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Long Term System Stability?


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#1
NoelC

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My workstation stays on 24/7, so as to do backups and other maintenance at night, and I use hell out of it during the day.  For much of today I had probably 50 applications open, including heavyweights such as Visual Studio, Photoshop, VMware workstation, and bunches of others.

 

I got to thinking, and I honestly can't remember the last system crash I had.  I think it may have been last year some time or maybe in 2012 when I got a bad display driver update from ATI.  They've gotten a lot better about releasing higher quality drivers in the past year.

 

At this point my system just runs and runs - most days I don't even log it off; I just the screens power down when I leave it alone for 10 minutes (which isn't often).  At the moment it's been running flawlessly 10 days 5 hours since the last Windows Updates, per Task Manager.  I expect it will continue to run fine until the next set comes from Microsoft and Windows Update requires another reboot.

 

I have to say, it's nice to have gotten to a state where Windows is stable enough to do everything I need without question, and just keep on ticking.  I had this situation with Windows 7, and now with Windows 8.1.  I sure can't complain.

 

Remember the bad ol' days a decade or two ago, when the OS was designed to need periodic reboots?

 

I'm curious - do you leave your Windows 8 system on and do find it to be stable long term?

 

-Noel




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#2
jaclaz

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With all due respect for Windows 7 (and somehow less for 8/8.1 ;)), I have never had issues with NT 4.00, with Windows 2000 and not even with XP.

Overall in my personal experience (runnning 24/7 over many years)  - which does not include Vista/7/8/8.1 - I would still rate Windows 2000 as the most stable OS I ever experienced, but slightly so if compared to XP, and if I had a crash, it was due to some stupid driver (or failed/failing hardware).

http://www.msfn.org/...ions/?p=1022946

 

So, happy :) about your "crashless" experience with 8.1, but I (respectfully) disagree :w00t: with your comparison with crashes of one decade ago, which are something that I have failed to notice, maybe we could talk of those around two decades ago, which - due to the accelerated passing of time in computers would be IMNSHO comparing the reliability of - say - a 2014 Lexus against that of a Model T:

http://www.newyorker...currentPage=all

 

jaclaz



#3
NoelC

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Let me start by acknowledging your good experience, Jaclaz, and to say that I generally agree with your viewpoints.

 

And we have to recognize that different people do different things with Windows.  The same people do different things with Windows than they did back in the past.  And different computers have different levels of quality.

 

I've been striving to create the "perfect engineering workstation" since the 1970s.  At the engineering offices in which I've worked (think "Dilbert"), we never had a Windows OS before XP that would run a long time under heavy interactive use, no matter how well set up or tweaked.  No need to even mention pre-NT systems, which often needed multiple reboots a day, though we did find ways to use them effectively. 

 

Our collective experience was that, though MUCH better designed, NT and then Windows 2000 would simply corrupt themselves within hours under heavy use and either crash or need a reboot after some resource became exhausted and things would just stop working right.  By contrast, our servers, running Server or NT or 2000 would actually run and run for months reliably.  Why?  Because hardly anyone ever logged into them interactively, and they were really expensive hardware. 

 

But our workstations, quite high quality Windows $5K to $10K machines, when used to do serious engineering and pushed hard would inevitably fail and need a fresh boot in as little as a few hours.  One could barely do really big operations with them  without some kind of glitch(e.g., processing or transferring hundreds of megabytes of data, which was a big amount back then).  We had to invent incremental file copy programs with read-back verification just so big multidirectory copies could be retried and retried until the sets of data were copied without error.  Bad old days indeed by comparison today.  And yes, we always used NTFS since it came out.

 

Sure, XP came along and made that light years better - systems used to be able to go days without a reboot, and sure enough you could often process hundreds of megabytes of data without problems, BUT...  Inevitably a reboot was still needed when resource leaks led it to failure.  And occasionally it would just blue screen.  XP was simply not a system with which to reliably work for days and process gigabytes of data.  Even XP x64, though much better (I used it for years), was limited.

 

But with later Vista, then Windows 7 and newer and the advent of 64 bit processing, one can just work, and crunch through terabytes of data without any trouble.  The newest systems have fundamentally more reliability.  It's a simple truth.

