“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Vista, Windows 7 and Gparted.

with 11 comments

I had the misfortune to be forced to use a Vista installed laptop recently. It was a very nice piece of kit, a bit outdated by today’s ever changing standards, but as a 1.86Ghz Celeron it was fine for the work I used it for.

The only problem was Vista.

What a dog, I had previously removed/toned down most of the junk and eye candy to make it more like XP than the bloated beast it was, but even then it still ran like a slow 486.

I know the machine is fast enough as I have Linux installed, but I had to get a funny piece of hardware set-up and doing it under Vista seemed a smart idea at the time. How wrong.

After browsing the various “How to tune Vista” forums and guides, I realised that I had done most of that before, and it still ran like a dog.

Now I don’t have any clever solutions as to how to boost Vista, but I managed to improve matters by 5-15%, or at least I would hope so, for the time taken.

Firstly, I install Vista SP1, downloaded direct from M$ site, after 2-3 hours it finished, just.

Next, a cheat used Tune Up 2008 , taken from a magazine DVD, and saw what that did.

Not bad but still sluggish. Still reading the guides I wondered about the Vista services, and this is NOT recommended, but Vista Services Optimizer worked.

A problem with this Vista laptop was not only the Service Packs taking forever and a day (I could have installed and upgraded 10 Linux systems and still have had time for a long lunch break) but the partitioning.

It was a mess, a massive C drive in NTFS format, a few others that I must have created ages back, with a paltry 14 Gb for Linux, only 3.5 used. Compare that with 26 Gb for Vista, and it still stunk. Not only that but the division of the partitions was annoying, too much *before* the extended partition and not enough after it.

Long story short, I shrank two NTFS partitions and then shifted the space into the extended partition, recovering about 33 Gb, enough for 4-5 Linux distros! I just defragged everything under Vista using an old copy of JKdefrag, booted up Gparted 4.6.1, checked the disks, back to Vista I re-scheduled a disk check on C: as Gparted complained a bit, after a bit of fiddling around I now have plenty of space for other things.

All a bit boring for the non-technical, but it shows that you can do things previously considered, difficult to impossible: shift an extended partition around, with a lot of data and not lose anything in the process, thankfully it was open sourced software that did the deed, I wouldn’t feel confident doing that with M$ junk and it would have costed, whereas Linux and Gparted are free.

Word to the wise, watch out for the drive assignment after the partition changes.

As for Windows 7, my advice is ignore the hype, wait for 6-9 months for the bug fixes to appear, instead download any one of the many great distros at distrowatch, and save a packet in the process.

Written by modernityblog

01/11/2009 at 21:11

11 Responses

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  1. 1. I beta tested Windows 7 its much better then vista and was shipped with no bugs. Although I am seeing a lot of failed upgrades due to a poor vista upkeep.

    2. “I had the misfortune to be forced to use a Vista installed laptop recently. It was a very nice piece of kit, a bit outdated by today’s ever changing standards, but as a 1.86Ghz Celeron it was fine for the work I used it for.” Ha I have a laptop running the exact same chip. Its the original centrino from 06! Bought vista horrible mistake it sits on the shelfs now. Windows 7 is better in performance. But XP is still best.

    3. Linux I’ve tryed ubuntu, kubuntu, fedora, and open suse. There all great but unfortunately I am tied to iTunes. Oh well.


    02/11/2009 at 02:07

  2. I am sure that Windows 7 will eventually work, and from all the reviews it seems a lot better than Vista, but the bar is at a low point. I wish I had remembered to download a RC, but now I wouldn’t want to pay a Microsoft tax when Linux does 98% of the jobs, well enough.

    I can’ speak to iTunes issue, but I would be surprised if there wasn’t a Linux solution.

    At the very worst, I’ll bet Wine probably works with it, but then Apple are a bit strange so you never know.

    I think whatever works for people. I am writing this reply from Mint, which is a lot nicer than straight Ubuntu.


    02/11/2009 at 02:49

  3. Ya I tryed mint its pretty nice, but ya there is no iTunes fix and iTunes via wine is still listed as garbage.


    02/11/2009 at 02:52

  4. Just looking, yeah, doesn’t look too good, they’ve upped it from garage to bronze 🙂


    02/11/2009 at 03:02

  5. @mod Bronze means it installs but otherwise does not work. Reading the comments it has audio, cd, and launch issues.


