Why is Microsofts OS so slow??

I don't mean for this to be a rhetorical question, but why is it that you go to your local computer store, excitedly purchase the latest and greatest laptop, only to have it slow to a crawl a few years later? I have found this true of all windows operating systems. I don't know if it is like that on the MAC. It just seems to me like someone (Like Microsoft) could build caching or application management into their OS so that peoples machines are not so slow. I sped mine up a little bit by choosing the simplest screen saver. I also undid some terminate and stay resident applications like Skype. However still my laptop is only 4 years old with 4 gig and it is pure torture to actually try and write an application in my compiler and not have my PC take an excessive amount of time. I really just think Microsoft could raise the bar on making a more proactive OS.

I now have a I-5 Machine at work with 8gig of ram and 500 gig of hard drive space. It also can be slow at times. I now, no longer look forward to buying the latest and fastest processor based machine, because in the end everything just ends up running slow in MS Windows. I can just imagine how many man years are wasted each year because of slow computers. Sad, but true.
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Dave BaldwinConnect With a Mentor Fixer of ProblemsCommented:
I have about 14 Windows XP machines and I have been able to see an interesting aspect of them.  The machines that are the "fastest to use" are not the ones with the fastest CPU but the ones with the least work to do.  This is especially true of the ones that have the fewest programs installed.  

It's not just that there were fewer programs running in the background but also that the Windows 'registry' is smaller on those machines.  That means less data for Windows to search thru when you ask it to do something.  Uninstalling programs doesn't seem to help as much as you would think because a number of programs are not very good at cleaning up their registry entries so Windows is stuck looking thru data that will never be used again.

I don't know that Mac and Linux are all that better because I have never loaded up my Mac and Linux machines with programs like I do my main Windows machines.  They do appear to have fewer things to search thru when you run a program but I don't know that for a fact.
Dan CraciunConnect With a Mentor IT ConsultantCommented:
Assuming you kept your system clean (or you reinstall the OS once a year or so), the problem is not Microsoft.

I have 4-8 years old machines that were speedy while not connected to the Internet.

After putting them online and updating the OS, browsers, office suite, utilities etc, those perfectly usable systems suddenly became slow.

It's the general trend: every new and updated version of a program just assumes it has unlimited RAM and processor resources. Internet browsers and mail clients are the worst. Chrome or IE 11 can easily take 1 GB or more of RAM with a dozen open tabs. Facebook can put an old machine to torture just by browsing it, never mind opening games.

Programmer laziness? No optimization testing? A global conspiracy to force you to upgrade? Take you pick...

The only way I found to keep old machines speedy is to not connect them to internet. That allows for the software that was originally installed to work the same even after years of use.

Of course, that assumes you need to keep Windows. If you're willing to go the Linux route, there are distros that don't force the newest packages on you and work great on old hardware.

Scott ThomsonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Hi There,

I am going to try and make this fairly detailed for you because I really feel that you need to see the incredible amount of variables you have thrown into something to use an analogy "the man gets tired after he runs for a while" for your operating system.

I am going to go through some of the variables for you and see if I can along the way help you understand some of the things that will help you contribute to a slow machine. I will list them as topics and then cover each topic and show you how it can increase/decrease the speed of your machine.

- Ram (Random Access Memory)
- Hard Drive
- Processor
- Graphics Card
- Operating system
- Network
- Internet
- Wireless
- Applications

Ram - (Random access memory) or just "memory"
Ram is used to store applications when you are not using them. when you minimise a window etc a lot of the application becomes stores in ram so your computer does not think about the application as much with the processor or repeatedly spin your hard drive up and down.

The amount of ram you have surely helps but remember RAM also comes in speeds and special configurations. So while you might have 8 GB of ram. if you are only accessing 1 text file then you are not needing 7.999 GB of the remaining ram and therefore it does not make your machine faster. However, if you are using a massive application like video editing software and you have extra RAM it will be very helpful. because without that extra RAM it would need to save and use your hard drive which must spin up and down which can take a few seconds to go back and forth unlike ram.

Alternatively if you have 20GB of DDR 1333 ram or 12GB of 2333 ram.. as long as you do not use the physical amount of ram more than 15gb you would actually be better to get the lower amount with better speed.