 

It's inevitable that stuff nowadays has to become better programmed and tested - machines are simply so much faster and capable of storing so much more data than their predecessors the same software from yesteryear that ran for days would run into the ground in minutes on a modern computer.  It's saying a lot when a machine runs for weeks or months now.  And I'm still talking about under hard use - not just sitting there.

 

Oh, and I still do run XP almost daily, in virtual machines.  I regularly test software in that environment.  Even well tweaked and kept fully updated to the point of Microsoft's abandonment, it's simply not as stable a system as Win 7 and 8.

 

People often dis the most recent Windows versions, and with a lot of good reasons - Microsoft has made many blunders with the UI and with their choices of what to package into it, all in pursuit of our wallets.  They seem to want it to be a toy.  But one thing they've done is make the kernel stable.  Perhaps it's just because they haven't really changed the NT core all that much in recent times.

 

If set up well, Windows 8.1 can be super stable - a base for a quite useful workstation.

 

Uptime_05_24_2013.png

 

-Noel



#4
MagicAndre1981

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[OT]

 

you should install the VS2013 Update 2 to be fully up2date

 

[/OT]


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#5
jaclaz

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I don't know. :unsure:

I have run (or actually have assisted running) in the good ol' days several (at the time) "high" end graphical workstations for technical designing/drawing (think Bentley, Autocad, 3d Studio and similar) running NT 4.00 or Windows 2000 and never experienced that kind of issues.

Maybe the size of files was not that big, and surely the machines were "top quality" (think Adaptec SCSI controllers and 10,000 or 15,0000 RPM disks) but never had issues of relevance (fresh boot needed in a few hours work).

Maybe we were less advanced :w00t: in engineering or just plain lucky ;).

 

jaclaz



#6
NoelC

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Most of our users didn't see failures either.  I was always the one who had to label entire baselines of files, or build entire systems from hundreds of thousands of source files, or copy monstrous databases across the country.  I tended (and still tend) to demand more of my systems than most.  I just finished another 14 hour day madly coding graphics software, including GPU shader programming, SSE2 optimizations (it's fun to make something run 50% faster), and good ol' C language (also still fun), and my Win 8.1 system just did everything I wanted.  This is the best OS setup I've had bar none.  I even noticed my I/O subsystem got faster with one of the latest updates.  It's back to being about to what it was with Win 7 after having lost 10% or so of its speed in Win 8.1.

 

And thanks, Andre - I've been putting off installing the update owing to not having a spare moment.  Maybe I can get it done tonight...

 

-Noel



#7
MikeRL

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I had a lot of issues with Windows in general, but then I permanently stopped using registry cleaners about a year ago (including the ones built into System Mechanic and Advanced System Care) and only removed registry entries while uninstalling with third party uninstallers, or manually in regedit. No automated "cleaning" the registry. Oftentimes it would mess up Windows update, the Windows Store, and I proved that it broke Windows search. It likely caused many BSODs. Not worth using at all. Every other maintenance operation seems to help, though. Besides the occasional driver update issues leading to BSODs, no more ridiculous crashes. Trust me saving a little bit of registry space isn't worth screwing over your install. I learned that the hard way. But defragging the registry is a great idea. Heck now Windows and Linux both rarely crash, and when either does, it's almost always a driver issue with manufacturer drivers or Xorg. Also don't use an antivirus on Linux or Android unless you have say a highly valuable target (like a server). On Windows 8.1 Defender kicks serious butt. I use Avast, but after a new Windows release I recommend waiting at least a month or a few minor updates or best yet until the next major version of said antivirus if it's third party. I patch my hosts file from the MVPS site, use Malwarebytes, and always update Windows with the latest updates. All updates from security to non-security. I keep my virus definitions and anti-malware definitions updated. I update all third party software with the help of SUMO. I have disabled stuff such as remote assistance unless I need it. I leave UAC on, Windows smartscreen, etc. all on. I have turned on every setting in IE11 related to anything dealing with Enhanced Protected Mode and 64 bit on, even though I mainly use Firefox. Have an ad blocker, WOT, and plugins set to click to play in Firefox. Equivalent settings in IE. I also don't linger on old Windows versions. And I try to always be on 7 or up on public computers. At home, since 7, I have always stayed on the latest. Vista left a bad taste in my mouth due to it not being polished, it's hefty system requirements, and driver issues since I used a Desktop that came with XP at the time. I also use a lot of common sense and dual boot between Windows and Linux. I pay for a good VPN service, too. Although all the above steps would likely cause breakage in an enterprise/work environment, I wish consumers were this secure with their personal computers. I find it funny that I'm more bleeding edge and secure than most people that only use Windows. I thought I'd never use Microsoft products again, but then I saw 7 and despite the tablet UI on 8, I tweaked things with StartisBack and Aero Glass by bigmuscle, and walla, UI inefficiencies averted. Under the hood it feels to me that Windows versions are getting to be rock solid and secure like Linux. They're almost about equal. Depends on needs and preferences. I believe in a few versions Windows will still have shortcomings compared to Linux, but Linux may have a shortcoming or two compared to Windows. Microsoft isn't the big bad evil monopoly of yesterday so much anymore. Now that they compete, they've earned back my respect and business.