    02/11/2009 at 04:36

  6. Yeah 1.32 dev is not bril, but wait a while, Wine is coming along in leaps and bounds

    I suppose you can’t use amarok ?

    What I don’t miss under XP/Vista, etc is viruses, slow machines, crashes, hours to updates or IE.


    02/11/2009 at 04:42

  7. @mod amarok? no. As it can play the music but I cannot buy music/video/etc. Although I do plan to get an ipod touch this xmas the unfortunate thing is though the ipod needs to have a windows install for the updates to the ipod :/

    Viruses are actually harder to catch when you think about it. I use Firefox with the WoT toolbar, and don’t torrent. The only time I’ve had a virus issue is when a Google result pointed me a hijacked website.

    2nd. XP/Vista/W7 are now slow, the machines them selves are slow or outdated..or you have a really bad app developer.

    Crashes in XP/W7 are gone the last time I had an app crash,or a BSOD was in 07 when there was a major change to a game I was playing.

    IE…there is Firefox, chrome, safari for you :P.

    And hours of updates…uhuh :P. XP/Vista/W7 run on patch Tuesday which is the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Beyond that its extremely rare to get an out-of-cycle patch.

    Thats the one thing that also bugs me about linux is its constant update now available PER day.

    Phew. End of long text wall. Anyways if you want to keep the convo going just visit my blog and use the contact button.


    02/11/2009 at 04:52

  8. Windows 7 is much improved on Vista although I felt the new feature list was rather limited compared to when XP and Vista came out which had much more compared to previous versions.

    This said, I wont buy Windows 7 until its shipped with SP1 for the bugs to be ironed out.

    Vista has caused me nothing but frustration lol, I keep saying I am going to go back to XP, but I just jump on old PC rather than install XP on this newer one. It wont install SP2 for love nor money. Tried a downloaded version as well as Windows Update.

    Newer Windows version don’t show BSOD by default, they just like to reboot.

    I am not sure who’s clever idea was Vista on a laptop; Windows is very graphic intensive but Vista is even much more so, so unless you have an better than midrange computer you might as well switch off all the nice graphical features (I did because 1 in 3 my applications changed from the big min,max,close button style to the small one, then once closed reverting back)

    The biggest problem on my setup with Vista is the grab focus issue. I could be on Windows Live Messenger typing one moment fine, the next my input isn’t being accepted as the controls dont have focus. This is without touching anything (not alt tab, or mouse etc.)or having any other applications open.

    I also think Vista taskbar style is nasty, I have it doubled up so the rounded start menu button appears in full otherwise it looks dreadful. I hate that a lot of things isn’t backwards compatible although the compatibility mode exists (hence why i kept old PC as some applciations only work on it).

    I still not had any success with my dual channel ram as Vista can’t stand it and my belovered Firefox started using close to half my RAM and up to 80% CPU idle! I am now stuck with Opera…

    Flexible New Deal

    02/11/2009 at 16:43

  9. A lot of problems eh?

    Chrome uses less memory than FF, and more recent FF’s have been a bit better, if you switch off most plugins.

    I’ve switched off everything and made this Vista look as much like XP as I can..


    02/11/2009 at 17:36

  10. I have had vista in my sony laptop and it has been a complete dog- worse of all the drivers for the keyboard would never load fully and so it would take hours to type anything at all.
    I have downloaded windows7 from M$ for £30 on the student offer and it is a lot better- though I wouldn’t have paid more

    darren redstar

    06/11/2009 at 14:24

  11. Good stuff Darren, did you get an ISO copy (that’s an image of the operating system, which is burnt to disk and then used to install)?

    If not, I’d make one.

    If so, make an extra copy cos you might have to re-install Windows 7 again, you never can tell with M$ crap.

    If I were you’d I’d think about getting a spare laptop (a slow one will do, 1 Ghz or less) and try install SimplyMEPIS Linux as a experiment, you’ll see how fast old kit works with Linux.


    06/11/2009 at 16:51

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