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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:59 am   

Microsoft Vista is a piece of crap!
 
Warning: If semi-offensive language offends you, or you are a Microsoft fan-boy, then stop reading now.

OK, all I wanted to do tonight was play a relaxing game before I have eye surgery and then have to lay off the computer for a few days.

But I was getting an error from the Microsoft Update service. It was trying to install the monthly update for Windows Defender and was getting an error. Something about the "Windows Module Installer" had crashed. Clicking the recommended button to get more help just gave another crash and asked info to be sent to Microsoft. Microsoft: I hope you just love the dozens of crash dumps I have sent you tonight!!

So I look in my Event Viewer and there was an error accessing the WCP.DLL file. I have no idea what this file is, but it must be part of windows. I did a full ChkDsk of the computer and it didn't find any problems. So I went looking for this WCP.DLL file. It isn't in \Windows\System32.

I ran the Find File in Opus (which is thankfully much faster than the one in Windows) and finally found it in two locations:

v:\windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-servicingstack_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6000.16386_none_07289f4cca5f6990\wcp.dll
v:\windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-servicingstack_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6001.18000_none_095f6148c74a7a64\wcp.dll

So here is my first rant: WHO THE HELL NAMES THEIR FILE DIRECTORIES LIKE THIS??? Geez people, didn't you ever think of what might happen if someone needed to enter this into a stupid command prompt window??? Morons!

Since I suspect that a file might be corrupted, I am told that the correct way to fix corrupted system files is with the command:

sfc /scannow

I open an Admin command prompt and enter this command. The same annoying crash dialog from the Windows module installer pops up and then after a minute or so, the command prompt window displays the error:

"Windows Resource Protection could not start the repair service."

Yeah, great, thanks. What the hell am I supposed to do about that? So I do a Google search for this and find this Microsoft knowledge base article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929833

Basically, it gives the following procedure for replacing a system file that cannot be repaired normally:
Quote:
1. At an elevated command prompt, type the following command, and then press ENTER:
takeown /f Path_And_File_Name
For example, type takeown /f E:\windows\system32\jscript.dll.
2. Type the following command, and then press ENTER to grant administrators full access to the file:
icacls Path_And_File_Name /GRANT ADMINISTRATORS:F
For example, type icacls E:\windows\system32\jscript.dll /grant administrators:F.
3. Type the following command to replace the file with a known good copy of the file:
Copy Path_And_File_Name_Of_Source_File Path_And_File_Name_Of_Destination
For example, type copy E:\temp\jscript.dll E:\windows\system32\jscript.dll.

Do you notice how many times I am going to need to enter this stupidly long file name?? And the command prompt tab-completion sucks. Unlike most modern shells, it doesn't just complete up till the end of the unique part. It completely completes the text before the tab regardless of whether there are other matching entries. So you can't just type "\windows\winsxs\x86_" and press Tab. No. You end up having to type almost the entire path!

I'll say it again: MORONS!

So I *finally* typed all of this crap into Vista and it finally let me overwrite the file with one from my recent backups. And now the "sfc /scannow" works again.

I am REALLY GETTING TIRED of this stupid operating system trying to protect me from myself. Why can't I just drag a file from one location to another and overwrite the corrupted system file? It already prompts me with the Allow/Deny for Admin access and it already asks me if I'm sure. But then it just says "Access denied", even though the file isn't in use. You MUST enter those TAKEOWN and ICACLS commands before it will let you copy the good file over the bad file.

Just let me restore the damn file from my backup!!!

This is just insane. I wasted all night on this crap. Someone SOMEWHERE out there needs to do something to break this damn Microsoft Monopoly on crappy operating systems!
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Rainchild
Wizard


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:45 am   
 
I guess Vista's UAC is a bit like the oldskool 'nix operation, where you hafta "su -" to get elevated permissions in order to mess with the system files. In some ways it feels good, in other ways it's really frustrating.

I ended up turning of UAC because of incomatibilities with a programming tool I use. Basically turning off UAC puts Vista back to an "XP-like" mode, where you are the administrator account 24/7 and can do whatever you want to your PC with no annoying popups :)

Initially I was wondering if this was a smart move (it means that when surfing if a malicious page downloads a trojan, then it can infect my system instead of go "are you suuuuure you want to allow <blah> to modify your system files/registry?")... but then I asked myself when was the last time on XP I got a virus that Symantec couldn't deal with. To which the answer was "never". So yeah, byebye UAC, hello easy-to-use-OS.