Speech over.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

Edited by MikeRL, 25 May 2014 - 09:31 AM.


#8
MagicAndre1981

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But defragging the registry is a great idea.
 

 

no. why do you think this?


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#9
MikeRL

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Because it seems to get fragmented over time and I've never had a single issue defragging it. Also correct me if I'm wrong or if things have changed, but I thought MS even said it was a good idea and developed a utility for doing so or distributed one on MSDN or one of their sites for doing so. At least in the XP days.

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Edited by MikeRL, 25 May 2014 - 09:36 AM.


#10
shae

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If you consider hibernation+wakeup leaving on, then sure. I have Win8 on for extended periods. But it's no different from XP.

By the way, although I did have to restart occasionally, and I never left the computer on for extended periods because I turned it off every day, I never felt hindered by Win9x. In many ways it was more responsive and consistent in how it worked than NTs.

#11
jaclaz

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Usual NT based vs. DOS based Windows , NTFS vs. FAT32, Godzilla vs. King Kong flamewar in 5,4 3, 2, 1 ....0. :w00t: :ph34r:

 

jaclaz



#12
MrMaguire

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Very nice thread, I'm really enjoying this discussion.

@NoelC Random Question: Do you still have a use for floppy disks?



#13
NoelC

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Heh heh heh, nope.  Haven't had a floppy drive - even a 3-1/2 incher, since 2006.

 

I take that back...  One day maybe I'll dig my old Sol 20 (8080 system) I built in the '70s out of the closet and see if it still runs.  I have a couple of 8 inch floppies for that to boot CP/M. I certainly won't need any more though.  :angel

 

Ran Visual Studio 2013 with Update 2 all day today, collaborating with a colleague long distance via Skype and RAdmin, and we blazed through a few thousand lines of C code (including some slick shader code; it's fun to make a GPU sing).  Everything's running great.  Not a glitch, not a lost data byte.  When I needed the computer to work, it worked.  I don't worry whether something's going to go wrong.  It's nice to be able to really rely on a system like this.

 

Uptime11Days.png

 

Oh, and a note to MikeRL:  You do NOT need to (nor should you) manipulate your registry via a "defragger" application.

 

-Noel



#14
MikeRL

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What specific harm can come of defragging the registry? I've Googled and found no answers. I have had no issues resulting from defragging it thus far. And I've been doing so for years. Never heard of defragging to be harmful on a hard drive. I backup the registry often enough, anyhow.

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#15
jaclaz

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Hmmm. :unsure:

 

The Registry is a database.

A filesystem is a form of database.

The Registry is also (can be seen as) a filesystem.

 

Filesystems are defragmented as an "ordinary" maintenance task (with the exception of the Ext2/3/4 because they are so smart that it is not needed [1]).

 

Databases are compacted (please read as defragmented) as an "ordinary" maintenance task (no exceptions that I know of).

 

If compacting (please read as defagmenting) the Registry is a bad thing, then compacting a database is also a very bad thing to do, as well as defragmenting a filesystem. :unsure:

 

The good MS guys post deceiving information, then:

http://support.micro...kb/288631/en-us

 

Sent from my common i386 PC using Opera 12.15 and bragging about it.

 

jaclaz

 

[1] At least this has been *true* until the good Linux guys exited, after several years, "denial mode" and some defragmenting tools for the Ext2/3/4 filesystem wre made available.


Edited by jaclaz, 26 May 2014 - 07:03 AM.


#16
TELVM

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... If compacting (please read as defagmenting) the Registry is a bad thing, then compacting a database is also a very bad thing to do, as well as defragmenting a filesystem. :unsure: ...

