Thursday 20 November 2008

Vista: Powerful enough, but clever enough?

This blog is a little bit of a moan. Not a moan at Microsoft or Windows Vista for application compatibility  issues. More of a whinge directed at my fellow Vista users; particularly Vista laptop users. And, I can't decide if large numbers of my colleagues and friends have seriously missed a major feature in Vista or that Microsoft has really missed a trick here.

The problem is Vista performance (and the perceived lack of performance) of Microsoft's Vista OS on laptops. We are getting some decent laptop builds out there now; Intel Dual Core 2 with 3 gigs of RAM is a decent configuration and I am still getting loads of complaints about the slow performance of Vista.

And, here is the really embarrassing bit. After a little bit of trouble-shooting I discovered on EVERY single machine, that the Power  Settings was set to "Power Saver" instead of "High Performance".

Quoting from Microsoft's Help documentation;

• Balanced. Offers full performance when you need it and saves power during periods of inactivity.
• Power saver. Saves power by reducing system performance. This plan can help mobile PC users get the most from a single battery charge.
• High performance. Maximizes system performance and responsiveness. Mobile PC users might notice that their battery doesn't last as long when using this plan.

"Power Saver" mode is deigned to maximize batter life for laptops, at the price of significantly reduced performance. Meaning; when you select this mode Vista will run slower. 

Obviously, some bright spark in the past had configured this setting for each laptop with the intent of making the battery last as long as possible. This is fine and makes sense.

But this is where I start to lose my patience with Vista. It should be a lot more clever. My laptop "knows" when it is plugged in and Vista "knows" when I am plugged into an AC outlet as it shows a little charging symbol in my system tray.

So, why doesn't Vista automatically switch from "Power Saver" mode when I am off the mains and on the road and then back to "High Performance" mode when plugged into the mains?

Could this simple configuration error be the source of so many Vista performance issues?


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