Of course, disabling UAC means that when you do a test of CMUD under Vista you may get different behavior if you try and modify a c:\program files\ file or hkey_local_machine key... but then you can test all that permissions stuff on Chiara's PC if needed, and not suffer from lockey-downned-ness in your day-to-day operations.

PS... on the command prompt you can type like "cd m" <tab><tab><tab> and it will keep cycling thru the different options available.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:20 am   
 
Quote:
I guess Vista's UAC is a bit like the oldskool 'nix operation, where you hafta "su -" to get elevated permissions in order to mess with the system files.

No! That's my point! Even when you go into "Admin" mode (the equivalent of su), it *still* doesn't let you overwrite the system files directly. You must use the "takeown" and then the "icacls" commands on each file manually, and then you are allowed to overwrite that particular file.

Disabling UAC doesn't help with this at all. Vista is performing this additional system file protection.

I *want* something equivalent to *nix's "su" command. I *want* to be able to tell Vista "I really do know what I'm doing, so get out of my way and let me do it!!".

Quote:
PS... on the command prompt you can type like "cd m"

Tried that. Either it doesn't work when completing file paths for the commands that I was doing, or else this is yet something else broken in Vista. But pressing Tab more than once did not toggle through the different choices like it was supposed to.
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Larkin
Wizard


Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 1113
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:45 am   
 
Can't you take ownership of a file simply by using the Advanced button on the Security tab of the properties dialog? That's always worked for me on NTFS drives. Saves you from typing that stupidly long path, which I'm sure is that way to prevent people from finding it and messing with it.
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Fang Xianfu
GURU


Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 5155
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:51 am   
 
Zugg wrote:
Disabling UAC doesn't help with this at all. Vista is performing this additional system file protection.

What. So much for getting Vista at some point in the future.

I wish life had a su command :(

_________________
Rorso's syntax colouriser.

- Happy bunny is happy! (1/25)
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Larkin
Wizard


Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 1113
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:26 pm   
 
Windows XP pretended to protect system files, which was worse, in my opinion, because it gives users the false impression that they're secure. Vista may be annoying, but it's been far better to me than XP in terms of security. Hopefully, SP1 will improve things like this.
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Arlie
Wanderer


Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 62
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:12 pm   
 
SP1 certainly seems to have improved it on my end. I'm not having any problems remotely similar to this, so I assume SP1 fixed it or it just wasn't a problem on my machine in the first place.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:31 pm   
 
Quote:
Windows XP pretended to protect system files

That is true. But in my opinion Vista isn't any better. They are using the classic "security through obscurity". How long before a hacker figures out how to take ownership of a system file so it can be overwritten? Sure, it might cause a UAC prompt, but everyone is used to just clicking the OK/Allow button at this point, so it doesn't make any difference.

The difference is that *when* a hacker finds a way to screw up system files in Vista (and they will), then it will be exponentially harder for the end-user to fix the problem. What's the point of making a backup of your system files if you can't restore those files when they get corrupted? I even tried booting my CleanXP system, which has access to the Vista disk, to see if I could overwrite the files from XP. XP still wouldn't let me (because it also understands the NTFS file system permissions). So even from XP I got access denied.

Is it possible to change the permissions using the Advanced tab? Maybe so. If so, why doesn't Microsoft's own page tell me how to do it? Why does it give me this horrendous command line procedure when they know how ridiculous their file paths are to type.

The worst part is that there just wasn't any need for this in the first place. *nix systems have been more secure than Windows for decades. They have already dealt with security issues. Sure, "su" isn't the perfect method, but it still works very well most of the time. In fact, the only change I'd probably make to it would be to have a timeout so that you couldn't leave a session in "su-mode" for very long. But it's secure and it works. And it allows the system admin to do whatever is needed to restore corrupted files.

This whole obscure "winsxs" file structure is just Microsofts horrible way to solve another problem that they didn't need to reinvent a solution for: it's called Version Control. All they are trying to do is maintain a history of updates to your system files so that you can restore corrupted files or revert to previous states. It's convoluted with the Windows Update stuff and Restore points and other methods to ensure that system files remain intact and that updates can be rolled back. Again, it's called "Version Control" and there have already been plenty of excellent solutions to that problem in the past. But they don't care about how hard it is to type a file path because they never use the full filepath internally. They are just trying to force the file path to contain unique versioning information, which is a stupid place to store that information.

