Windows Rot II

eWeeks David Coursey has brought up the topic of Windows Rot which we have covered here. When speaking of Windows Rot, David is referring to the fact that over time Windows gets slower and slower. And this is not because the CPU is slowing down but rather because the Registry and other parts of the software plumbing are becoming bloated. I have seen the phenomenon on my Windows 2000 machine which is nearing 4 years old and cannot reproduce some graphic benchmarks from 3 /1/2 years ago despite the fact that I have increased memory from 384MB to 512MB and increased diskspace available from 30% empty to 40% empty by moving apps to other machines.

But I would like to extend the concept of Windows Rot to one related arena – software that has been made a part of the OS and in the process has shed all competitors in the marketplace and has, for various reasons, been totally neglected by Redmonds software wizards since then. The Poster Child for Windows Software Rot is of course Internet Explorer. We have explored in detail the reasons for Internet Explorers rot here and have recommended the solution many times, most notably here. But there are many other examples of Windows Software Rot.

Windows Software Rot

My top three cases of Windows Software Rot are Notepad, Windows Explorer, and the OpenFile Dialog. Notepad has been improved – it used to onl allow for 32K byte file sizes, it now accomdates just about unlimited file sizes. But as Porky Pig would say ….that that thats all folks. I consistently find Web editors that can outperform Notepad with simple but valuable services – line numbering, color coding for syntax, dual screens for editing, tabbed multi-window editing, etc, etc. MacOS and Linux have much better editors and a wider choice than Windows.

Windows Explorer just gets slower and slower. Now some may say this is due to the Registry and Windows Rot but I dont think so. While reviewing Suns Ultra 20 for Linux Magazine, I had a quad boot machine with fresh and latest copies of Solaris, Windows XP, Red Hat Linux, and Suse Linux. One of the notable differences between the 4 operating systems was the very crisp and very fast response time of all the other OS File Managers in comparisn to Windows Explorer. But Windows Explorer has other problems. The awkward interface is just no match for the convenience of old favorites long gone like Norton Commander which showed dual views into the filesystem and made moving, copying, comparing files in two directories a cinch. I now use programs like Adobe Dreamweaver to trick out such functionality in Windows.

If Windows Explorer is slow, Windows Open File Dialog can be glacial. I dont know what the problem is, but there are times when the Open Dialog is so slow that it is embarrassing. You have to chat in a demo or presentation to fill the time void. Adobe in Photoshop offers its own Open File Dialog .. and I always use it. Again, this could be a Registry problem but even on a new and virtually empty PC we were using for a demo – the OpenFie dialog would occsionally just make us wait.

Now you may very well have your own cases of Windows Software Rot – and if so just add as a comment or send a note here. Meanwhile eWeeks David Coursey is going to be asking Microsofts Jim Allchin about Windows Rot – I hope he adds Windows Software Rot to the list.

(c) JBSurveyer 2006

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