Something happened to the XP Pro workstation at work in the last couple of weeks and it has progressively gotten worse. I spent most of the day today reformatting and installing XP Pro, Internet Exploder 7, Office 2007 Pro Plus (yuck), VMWare Workstation 6.5, OpenOffice3 (don't tell anyone!), FireFox3, Adobe Reader 9 and a few other applications on the system, Most of the time was spent downloading and installing post-SP3 Windows Updates for XP Pro and SP1 for Office 2007 Pro. In all 2.8 GBytes of updates was downloaded. (Yes I kept track.) That ignores the install packages for all of the original programs that were on the local network. A veritable nerdish byte-banging software installation orgy!
Its been about 2 and a half years since the system was done the last time. It seems as if 2 to 3 years is all a “stable” Windows installation can last before it goes sour and starts getting really cranky. So the system was skating along headed to the typical demise. It was going to happen some time soon because it has happened with every freaking version of Windows all the way back to Windows 3.1, the 16 bit stuff. It happens on the XP Pro and Home systems at home. It happens to my neighbors who run Windows. Yes the Workstation 3.51 and the 4.0 NT stuff did it too. Putting anti-virus on it only seems to make the stable periods shorter not longer.
I tried to avoid it this time by removing a bunch of unneeded software and cleaning the registry out but that didn't help this time. Debugger windows kept popping up every 10 minutes. Got really annoying.
Time to take advantage of the situation. 120 Gigabytes was enough space for a Windows XP Pro install. The rest of the drive, another 115 GB, got Windows 7 Beta. Both partitions are on the same drive and both are primary partitions so access time should be near the same.
The plan is to install exactly the same applications on the Windows 7 partition as on the XP partition. The comparison will be of the two operating systems running exactly the same programs on the same hardware.
The rest of the computer of course will be identical for both systems. Its a DELL GX620 with 4GB of DDR2 RAM, nearly 1TB of total HDD space on 4 drives, a CDRW drive and a DVD R/RW drive. The CPU is a 2.8 GHz Pentium D (one of the earlier Dual CPUs from Intel), video is a dual monitor NVidia DVI/Analog PCI Express card, and the networking is handled by 2 1Gbps Ethernet ports. If the machine ever gets retired it has a home here at the house!
Let's see if the flying monkeys have actually made things better or worse compared to XP Pro and ignore the stuff in the middle. This will be a "real world" comparison test, at least as real as it gets in "my world" ha! Its going to tell me more than the statistics and computer lab tests do. I'll know pretty soon which OS works better just trying to get my work done.