wrong here can seriously damage your windows installation.

Guest - 15 04 08 - 15:43

Most of the DRM doesn't bother me -- I don't care if the protected media path goes down, because I don't care about protected media and I can opt out by simply not playing any. I do care about the signed driver requirement for x64, which I consider an outrageous lockout. Microsoft believes that there's something magical about drivers written by someone who coughed up the money for a Verisign certificate versus one who doesn't. I'd trust a driver for RivaTuner or TrueCrypt way more than one that comes with some random cheapo hardware at the local store (although, fortunately, the makers of both of these have found ways to sign their x64 drivers).

I think the main thing that frustrates me about Vista is that it's slower, breaks a lot of APIs and software, and yet there's so little I get out of it. What's the big advantage that I get over Windows XP? Symlinks that don't work over a network connection?

Do what I do -- slipstream it into the base install and then install VS2005 SP1 from scratch. Lately Microsoft only releases one service pack for Visual Studio anyway, so who cares if you might have to reinstall to install another one....

There's a better solution: just move the folder and install a junction (NTFS directory symlink). Works like a charm for Documents and Settings, although you need to do it off of another installation to do this -- I use the Command Prompt off a Vista install disc to do this. The problem with Program Files is that you're assuming everything goes in there. It doesn't. Windows Installer puts all of its crap in C:\Windows\Installer, more crap goes into C:\Windows\WinSXS, I've caught Microsoft help installers putting nearly a gigabyte of stuff in Documents and Settings\All Users, etc. And there's some harebrained MS installer that chooses random drives for temp folders, so I keep having to clean off folders like Office10 off the root of my data and temp drives.

Phaeron - 16 04 08 - 00:23

"Most of the DRM doesn’t bother me—I don’t care if the protected media path goes down, because I don’t care about protected media and I can opt out by simply not playing any."
On the other hand, there will be protected processes even if you don't play any.
"Microsoft believes that there’s something magical about drivers written by someone who coughed up the money for a Verisign certificate versus one who doesn’t."
No they don't. The certificate is much harder to fake, while anyone can fake the driver version info.
"I’d trust a driver for RivaTuner or TrueCrypt way more than one that comes with some random cheapo hardware at the local store"
And for good reason, the driver for the random cheapo hardware often cut corners, like not supporting PAE or having a 64-bit vation.

Yuhong Bao - 16 04 08 - 02:41

I like it:
- from the coder's point of view (namely .pcode static exceptions, better memory management, unified fnc calling (great e.g. for the stack walking), etc...)
- from the security p.o.w (no shatter attacks, UAC, signed drivers, even the Patch guard stuff...)

I hate it for:
- broken file copying
- overbloating, e.g. rigid installation (cannot select what I need to install only...)
- slower performance (vs. XP)
- undesirable restrictions (DRM - when active, it can influence even the "non Premium" running processes, protected processes - cannot extract e.g. the PEB info, etc...)
- and the fact, than Microsoft put Hollywood studios interests higher than the Windows users interests! (skipped lot of functionality in Vista in advance for the DRM stuff, it is like someone tries to sell me a thing I do not need at all!!!)

xm - 16 04 08 - 11:01

Just how bored were you to write up this dross, Phaeron? Here are the recommended req from MS official site:

Home Basic: 20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
Other Editions: 40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space

And you bitch like you've discovered something or weren't expecting it?

I am disappointed. However much Vista may suck, you really don't get to feel hurt about something you were told ahead of time, and decided to go ahead with anyway. If nothing else Vista lived up to its space usage requirements.

Having said that, I'm sticking with XP, since Nvidia/Dlink doesn't even make drivers for most of my hardware anymore, let alone Vista drivers.

keije - 16 04 08 - 11:28

I don't really get the current Vista bashing.

Some things are better, some things are worse.

Many things are cleaner and more usable. Even if I have to relearn a couple of things.
The bloat is really the only thing that bothers me, really deeply.

Not that I have not been bitten by other quirkiness. Such as :

- The rights system. Explicitly UAC
I have never been so harshly reminded to 'pay my taxes'. Soo many things have been absolutely easy when all users were admins.
Is this bad? YEAH, I hate Vista for that, but it makes us all better programmers ... at least I hope for that.

- The kernel changes that make you stumble the first time.
e.g. Kernel debug output is not written to a (remote?) debugger, because now we should use debug-levels.
This is easily circumvented, but nevertheless did eat time from us.
$%§/ bcdedit, and its problems ...

- The driver signing.
Why did this go into the kernel without fast and easy to use facilities.
I do understand the point behind this change, but did the curve have to be so hard. And why do we have to pay for a way into the kernel?
There are too many paths which are not possible (or too expensive) to take from the user mode.
On the other hand, this might be a 'good' step in the direction to better security.
Wait and see ...