Could be worse I guess...they could store all of this crap in the system registry instead. But, of course, they know as well as anyone that the registry is not a secure nor reliable place to store critical information such as system files, so they create an obscure set of directories in the file structure to store the data instead.

And yet, with all of this mess, Microsoft is planning a new "Windows 7" by 2010? The only way Microsoft can redeem itself in my mind at this point is to publicly apologize for the mess that is Vista, then fix it in Windows 7 and make it a free update for anyone who suffered with Vista. But that will never happen...because they won't fix anything in Windows 7 either.

So yes, it's the next day and I'm still just as pissed about all of this as I was last night. I have lost so much time and productivity because of Vista that I've lost count. Too bad there isn't an organization who can try to measure the amount of lost dollars caused by Microsoft with this. I never had any security problems in XP. On this new computer, which is about twice as fast as my old one, Vista performs about the same as XP (which means that Vista was about twice as slow on the same hardware...CMUD performance numbers are all you need to verify that). Wait for 5 years while the hackers beat at Vista and then see if it is "more secure". In my opinion they just haven't gotten the time to get all of the obscure changes figured out yet. But it's just a matter of time before we have viruses and hacks for Vista just like we have had for every popular operating system with wide desktop exposure (it's because the OS actually has little to do with computer security...it always comes back to people/users).

The only reason I am forced to deal with Vista at all is because Microsoft is a Monopoly and they have these agreements with the hardware companies (Dell, HP, etc). As soon as these hardware vendors started shipping new computers with Vista as the default OS, the game was over. Customers were not asking for this. At least not "normal" customers. Maybe some businesses were asking for it, and I'd be happy to let those businesses make whatever decision they want. But when the average computer at BestBuy comes with Vista installed, then Vista is being forced upon the general public. If computers still came with XP installed by default, then Vista would be niche operating system used in certain business, and that would be all.

Even after using Vista every day for the past several months, I still haven't come across anything that I couldn't do in XP (and usually better and faster). The only reason I haven't completely thrown Vista out the window is because I was able to replace their File Explorer with Directory Opus. Opus has saved me more than once and is still lightyears ahead of File Explorer.

Even the fancy "Aero" graphics are starting to annoy me. For example, it is a *lot* harder to determine which application window has the active focus in the default Aero theme. The only thing I particularly like about Aero and Vista is that is supports PNG icons on the desktop, which can make things look a bit nicer. But you could still do that in XP with 3rd party solutions.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll continue to rant about this for a while. Yes, I hated XP when it first came out too, but that was because of some issues with old hardware. It didn't take me long to get over those issues when it became so obvious how much more stable XP was compared to Win98/ME. But I'm not getting that with Vista. If anything it's getting worse for me and not better. I feel sorry for all of those SysAdmin people who are forced to deal with Vista on a daily basis. At least I'm just mostly a user. And it's very smart for big stores such as BestBuy and CircuitCity to be putting more support into their "PC repair" (GeekSquad, etc) divisions, because from what I have seen, then are going to be busier than ever as more and more people get problems on their Vista system that are beyond the ability of even computer-savvy people like me to deal with.

Finally, people just keep saying "Hopefully, SP1 will improve things like this". What? SP1 doesn't change any of this. SP1 doesn't change the fact that you cannot restore corrupted system files. SP1 doesn't change this ridiculous winsxs file structure. Sp1 doesn't change the fact that running as "Admin" still doesn't grant you full permission to do certain things (like replace system files). But I hear this all the time. After SP1 ships, people will be saying "Well, hopefully SP2 will fix that". It's the same story we have heard from Microsoft for years now. I'm sure at some point we'll hear "Yes, but all of that is fixed in Windows 7!". Fool me once...
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Rorso
Wizard


Joined: 14 Oct 2000
Posts: 1368

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:21 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:

The only reason I am forced to deal with Vista at all is because Microsoft is a Monopoly and they have these agreements with the hardware companies (Dell, HP, etc). As soon as these hardware vendors started shipping new computers with Vista as the default OS, the game was over. Customers were not asking for this.

