On Vista performance, Mark Russinovich and others …

Videocast seen over here.

It was worth an hour of my time.

Some of the highlights:

  • If you’re going to deploy it and expect it to run on four year old hardware, wellll, it’s not going to operate very well.
  • Vista SP1 made a huge difference to performance.
  • Using the latest drivers is key.
  • In the corporate environment, never upgrade. Rebuild the PC instead.
  • Set expectations.  If a PC boot is taking 6 minutes, it’s not a “”Vista”” problem, your PC has a problem.  You need to get it fixed Mr. End-user, by telling someone.
  • Review your Group Policies.  Do you really need synchronous blocking enabled?
  • 64-bit Vista is best for systems with >4gb memory and the workload to support it.
  • Defragging makes no difference on a SSD drive.
  • Defragging on a normal drive doesn’t make much difference.
  • Xperf toolkit will allow you to trace the entire Vista boot process.
  • Task Manager has a new option, Resource Manager, located in the Performance tab.
    ”Hard Faults” are virtual memory faults which result in disk I/O being performed.
  • Start with a clean image.  Vendor OEM images add value, and sometimes decrease performance.
  • Autoruns is a better tool to use than MSconfig.
  • Don’t disable SuperFetch.

The other speakers were Stephen L Rose, Michael Boyd, Doug Miller, David Straydee, Gabe Auld, Ed Bott & Celine Allee.
Apologies to those people who’s names I have mangled.

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Not enough memory to complete this operation (adding a printer with Vista)

Trying to install my Lexmark X215 multi-function printer results in this error message under Vista:
Windows cannot connect to the printer.  There is not enough memory to complete this operation.  Please close some programs and try again.

I don’t know the actual cause, as I have 3GB of memory installed, but this workaround works:

  1. Select “Add New Printer”
  2. Select “Local Printer” instead of “Add Network Printer”
  3. Select “Add New Port”
  4. For the port name, type in the network path to your printer.
    ie. \\homeprintbox\lexmark
  5. Click Next, and follow the remaining prompts.

And this is not the only way to resolve the problem. Over at VirtualTechSupport.ca, Simon writes about another way to solve the issue.  The printer he was having problems with was a Samsung ML-1710.
VirtualTechSupport.ca: Error when connecting to a shared printer with Vista

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Three Podcasts worth listening to …

… if you’re into AppCompat

  • TechNet Webcast Audio: Making Windows Vista Application Compatibility Testing More Predictable (Level 300)
    When helping our customers accelerate their deployments of the Windows Vista operating system by assisting with application compatibility, we found that there are a number of technical skills to master. However, technical acumen is never enough-effectively managing the project is critical to making the process predictable and measurable, in addition to controlling costs and maximizing effectiveness. In this session, we review the best practices we have learned for effectively managing this process from enterprise customers worldwide.
    Chris Jackson blogs here
  • TechNet Webcast: LUA Buglight (Level 400)
    LUA Buglight (version 2.0 currently in the works) is a tool designed to help both developers and IT professionals (system administrators) identify the specific causes of least-privilege user account (LUA) bugs in desktop applications running on the Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista operating systems. Once the specific causes have been identified, the bugs can more easily be resolved by fixing the application’s source code or by making configuration changes, letting the application work correctly for non-administrator users.
    Aaron Margosis blogs here
  • TechNet Webcast Audio: Application Compatibility in 90 Days (Level 300)
    Deploying the Windows Vista operating system in the enterprise has moved from “We’ll see…” to “Let’s get it done,” and application compatibility is typically identified as the biggest blocker to a successful, low-cost migration. In this session, we identify the tools, technologies, and best practices that have been used successfully by Microsoft services and partners to minimize or eliminate many of the perceived (and real) challenges that customers experience with both independent software vendors (ISV) and internally developed applications running on Windows Vista.
    … couldn’t find a blog for Steve Campbell …

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Vista Performance: Is it really that bad?

Here is what Adam Breindel wrote: Vista Performance: It Really Is That Bad, which I saw via Robert Scoble’s shared google reader list.

My comments in reply:

Enjoyed the post, and I am going to "sit on the fence" with my reply (ie. I kind of agree with you, but don’t)

My background, spent the best part of 30 months as a Vista Beta TAP tester, and was involved in the SP1 test program.

We’ll disagree on NLA.  NLA is used by Windows Firewall to determine what network you are on.  If you are a member of a Domain, Windows Firewall will give you a Domain profile.

We’ll agree on Aero Glass.  Think it was Corey Hynes who said something like "You’ll run it for 10 ten minutes, then shut it off".

Performance.  Yes it is more resource hungry.  SP1 does improve things though.

For a corporate environment, give me Vista.  There are plenty of benefits to make it worth it (UAC for a start).
For a home user, Windows XP please.  I’ll even settle for Windows 2000, in a pinch.

My current work machine?  Dual processor 3.0ghz, 2gb ram,  Dell machine running Windows 2000.
The sitting on fence part?  Have not noticed a whole lot of usability difference between Vista and Windows 2000.

