I use Linux. Or, to be more specific about it, I use a GNU/Linux distribution (operating system in other words) called Linux Mint and I’ve been using it as my main OS for quite awhile now. So does my wife for that matter but this post is not about Linux Mint–it’s about Windows.
My wife and I have identical desktop computers you see and I did this on purpose. Makes it much easier to work on, update and repair if need be. What works with one is guaranteed to work in the other and all that. Both run Linux Mint and, of course, Windows or in this case, Windows 7, which is why we run Linux Mint.. Makes sense? No? Well, don’t worry about it. Suffice it to say, there’s one or two programs that only run on Windows that we absolutely need–for now that is. Who knows what another year may bring?
Anyway, to the point. If one has Windows installed on one’s hard drive, no matter whether you run a Linux distro or not, Windows must be maintained and maintained on a regular basis. Let it go for more than a month and it begins to complain mightily along with your anti-virus/firewall/Internet security suite, Java, Flash, drivers, browser…in short you’ll end up with a whole chorus of Windows software yapping at you about overdue updates. So, I make absolutely sure I visit Windows at least once a month just to keep it happy.
This time around it was only two weeks between visits. I was bug hunting a pre-release version of one of my standard programs on the Linux side of things (I am an old geek after all) and I wanted to check out the Windows version to see if it had the same problem. Now I’m used to booting into Linux Mint and, as soon as the desktop appears, firing up my standard programs like Firefox and Thunderbird and having them up and running within 3 seconds or so. The key phrase here is, “as soon as the desktop appears“. No waiting at all. As soon as it loads I’m off and running.
Now to Windows.
Booting into Windows 7 (64 bit) isn’t that much slower as compared to Linux Mint (64-bit), at least up to the login screen that is. Unfortunately, once I submit my password that’s where the speed similarity ends. Where the Linux Mint desktop appears 2 to 3 seconds later, Windows seems to have to think about it. And it’s not because of all that data in “prefetch” either since I have the equivalent feature installed in Linux Mint (preload and prelink) so there’s plenty of data that’s preloaded in both OSs. Okay, so we’re talking maybe a 5 to 7 second difference in speed difference but when you’re used to typing in your password and your desktop is up and running by the time you lift your eyes from the keyboard, those extra seconds seem like a lot.
And this is a fairly fresh load of Windows 7 by the way.
So now I have the Windows desktop in front of me and that’s great except for one thing…I can’t use it. At least not yet anyway. I have to wait while my anti-virus suite (Avast!) contacts it’s server, checks for updates, downloads updates, installs updates, let’s me know that said updates were installed and then releases the desktop for my computing pleasure. But wait, now Java wants to update…and Flash and, and Windows Update is yelling at me! Is it really the second Tuesday of the month? No? Oh, wait…it’s an out-of-band update for a zero-day exploit plus I guess I actually hadn’t booted into Windows the last second Tuesday of the month and…
Now, what did I boot into Windows for again?