You could install a GNU/Linux distribution instead. You don't have to use Vista. Myself I use Fedora Linux as a supplement to Windows XP. However Linux has its own problems, and I currently prefer Windows.
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Larkin
Wizard


Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 1113
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:41 pm   
 
Hey, I didn't say SP1 would improve it, though I think they have added things to make the UAC just a little more sane. It's not going to make your existing problems magically disappear, certainly.

I don't build my own PCs any more, mostly because of hardware/software compatibility issues. The PC assembly companies have a lot more time and manpower to test various configurations and ensure a good working set. If it doesn't work, they help you make it work. You, unfortunately, opted to build your own computer and that right there could be the source of many of your issues.

We can point the finger at Microsoft and tout other systems, but even Apple and *nix systems have their own issues. I've seen reports and even been surprised by them myself, but Windows is not the buggiest or even the least secure of the operating systems. In the end, many of the problems people experience (on any OS) are from third-party software, especially drivers. I know that's not what you're ranting about here, so it's just a side note, really.

Disclaimer: I'm not so much a fanboy of MS as I was five years ago, but I'm definitely not an Apple fan. I use Linux as my server platform, mostly for compatibility with the server apps I'm required to run.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 6:58 pm   
 
Quote:
You don't have to use Vista

But I do. If I didn't *have* to use Vista, then I'd still be using XP, which I was perfectly happy with. The problem is that I'm not just a regular computer user...I'm a developer. And as a developer, I have customers. More and more of these customers are being forced to use Vista because it is coming preinstalled on new computers. Therefore, they expect me to support Vista in my software. I tried to support Vista and still use XP myself for over a year. But it became obvious that in order to better support Vista, I would need to use it myself and actually build CMUD on Vista. And it is true that doing this has improved how CMUD works on Vista. So this has been the correct choice as far as my customers are concerned.

But come on Rorso, you know better than that. Was your post a joke? How do you think I'm supposed to develop and support Windows software using Windows tools like Delphi if I was running Linux. I'm certainly not going to try to run Delphi in an emulator. That's just crazy. As I said, I'd be happy to just stick with XP, and there are many times each and every day where I contemplate going back to XP and abandoning Vista altogether.

Quote:
You, unfortunately, opted to build your own computer and that right there could be the source of many of your issues.

Nope, that is not it. This is NOT a hardware issue. And I have the exact same computer hardware running my gaming system downstairs and it has been rock solid for more than a year. That's a cope-out, and it's the standard kind of cope-out that Microsoft uses. In fact, when it comes to hardware, my current system and my gaming system downstairs have been far more reliable than the "prebuilt" systems we have gotten from Dell, Toshiba, HP, or eMachines over the past few years.

Yes, ever operating system has it's issues. But my issue is that Microsoft has changed a lot of stuff in Vista, just for the sake of change. Rather than just upgrade XP and improve it, they were forced to create a whole new operating system. They had to make it different enough so that people would buy it. It's all a result of how money-driven all of this is. They are pressured by shareholders, etc to release a new product and make more money with it. They can't just improve an existing product. Yes, some things require a new product, like a new file system. But we didn't get that in Vista.

I do agree that Windows is not necessarily the buggiest system. It only seems to be the buggiest and least secure because so many people use it. If the same number of people used Mac as the number of Windows users, I'm sure we'd see lots of problems there too. In fact, Apple users seem to be a lot more tolerant of problems than Windows users, which gives the Mac a better "reputation" than they might sometimes deserve. And as a server platform, Linux doesn't need to deal with a lot of the desktop driver issues that we force upon Windows. And I agree that for some reason, companies that make hardware just don't seem able to write decent software anymore.

Then again, it doesn't help anyone when Microsoft decides to rewrite the Windows driver model every few years. Joel S. mentions some of this in his "Joel on Software" book. I sometimes think that Microsoft changes all of this stuff on purpose every few years just to keep their competition scrambling to keep up so that Microsoft can stay ahead. As I said, how much time, money, effort has been wasted by the overall computer and software industry dealing with Vista? Companies (like me) need to update their software products, hardware companies need to write new drivers, sysadmins need to get retrained, consumers need to buy new software and hardware. All for what? A prettier user interface and some claimed improvements to security that we won't really know how good they are for several years? For a slower and more bloated operating system that requires more computing power and memory so people will buy new hardware? Someone needs to add up this total cost and compare it to the benefit.