- The USB stack.
Why did Microsoft fix a crash in their USB-stack in Vista, which does currently exist in WinXP?
That cost me at least 2 days of tracing it to its roots, and then creating a way around ...

Maybe they released it a bit to soon, for so many changes in it. But I don't currently see a really bad point in Vista.
- Copying never bugged me enough
- I have adapted to soo many changes that the UI changes don't bug me enough
- The bloat may bug me on a professional level, but my computers are never too out of date, so that the 20GB of my HD aren't really a dent. Even the memory bloat does not really bug me.
- UAC is turned off on my test machine ... but on my home computer it is not a problem. When do I have to change a setting, install something completely new?

Maybe I'm young enough to get over the changes, and reading Raymond Chens-Blog has told me enough about the horrors (hopefully only) other programmers do, so that I can get over many of the downsides.

The only real gripe I have, is that I don't shell out money to buy a boxed Vista to upgrade my systems.
There are not many really new things to discover and many more which I can't use in my software, because XP is here to stay for at least a couple of years.

PS: The DRM stuff has not yet shown its 'ugly' head for me, but we have to accept that there are people who want to shut the rear-door to their IP. I don't agree with them, but I have to accept it.

### - 16 04 08 - 13:46

In particular, those comparing Vista to Me (which seems to be very commonly done) should know that I don't consider even Me that bad.

Yuhong Bao - 16 04 08 - 18:50

Quite bored, actually -- from several hours of watching Vista install and patch.

Would you mind explaining how anything would have been different if I had used a 40GB partition with 25GB of non-Windows data on it, or how saying that 15GB is needed beforehand eliminates the point that Vista takes at least four times more space than its predecessor? I'm not complaining about the fact that Vista doesn't work well in a 15GB partition so much that it needs that much to begin with.

I will say, however, that in the end, Vista SP1 did install without incident... so clearly the service pack team did a good job of reducing the disk space requirements (or I lucked out).

The best case scenario would be that Vista is just a rough patch and everything gets refined in Windows 7 -- which is actually a decent possibility. The worst case scenarios are either that Microsoft gives up and starts over again, or makes the bad parts worse (more DRM, harsher security, lower appcompat, more valuable features dropped).

Phaeron - 17 04 08 - 00:57

Vista is junk - PLAIN AND SIMPLE. Almost as bad as Millennium.

XP Pro is the best version M$ ever released.

tekie - 17 04 08 - 01:35

Millennium was a terrible operating system. It was terribly bloated and always gave you grief. It was always sluggish and always crashing.

With that said, at least Vista doesn't crash and THATS ALL I'll give it.

tekie - 17 04 08 - 21:32

I had issues with stability of 64-bit Vista where the same hardware worked perfectly in Windows XP x64. I know for sure my hardware isn't broken (I tested everything) so I blame it on kernel or drivers. But since more than a year has passed since RTM that is unforgivable.

As for bloat, I argued with Larry Osterman about it and I wasn't too successfull as if people working at Microsoft are for some reason refusing to see what they have done:

He called me rude for saying that Vista takes 10x more space than XP SP2 which I even bothered to prove by linking to Microsoft's own information.

Thinking of bloat and various problems, Microsoft has not learned a single thing yet.

They made DLLs but also DLL Hell.
They made .Net to resolve DLL Hell but they made .Net Hell and DLL Hell is still with us.

There is a myriad of such examples. The point is that you don't go about solving the problem with one flawed concept by introducing another flawed concept.

In other words, they should have fixed DLL problems, instead of introducing new ones with .Net and thus leaving us with two flawed concepts.

Finally, all this security mess is revolving around poor code reuse. When you have a copy of broken strcpy() in thousands of executables or a copy of a broken JPEG decoder in dozens of applications then you can simply assume that you are going to spend the rest of your life patching all those instances of broken code.

They claim great code reuse but they don't know what code reuse is because they seem happy when few components of a single application use the same CRT DLL. Proper code reuse would be if all of their 2,000+ system DLLs used the same strcpy(), etc from a single system CRT DLL. Think of how much space would that save and how easier and less intrusive would patching/updating of such a system be.

Furthermore, .Net was meant to solve versioning but it didn't do a damn thing from the user perspective -- you still have to install 1.1, 2.0, 2.0 SP1, 3.0, 3.1, 3.5... where is the end to that mess? Why having version 3.5 is not enough to run all .Net applications? And isn't 2GB+ a bit too much for a runtime?!?

Windows has become a mess of compatibilty hacks, poorly thought out ideas, inconsistency, and productivity killing annoyances. Frankly I do not see a way to fix it except to tear it down to shreds and start anew.