Hard Drive - (where your data is saved) ******************************************
Of course everyone knows what a hard drive is, it is your "My documents" and your C:\ where you install applications. But here are a few things you might not think about. Unless you have what is called SSD (Solid State Drive) then your hard drive is actually like a metal CD Rom and needs to spin up and down and have a laser/magnet read the data. "But I have a huge hard drive" you say, "plenty of space" you say.. as hard drives get bigger so does the amount of things we store on them. and in laptops you can have several types

SSD - means like a usb stick it does not read from a spinning disk which saves the drive a lot of time from going up and down and up and down and up and down to read data.

Sata/IDE - most hard drives nowadays would easily be sata but they still spin anyway. reading up and down on the disk like a cd rom.

But what does this mean? when you think in terms of slowness, and how slowness increases over time when you install more applications and download more movies and tv shows. if you have a 1TB drive then its a huge amount of data to look through.. You think "I only started up the internet browser" but what this means is your hard drive just loaded 128 files across 1TB of data going up and down. because the files are not always in perfect 1 - 10 order and most files sit in different locations

-You start iexplorer.exe and then it goes "ok where do I load the window on his screen" and then looks at a registry setting somewhere else on the drive.
-It then thinks "ok now where do I need to look for his homepage to load"
- it then looks to see if the internet has cached google.com on another section of your hard drive
- it then pulls the widow size from your registry to remember if it was maximised or a custom size.

all the while the drive (very quickly) is spinning up and down and up and down..

More files = more time
if you do not often defrag (align these files so windows can access certain types in a better order on the drive) = more time
and when you have 20 - 30 applications installed = millions of files.

So over time the more files you have the slower your machine will go.

SSD on the other hand is much faster because it does not spin and therefore just accesses the data more quickly which can speed up your machine dramatically.

This is quite simple. your processor is how fast your computers brain works. although again the more applications you have installed over time and the more you have running.. the more your computers brain becomes occupied and the less intensely it can work on a single task.

Think of a juggler adding a ball each time. Or then trying to maintain a conversation while concentrating on juggling.

Graphics Card
Does not come into too much play but can become a small factor. The more icons etc you are looking at and the more windows etc will have an effect on how fast they can come up. So hundreds of photos in your photos folder takes both processor and graphics card to make that image appear.

As time goes on you have more icons on desktop/toolbars/ icons and documents

Operating system
Again a fresh windows copy is perfectly installed with minimal files to search through. As time goes on and applications are loaded. Things are running in the background like antivirus etc.. this drastically modifies the original operating system and therefore it will become lsower
Almost always nowadays computers are connected to networks..
Lan Cables
Internet Dongles

And when you think your operating system is slow it may in actuality be something to do with your network.

Internet explorer and all Microsoft applications really look for printers on startup.
So you access the internet and you have a wireless printer. If your wireless printer or thewireless itself is slow to respond you may perceive this to be  that Microsoft operating system is slow to load your word/internet explorer.

Applications can have massive effects on performance of your machine

Downloading programs
Third party applications

Can all greatly decrease the natural speed of your operating system

-      What you think is a slow window opening or an application starting is actually your antivirus scanning the file first
-      Because you are downloading in the example before for network this would reduce your network speed and of course you would then have slower loading applications looking at your network printer
-      Virus can affect your ram/processor and force applications to load 2 – 3 different things on startup which of course makes it load slower
-      Large applications can have adverse effects like many files needed to run. This in turns causes your hard drive to spin up and down as started before
-      Toolbars need to load when internet explorer does so it loads slower for you.
-      All your third party video converters and winrar etc make your right click menu slower

The Final Result

When you combine all of these things together you can start to see why after time your operating system starts to slow down the longer you have had it.