Imagine if all of the software and hardware companies could have spent their time and resources improving their XP products instead of getting sidetracked with Vista? I know that CMUD would be much farther ahead if I never had to waste time with Vista. Sure, I'd still have rewritten zMUD->CMUD just for XP, but I wouldn't have wasted time with installer issues with Program Files and putting games files into My Documents and dealing with theme issues, and wasting so much of my time trying to get a new OS installed on my computer and upgrade all of my development tools to work with it. I'd be months ahead of myself by now. And I'm just one small developer.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:09 pm   
 
But back to the problem that originally caused all of this mess...

I looked through some more log files and through some of my Acronis backup logs. I have found that something similar has happened THREE times over the past 2 months. The only reason I caught it this time was because the Windows Update stopped working. But it has effected other system files in the past too.

In the past 2 months, there have been 3 corrupted file issues. In EACH CASE, the file was in the V:\Windows\winsxs directory. My physical disk is a 250GB drive, partitioned into the C:\Apps, V:\Vista, and K:\CleanXP areas. The C:\Apps drive is the largest partition and has all user files and all of the applications left over from XP (there is an old Program Files directory from XP on that partition so that I can grab any files that I might still need). It has all of my development tools, all of my 3rd party components, source code, web files, etc. Lots and lots of files. The V:\Vista partition has the Windows directory, along with the Documents and Settings for Vista, and along with the new Program Files for applications that I have installed fresh on Vista. The K:\CleanXP is a small partition with a basic XP system on it that I can boot if I have problems with anything else.

So of all of the hundreds of thousands of files on this disk, all 3 corrupted files were in the V:\Windows\winsxs directory. That seems really suspicious to me. Running low-level disk scans and CHKDSK show no problems with the disk itself. And the location on the disk of these 3 files are completely different. For example, one was near the beginning of the disk, and one was near the end. In fact, one was a recent file only put into the \winsxs directory within the past couple of weeks by Windows Update itself.

When I use CHKDSK, I also tell it to scan the free space on the disk. I also have another disk tool that scans the free space for bad blocks. None of these have reported any problems with any area of the disk. So it's not like there was some bad block "lurking" on the disk waiting to cause trouble. I also monitored the SMART system for any low-level hardware errors. There haven't been any. Also, this is a new disk...this is not the disk that was failing back in February that caused me to get a new computer system.

So why are these files getting corrupted? If it wasn't for my weekly full Acronis backup, I probably would have never known about these other problems (until the recent problem with Windows Update failing). Is there some interaction going on between Acronis backup and Vista? Acronis backup is doing a low-level sector backup of the disk. Maybe when it locks a sector to back it up it causes some sort of interaction with Vista that causes the high-level data to be corrupted. These problems are not low-level hardware problems...they are higher level problems with the file structure.

I know for a fact that Vista is doing *something* to the disk that XP never used to do. My disk activity light seems to be always flashing in Vista, where is never had that much activity back in XP. I've turned off the Vista DEFRAG program, so that isn't running anymore. I've turned off the background scanning of my virus checker. But something else is performing disk activity. Maybe if this disk activity interfers with the Acronis backup then it could cause problems?

As an experiment, I'm going to exclude the V:\Windows directory from my daily/weekly backups and see if that makes any difference. I did a Google search on these file corruption errors and there seems to be cases where this happened in Beta versions of Vista, but I can't find anything more recent. In most cases, people blamed the hardware, but the issue was never resolved. But I'm starting to become convinced that there is something very fishy going on here with Vista and it's file system integrity.
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Rorso
Wizard


Joined: 14 Oct 2000
Posts: 1368

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:47 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:

But come on Rorso, you know better than that. Was your post a joke? How do you think I'm supposed to develop and support Windows software using Windows tools like Delphi if I was running Linux. I'm certainly not going to try to run Delphi in an emulator. That's just crazy. As I said, I'd be happy to just stick with XP, and there are many times each and every day where I contemplate going back to XP and abandoning Vista altogether.

I wanted to make a point but I guess I didn't write it very well Confused. I'm sorry if you took offence. We are more locked into Windows than one might expect. Even if Microsoft did something really bad we are stuck with it. Because there's no viable alternatives Microsoft can pretty much do whatever it wants with Windows and get away with it. For example I believe DX10 supports Vista but does not support XP. Eventually games target DX10 and gamers will slowly be forced to upgrade.
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Larkin
Wizard


Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 1113
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:01 pm   
 
I was curious about the winsxs directory, so I did a couple searches and found a couple interesting articles. It's apparently Microsoft's way of allowing side-by-side installations of DLLs used by any version of any application. The biggest issue most people seem to have is the typical "file accumulation" problems because things are not properly uninstalled. It's been noted that you can move the directory to another drive, but that's risky and breaks future updates, like SP1.