Igor Levicki (link) - 20 04 08 - 22:52

Not to downplay issues in Windows and in Microsoft's development in general, but you need to keep in mind that there is a certain level of abuse that anyone is willing tolerate in comments in their own blog and a limit to the level of criticism that ends up being productive. In this entry I've heaped a lot of abuse on Vista, but in case you haven't noticed, I've been doing it on my own blog and not Larry Osterman's. While I don't think we should let up on pressure to get Microsoft to make their code more efficient, you might want to ease up on individual people a bit -- Larry is a programmer on the multimedia team, not a pinata for everything that is wrong in Windows.

Phaeron - 21 04 08 - 01:20

I know that and at first I just made a general statement without any intent to elaborate but he defended his point of view vigorously so it ended up as discussion. I wouldn't say I was being rude, I was just pointing out the obvious.

Anyway, have you noticed how Larry started to write more about security mostly trying to bash Linux/others such as Adobe while pointing out how Microsoft is doing more than open-source community and other ISVs to fight security issues? I find that a bit disgusting. Michael Howard is even worse evangelist, Larry seems to be picking it up from him. The worst thing is that when you point out some flaw in their reasoning they refuse to accept the facts and just keep "holding the line".

Igor Levicki (link) - 21 04 08 - 09:01

"ou still have to install 1.1, 2.0, 2.0 SP1, 3.0, 3.1, 3.5… where is the end to that mess?"
Generally the .NET Framework 3.5 runtime can run all older .NET apps, and when you install .NET Framework 3.5, .NET 3.0 and 2.0 are also installed.
"He called me rude for saying that Vista takes 10x more space than XP SP2 which I even bothered to prove by linking to Microsoft’s own information."
As I and the author of this article said, it takes less space than that, until you try to patch it.
A system CRT runtime exists, but since development of VC++ is independent from Windows, only apps that comes with Windows can use it.

Yuhong Bao - 22 04 08 - 11:44

Yuhong, 1.1 apps do not work on 2.0. .Net is bloated, the fact that 3.5 installs 3.0 and 2.0 and that each of them requires its own security patches and service packs doesn't make it any better.
I am not sure I understand what you meant to say by "it takes less space than that". Who? Vista? No way. You can strip Windows XP down to 600 MB and still have a fully patched and functional OS. Compare that to 6 GB minimum for Vista and it is still 10x bigger.

Igor Levicki (link) - 27 04 08 - 15:06

"1.1 apps do not work on 2.0. "
Actually, most 1.1 apps should work on 2.0, though not all.
Luckily, there is now a smaller Optimized Client Runtime (OCR) in .NET 3.5 SP1

Yuhong Bao - 18 05 08 - 02:07

This is indeed a valid criticism about Vista. It is a mystery to me that people no longer recognize the bloat in later revisions of Windows NT 6, and have accepted it, and even claim that Seven and Eight are fast to install and load. To be fair, I've not heard that the system was fast to back up, which it most definitely is not.

My XP system currently uses 2.35 GB out of its 3.0 GB system partition (without a swap file). It's been tweaked to not use the DllCache cesspool, and working well. I've since gone through a series of shocks, when a similar configuration, with the system partition generously enlarged to 5 or 8 GB didn't work for other people.

Another misuse of the system drive comes from application software that puts large or numerous data files into Application Data or My Documents. I still firmly believe that the system and essential applications should be isolated from the rest of the data to reduce fragmentation and facilitate backup, but it is becoming harder to implement if the exact application of the computer isn't known, because most 3rd party developers don't subscribe to this model. I'm seeing video game data being written to the user profile, and backups / synced states of attached portable devices, as well as various caches from online multimedia software, like Google Earth, written there.

This problem can be resolved if the Users (Documents and Settings) directory is moved to the D: drive before installation, which can be tricky to achieve. One must ensure that the intended partition is in fact mounted with the chosen drive letter during setup. Basically we then have 3 partitions not counting any data storage: System, Users and Swap.

Program Files on C: can be a problem if the computer user would install large applications like games in whatever directory is offered by default, and then lay blame on the technician when that fails.

Millennium wasn't nearly as terrible. It required about the same amount of junk cleanup as XP: disabling of system file protection, and system restore. Certain parts of the system were noticeably improved, such as IP configuration, where you no longer had to disable/re-enable the network adapter to apply new settings. By the time ME was released, the hidden DOS wasn't such a big issue anymore. I had a ME system running for about a decade on a weak PC. I chose to install it because Win98 Gold failed on it, and I didn't have SE at hand.

j7n - 04 03 14 - 11:48

Edit to my post above:

The 3 GB partition actually has two systems on it, with 500 GB for Windows 2000 with basic drivers and no apps. I intended to use it to fix the main XP system, but never actually used it.

j7n - 04 03 14 - 11:55

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