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Published Tuesday, June 12, 2018 @ 10:22 AM EDT
Jun 12 2018

As reported yesterday, my main system is more stable than it was before, leading me to believe that something with my hybrid drive (part mechanical disk drive, part solid state drive) was causing all the problems. I replaced it with a mechanical one terabyte drive and things have been running well for two days.

As for the alleged loss of performance caused by abandoning the large cache the SSD portion of the drive provided, I really haven't noticed it. Windows 10 has a service called Superfetch that speeds up application launching and improves system responsiveness by preloading frequently used applications into RAM so that they don’t have to be called from the hard drive. Some people have reported problems with Superfetch- slow response time and occasional hanging. I suspect this may be due to resource limitations. I have 16 gigabytes of memory on my machine, and an Intel Core7 processor running at 2.5 GHz. Task manager says that I'm using 7.8 gigs of memory, so after two days, even will all the caching, I still have more than half of the physical memory in the machine still available. Superfetch does slow down boot a bit, but after a few minutes, things return to normal. Since switching back to ancient technology, I've not seen a decrease in performance or program initialization.

I've found the most important thing you need when running Windows is patience. My machine has 78 background processes running on it right now (thanks, Adobe), and all these have to fire up and settle down during the boot process. I've learned that when I need to reboot my machine, it's best to do it before a meal or when I need to take a trip to the store. I reboot, login, then go away. Windows is, in many ways, like a watched pot. The latter never boils, and the former never fully loads while you're sitting there watching it.

You may ask, why did I not replace the drive with a solid state drive (SSD)? There are all sorts of pros and cons about switching from mechanical hard drives, but the bottom line for me is... the bottom line. A 1 Terabyte hard drive costs under $50. A 1 terabyte SSD is about $250. My backup regimen is to clone the drive to a duplicate external drive via a USB adapter. If the internal drive dies, I just swap it out. Time, under an hour, cost, about $50.

But time is the major consideration for me. I've spent over 100 hours the past three months screwing around with this machine, and time is something I don't want to waste. I have better things to do than watch Windows reload from a system image.

So, there's my Luddite solution to my problem. And from now on, no cutting-edge technology. I want to see it in the field for two years first. There's an old saying: you can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs. At my age, I don't need any more sources of back pain.


Categories: Technology, The Big Book of American Political Quotations, Windows


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