Seems like your backups are a helpful thing, but I definitely feel for you on the loss of time. It's never fun when you have to stop all productive activities just to deal with this crap. I just spent a couple weeks replacing a hard drive and power supply (the latter of which was only about two months old!) and re-installing Ubuntu just to get my Linux development server up and running again.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:01 pm   
 
Yep, DX10 is Vista-only. Of course, that's why no games are actively using it yet...because no game company can afford to stop supporting XP. For example, Lord of the Rings Online uses DX10 on Vista. But it also still uses DX9 on XP just fine. And the differences are pretty minor so far. In theory DX10 does lots of great stuff, but if nobody uses it, does any of it exist? (If a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it...).

Rorso: No offense taken. I just read your post the wrong way because I'm in a bad mood. But you are right...we are stuck with Windows more than people expect, which gives Microsoft a lot more power than I wish they had. One bad glitch in a Windows Update and Microsoft could destroy a large number of computers around the world in a single stoke. And I can lose sleep over that!

Right now I am copying archived backup files from my Vista disk to Chiara's big backup drive so that I have space locally for the new weekly and monthly backups. I am copying two files: One is 12GB and one is 14GB. Currently Vista is using 10% of my network bandwidth, and 10% of CPU. Chiara's computer (where the files are being written) is using about 15% CPU. Both computers have a gigabit network card and are connected via a gigabit switch. The file copies are going very very slow. Yes I know, SP1 is supposed to "fix" this (although as far as I can tell, I've already installed the patches for the file copy and network issues that SP1 installs, but I'll have to wait and see).

So, as I sit here and stare at the progress bar, I wonder more and more about what I have gained or lost by using Vista? Is there anything that I use in Vista that I wouldn't have in XP? Is there anything I would miss? I'm using Directory Opus instead of File Explorer, and Opus works fine on XP. I can get some of the prettier icons and screen stuff using various 3rd party software from Stardock (windowblinds, etc). Most of my time is spent in Delphi, Firefox, Outlook...all of which work just fine in XP. All of the Ruby/Rails stuff that I plan to use later this month works fine on XP. Nothing actually *requires* Vista.

So, what would I miss if I wasn't using Vista? Have I forgotten about some "cool new feature" that I am taking for granted now?

Now that CMUD is working fine in Vista, would it actually suffer if I wasn't using Vista myself? Or would I get more time to spend on CMUD because I wasn't dealing with Vista issues every week?

After all, I have a *lot* of recent experience reinstalling all of my software apps. I think we have determined that it takes me about 2 days to get everything reinstalled and working properly? So would I be happier on a clean XP system? Or would it just be postponing the inevitable and have me forced back to using Vista within the year again? Would it stop me from whining as much? (well, maybe not ;) Anyway, something I'll be thinking about over the next couple of days as I sit on the couch with my eyes closed with nothing else to do except think.
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:17 pm   
 
Still staring at the file transfer progress. I started running the Vista "Reliability and Performance Monitor" to look at network, cpu, and disk utilization (this is one system tool that I probably *would* miss in XP). If you click on the Disk area, it shows you all of the files being accessed on your system.

Watching this disk activity for a while is very interesting. There are all sorts of things running on the system that use the disk. Certainly the two file transfers are always at the top. But the "System" process is constantly accessing all sorts of files. Part of this is PreFetch, and I understand what that does (caches stuff in memory). But it is accessing files that I haven't even used in a while.

Also, even few minutes it runs something called "msfeedssync.exe". From a Google search, this is supposed to be part of IE7. But I never use IE7...I only use Firefox. The only time IE7 was run by me was back when Vista was first installed (before I installed Firefox). I've never set up any RSS feeds in IE7. So what is Vista doing running this every few minutes?? Also, if I look at the Task Manager and tell it to show all processes regardless of user, the "msfeedssync.exe" process never shows up in the list. So Vista is somehow hiding this process from the task manager. Just to be sure, I ran my antivirus on the msfeedssync.exe file, and it didn't report any problems, so I don't think it has been hijacked or anything. I think it's just one of those many things that Vista is doing in the background that it doesn't want you to know about.