Windows Server 2008 SP1? – WTF???

ServerSP1

Microsoft releases Windows Server 2008 to manufacturing, and it’s already at SP1!

WTF!?!

Yeah.  At first glance you may think it strange that a first version of a product would already be at SP1 level.  So I thought I would throw out a couple of reasons why Windows Server 2008 is at SP1 already.  NOTE: Only ONE of the following reasons is correct:

A.  We call it Service Pack 1 because we want to have something to say to the customer who is always “waiting for SP1”.  “Here you go!”

B.  We call it Service Pack 1 because it sounds like it’s of a higher quality.

C.  We call it Service Pack 1 because it IS of a higher quality.

The correct answer is C.  Windows Server 2008 is indeed of a higher quality,

Why is Windows Server 2008 at SP1 already-

Microsoft (Kevin Remde) claims C.  To my mind, it’s marketing BS.  Listening to my cynical heart, the REAL answer is A.
I’m sure the market will decide whether to wait until SP2 before adopting.  I’d be tempted to adopt it now for WDS Multicasting.

And it works under Vista!

Microsoft really have done a good job with application compatibility:

slmr21

That’s right folks, it’s an application written in 1992. 15 years ago.  And it still works.

And here’s the irony, I downloaded SLMR21a.zip from Simtel, and the Simtel Downloader was twice the size of the SLMR21a.zip file.

“Windows Vista SP1 availability for technical customers” – with a bug or two FREE!

From the Vista Team Blog


In my blog post on the subject, I noted that we were going to make SP1 available to customers in stages to make sure we delivered a great experience.  As I explained, one reason for this is that we are working through an issue with a small set of hardware devices that may not function properly after the Windows Vista-based PC they are installed on is updated to SP1.

– blogpost: Windows Vista SP1 availability for technical customers

And from my experience, it’s a problem which only has occurred late in the SP1 Beta cycle.  Didn’t see the problem with SP1 RC, but did with SP1 RC Refresh (6001).

The driver with the problem?  Well in my case, the Intel 2915ABG Wireless network driver.  I expected better from Intel.

‘Plan now to eliminate “power users”; from your domains’ – or face the consequences.

Saw this today over at Steve Riley’s blog

Plan now to eliminate “power users” from your domains

That group had rights install software and drivers. And if you can install software and drivers, then you can elevate yourself to Administrator or SYSTEM. Vista includes a signed installer that allows standard users to install packages signed by a trusted root. (The “Trusted Installer” is a service that has a SID, so you’ll see it in the permissions list on various objects throughout the operating system.)

Which is why:

  • Microsoft Application Packaging Standards going back to Windows 2000, state what you should be doing for best application packaging compatibility.
  • Good application packagers test against “”Standard”” user accounts (and not admin)

On my home Windows XP PC, my daily use account is a Standard user account.  With Vista, EVERYONE is a standard user (and some people can temporarily raise their privileges as required)

Some references:

Check for Correct User Privileges [Application Compatibility Guide] – this article now removed, replaced by:
Application Installation and Servicing

Application Compatibility Testing and Mitigation Guide for Windows XP SP2

Designed for Windows XP Application Specification

Isolated Components

Latency effects everything we do … … no wait!

I’ve run into latency issues over the last 20 years, and in short, they’ve been

  • X-Modem
  • IBM SNA
  • Citrix
  • Windows Vista

X-modem

… was created in August 1977 to allow file transfers between Bulletin Board Systems.  Developed by Ward Christensen.  A simple protocol by design, which was it’s beauty and it’s downfall.  Didn’t work so well over satellite links with a latency of 300ms.  Relaxed X-modem was the workaround.

IBM SNA

… has a heartbeat of 2 seconds.  Miss the heartbeat and the link dies.  Which is what was happening in the remote community of Gove, in the Northern Territory.  Because of WAN congestion, and a tropospheric WAN link, mainframe terminals in Gove would drop out.  Reconfiguring the Gove Cisco switch to provide a local SNA heartbeat solved the problem.

Citrix

… curse of an idea I tell you.  In August 2003, Citrix sessions were dropping out at a remote site.  Citrix is very intolerant of WAN congestion (20ms).  So are the users who lose their Citrix sessions.  Given that a picture tells a thousand words, here’s what the network capture told us:

network_traffic 

The RED lines indicate traffic inbound to the client site.
The BLUE lines are outbound traffic.
Both measured at the Cisco switch, so it didn’t tell us what the local LAN was doing.

The inbound red traffic indicated that our desktop management toolset was heavily utilising the line, after hours in particular (desktop patching).  The outbound blue traffic didn’t tell us much from the graph.  Further investigation, with a network sniffer, showed that 70 Citrix clients were communicating with a (remote) Citrix Server farm.  Now each Citrix client uses about 20k/s bandwidth, so 70 clients across a 128k WAN link just didn’t fit.  The answer was for the customer to increase the size of the WAN link, which they did.

Vista

I had drafted why the Vista file copy routine was broken, due I think, to latency issues, but Mark Russinovich explains it so much better, here.