•      More files make the hard drive look further and further across the drive
•      An antivirus application is now scanning the files before they load
•      Your network is slower because of all the apps checking for updates and downloading data
•      Your network printer is connected and checking before all your windows load
•      You have more applications down the bottom right hand corner of your start menu. Adobe.Flash/antivirus/updaters/
•      Your applications are all running taks that take longer like defrags/updates/virus scans
•      Your ram and processor are being used more and more to run things in the background taking away from specific tasks that you now want to do.
•      Applications are taking over Windows based functions like your wireless/image display/graphics

And when you combine all this over time.. you really start to see the exact reason your Windows machine is getting tired just like the old man running. But tomorrow if he starts fresh (a format and reinstall) you will start running faster again until once again all these things slow you down.
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Scott ThomsonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I would also like to add that Linux and apple are the same.. however most MAC users do not install many other applications because MAC inserts all the functions into their operating system. Your average mac user simply surfs facebook and that's it.

But when you find people who do install heaps of apps.. yes the same things happen on MACS and on Linux.
jimmy1223Connect With a Mentor Commented:
I would consider looking at a few things to start.

Take a look at the system tray at the bottom right next to the clock.  If there is a little up arrow, click that.  After the machine fully boots up, what all is going on down there? You should see a few things like sound manager, A/V, USB ejection, etc.  You should not, in most cases, have dozens of items in there.

All sorts of programs that are installed shove themselves in to start up and want it running all the time.  The idea is that they want their program to load very quickly, presumably to provide the greatest "customer experience".  However, that means that for many programs that get installed, there is an application that is loaded at startup.  It adds up pretty quickly.

Consider the article below and looking in to msconfig so you can see what is running. Look for things like Adobe Reader, iTunes, etc.  These programs will work fine when you launch them but may take an extra second or two if they aren't in startup. You may have dozens of apps that are pre-loading and that will certainly have an impact on performance.  

Please heed the warning in the article:

NOTE: MSConfig can be used to configure several things other than just startup programs, so be careful what you do with it. If you’re not sure about using it, just follow the steps in this article and you should be fine.
nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
it's really very simple :
when you buy a new PC - say an XP one - and all your applications are installed - you may have taken 20 GB total disk space.
look at it 5 years later, and you'll have maybe 100 Gb used.
Why :
1-all programs and applicatioons install automatically updates
2-several programs NEED others , eg flashplayer,or .net, or their updates
3-user still installs some
4-user Data and program data

you can easily understand that the 5 year old pc has to work thru more than the new one, certainly since there is no restriction on the software, and all tend to increase the size exponentlly

here the example of acrobat reader; version 2 = 1.37 Mb, Xi = around 50 Mb this is 25 times more!!!!
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
I really just think Microsoft could raise the bar on making a more proactive OS
Why? Microsoft makes money when you buy a new laptop/PC. So why would they be interested in you keeping your laptop for more than 3 years?
because  - at some point, people will start to move to the free OS - like ubuntu - for several reasons; MS arrogance and pricing not being the least ...
Dan CraciunIT ConsultantCommented:
People are moving to a free OS for 15 years now...
People also prefere to pay good money to  use the same OS they know and that their friends/people at work use.
the same people also don't know how little diffeence there is between both - and how much - at the same time
brgdotnetcontractorAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone. I also wonder if there is some planned obsolescence by Microsoft. If there is a developer out there who can someday write an application to speed up windows, he would certainly I think end up making a lot of money. Maybe an application which could manage the existing RAM and cached applications better.
I just think it is nonsense. How long will this go on. Certainly 50 years from now when people have an infinite amount of RAM and GIG storage on their laptops, it will be fairly obvious that the OS is the real culprit. Not the resources like RAM and hard drive storage.
Scott ThomsonCommented:
I think you have missed most of the information.
Microsoft builds a platform. It alone does not use much ram, or cpu

Its all the other applications that you install on top of it that causes slowness..

You install sql or apache on linux and it runs like a dog as well. Its not linux.. Its the application thats running on it..
Scott ThomsonCommented:
It's kinda like saying "damn why is a tank so slow.."

But you put a tank engine alone in a car and whoosh!
The fact that you went and put 3 tonnes of metal and a track wheel system and then say its slow doesnt make it so..

You have an OS that is so multifunctional it makes it swiss army knife look like a stick. There is no way to speed up a car without changine internals..

You put in an ssd and faster
You get a better processor and faster
Graphics card = faster
More/faster ram = faster.

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