It also looks like something related to the Volume Shadowing might be causing some of the disk activity, but it's hard to tell. But there is a *lot* of various random file activity. And it's either the "System" process, or various "svchost.exe" processes.

OK, the file copies are finally done. That was over 30 minutes. That's *way* too slow. But now maybe I can get on with my work for today.
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Rainchild
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Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:55 pm   
 
Not sure if this works with Directory Opus, but another standard feature of Vista's File Explorer is you can right-click on a file while holding shift down, and it gives you additional options in the right click menu. One of these options is "Copy as Path"... so if I shift-right-click "wcp.dll" and choose "Copy as Path" I get the following on the clipboard: "C:\Windows\winsxs\x86_microsoft-windows-servicingstack_31bf3856ad364e35_6.0.6000.16386_none_07289f4cca5f6990\wcp.dll" ... which I can then right-click-paste in a "cmd" prompt.

On another note, even though I disabled it (because I use O&O), I caught vista defrag running just before... and svchost.exe was going thru my EQ2 files.
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Zugg
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Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:29 am   
 
Yep! The Shift-rightclick works! I see the Copy as Path... Yeah, that was non-obscure. Don't know why it's not just in the normal right-click menu. Never knew they were adding "hidden" options while holding down keys on the keyboard. Geez.

Interesting about Vista Defrag. I wonder if there is a better way to *really* disable it. I certainly don't want it running at all.

Btw, I have decided to just continue to live with this misery for a while. I just don't want to spend the time *again* to reinstall all of my apps, and I figure that I'd just end up being forced to Vista again some time in the future. So I might as well put up with the pain and just hope it gets better eventually.

Still makes me sick to my stomach that they have so much power in the world and are making so much money on poor quality products. Maybe there is some hope. I consider .NET and Vista to be products of Steve Balmer's tenure at Microsoft, whom I never agreed with. But I have a lot of respect for Ray Ozzie back from his days in charge of Lotus Notes when I was doing work with that at the lab, so maybe he can eventually turn things around for the better. But it won't be easy and it won't happen overnight.
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Larkin
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Joined: 25 Mar 2003
Posts: 1113
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:13 am   
 
I despised Lotus Notes when they made us use it at work! Razz
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:07 am   
 
It was actually a very cool system once you got into customizing it. I wrote all sorts of applications with it. v4.0 was a vast improvement over previous versions. But it really came down to how well the system was customized for your workplace. I had it doing some amazing stuff, and I still miss it. If you just used it for basic email, then the company was missing the whole point. I didn't use it after v4.0 when I left the lab, so I have no idea if it got better or worse.
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ralgith
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Joined: 13 Jan 2006
Posts: 715

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:34 pm   
 
Well, I've had the exact same issue Zugg. With no backup software like that at all (I do manual backups every month).

And yes, I too pine for the days when Linux finally breaks the Micro$uck monopoly. Its STARTING to happen, but I don't see it happening completely till the big gaming companies start making their games for both OS'es. But HP for one has embraced Linux, and you can get servers and some workstations with Linux preinstalled. Also some big non-gaming software companies are embracing Linux too. I've been part of the Beta testing for Nero-Linux. We just need to kick the big gaming companies into it, because everything else already has decent support on Linux, support that would explode if Linux became the mainstream. For instance, OpenOffice is just as good as M$ Office for 90% of users. Sure, it lacks things like Visio and PowerPoint, but as I said, that would easily explode in advancement with general acceptance of Linux as the mainstream.

I mean, think about it. If the gaming companies all started developing for Linux (which would be smart since it's memory handling routines are 500% more efficient than Winblows [Yes thats exaggerating]), then the major hardware would ALL fall in line quickly. If the gamers are using Linux, but you only support Windows versions of your video drivers... your company would go to hell as everyone started buying from another Video Card manufacturer who has chosen to support Linux. And on, and on, and on.

This then brings up the downside. Right now most virii will not affect Linux at all. But if Linux became mainstream, you know the maleware would all follow suit as well. But oh well, some people are just Grade A assholes :)

On that note, I've been behind a couple, and participated in several surveys and petitions that get sent off to these major corporations. Including one back in 1999 to HP. I've always wondered if that had any part in their starting to work with Linux. But then I remembered that they've been experimenting for a long time... *beats himself with HP-UX*. OOPS. But hey, its still a start ;)
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Fang Xianfu
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Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 5155
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:04 pm   
 
The trouble is that there're massive barriers to changing the OS you develop for. Zugg is a perfect example of this, and I don't think I need expand on that further. With those barriers in place, the benefits of changing OS need to be enormous to warrant the cost of changing. And fact of the matter is that they aren't and they probably never will be. Linux would have to become more like Windows, or the price of retraining programmers and rewriting code would have to fall, or something else fundamental that would push people away from Windows. And all of those things are extremely unlikely, and even then it wouldn't be a sure thing.

So no, it's not going to happen. That "something else fundamental", though, could easily be Microsoft producing ...bad... software for the next ten years. Perhaps then people would start migrating. But Microsoft, knowing that it needs to stop that, would probably pull its finger out before then.

In short: no.
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Rorso
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:15 pm   
 
ralgith wrote:

I mean, think about it. If the gaming companies all started developing for Linux (which would be smart since it's memory handling routines are 500% more efficient than Winblows [Yes thats exaggerating]), then the major hardware would ALL fall in line quickly.

There are games for Linux. The Quake series work there, and Unreal Tournament works as well. Neverwinter Nights work very well also and it is unfortunate they didn't carry on supporting Linux in NWN2. You can play e.g Warcraft3 using Wine which works "almost" well.

It actually surprised me how far Linux has gotten. I did manage to crash Gnome a few times though which opened a surprise as well. Sending an automated bug report to Gnome is not like sending it to the black hole Windows seem to send its bug reports to. Suddenly an email was sent to me with a link to the bug report on their bugtracker. A day later some of their admins had marked it as duplicate of another bug report and I was subscribed to that list. So I get constant updates on the status of the bug.

There are things in Linux that annoy me. For example I feel there is lack of standards. Everyone seem to be doing their thing. Some examples:
1. Drag & Drop interaction works poorly between Desktop and applications.
2. You often need to open your terminal to modify settings.
3. Every distribution seem to use its own method to handle packages.
4. Copy & Paste seem very odd. Sometimes you need to use hotkeys, other times just selecting text copies it.
5. GPL libraries. I got the feeling that some libraries are GPL and programming for Linux might be a trap if you want to have freedom to pick your own license.

I also felt less secure in Linux than in Windows. I think it is just not only two different operating systems. It might also be two different philosophies.
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Rorso
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Joined: 14 Oct 2000
Posts: 1368

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:50 pm   
 
Fang Xianfu wrote:

Linux would have to become more like Windows, or the price of retraining programmers and rewriting code would have to fall, or something else fundamental that would push people away from Windows. And all of those things are extremely unlikely, and even then it wouldn't be a sure thing.

Take a look at http://www.winehq.org/ and browse their application lists. Using Wine you can run many Windows applications in Linux with mixed results. I believe Google is contributing to the Wine project which allow them to run Picasa on Linux. I was running Warcraft3 with some friends using Wine a few weeks ago.

What this means is that rewriting code for many applications wouldn't be needed. They would run on Wine. As developers start to target .NET the applications will hopefully also work on Mono.

The question really is if people want to use Linux daily as their favourite OS. Myself I prefer Windows XP but still it might be a good idea to follow what happens on Linux.

There is also a group of people who are trying to make an open source version of Windows :-).
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Fang Xianfu
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Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 5155
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:03 pm   
 
You're missing the point. The problem is the "mixed results" part. Clients don't want mixed results, they want good results, and using an emulator (or whatever Wine actually is) will always be inferior to using the real thing, for what I hope are obvious reasons. Why bother using Linux and Wine, which is unreliable, when you can use Windows which is (relatively speaking) not?

If I were going to use Linux, I'd want all the programs I use (read: games I play) to work on it. Not for some of them to work, some of them to work-ish, and some of them to fail completely. It's not a case at all of choosing based on what you want to use daily - it's simply choosing what does what you want it to do, and Linux doesn't because companies don't write their software for it. That's the whole crux of this discussion: you suggested Linux, and Zugg can't use it because the things he uses Windows for don't work under Linux. Linux supporting some of the things you want to do isn't enough, because Windows will have to pick up the slack. And if you're already using Windows for some stuff, why not use it for all stuff? Ralgith already talked about that in some detail.

Until Linux starts doing everything people want it to do and does it better than its rivals, people won't use it. It's that simple.
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