 

Any takers for this gauntlet? :whistle:



#17
jaclaz

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Naah, that is not at all a gauntlet, it is just a set of statements.

 

This (point 7, specifically) may be interesting to challenge:

http://rwmj.wordpres...ks-technically/

As well as this one :whistle::

http://reboot.pro/to...s-a-filesystem/

 

Though they may make it even harder to choose an approach....

 

I mean, choose one ;):

  1. IF the Registry is a database, then it makes sense to compact (please read as defragment) it periodically.
  2. IF the Registry is BOTH a database AND a filesystem, it makes sense to compact (please read as defragment) it periodically.
  3. IF the Registry is NOT a database, BUT ONLY a filesystem, then it makes even more sense to defragment it periodically.

 

jaclaz



#18
MrMaguire

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Heh heh heh, nope.  Haven't had a floppy drive - even a 3-1/2 incher, since 2006.

 

I take that back...  One day maybe I'll dig my old Sol 20 (8080 system) I built in the '70s out of the closet and see if it still runs.  I have a couple of 8 inch floppies for that to boot CP/M. I certainly won't need any more though.  :angel

 

Ran Visual Studio 2013 with Update 2 all day today, collaborating with a colleague long distance via Skype and RAdmin, and we blazed through a few thousand lines of C code (including some slick shader code; it's fun to make a GPU sing).  Everything's running great.  Not a glitch, not a lost data byte.  When I needed the computer to work, it worked.  I don't worry whether something's going to go wrong.  It's nice to be able to really rely on a system like this.

 

Uptime11Days.png

 

Oh, and a note to MikeRL:  You do NOT need to (nor should you) manipulate your registry via a "defragger" application.

 

-Noel

 

I can't help but notice that you have 48GB of RAM and dual Intel Xeon processors. I assume you're running a workstation of some kind?



#19
NoelC

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MrMaguire, I have a Dell Precision T5500.  It's a simply awesome machine.  The Xeons are Westmeres, which are getting a bit old by Intel's Tick/Tock standards, but they're the top-of-the-line Westmeres so they're as powerful as all but the near top of the line newest chips.  The RAM is ECC.  This is rock solid hardware, and it complements the solid OS reliability nicely.

 

My point of view regarding running programs on your registry are as follows:

 

1.  It's not a regular maintenance task that Windows provides - even today.

 

2.  Something that reorganizes a database is arguably more likely to corrupt the database than not doing it at all.

 

If you find that defragging your registry is helpful, and you've developed practices that include doing so, more power to you.  I have never defragged a registry and my systems simply do not slow down over time.  I've never sensed a need, and I'd argue that I do as much with Windows as anyone - though clearly different stuff.  I don't make a practice of installing and uninstalling stuff on my main workstation - I do that kind of work in VMs, though to be honest I have test VMs that are 5+ years old and which I HAVE installed tons of stuff in the process of testing that haven't shown any signs of loading up either.

 

-Noel



#20
HarryTri

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From my experience defragging registry is harmless if you use a good tool but the space you gain is usually insignificant. 


I always love Windows XP!


#21
MrMaguire

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MrMaguire, I have a Dell Precision T5500.  It's a simply awesome machine.  The Xeons are Westmeres, which are getting a bit old by Intel's Tick/Tock standards, but they're the top-of-the-line Westmeres so they're as powerful as all but the near top of the line newest chips.  The RAM is ECC.  This is rock solid hardware, and it complements the solid OS reliability nicely.

 

Ooh. I would have bet that it was a Dell Precision Workstation of some kind. I have a Dell Precision 380 myself, with a 2.8GHz Pentium D and 2GB of ECC DDR2 (Which I'm hoping to upgrade to 8GB). That's what I'm running XP Pro x64 on and I love it. I got this computer used and quite frankly I'd rather have old quality hardware than something more powerful but perhaps less durable and rugged. After a full day of messing with vmWare player and other things, Windows still seems to be perfectly happy, but I do shut it down every night.


Edited by MrMaguire, 28 May 2014 - 04:47 PM.


#22
NoelC

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By the way, I've had two old Precision 470s just die in the past year - one after a 1 hour power outage (longer than its UPS could run it) and the other just while running.  Apparently there was some capacitor problem in that model.  I'm not sure whether that same issue might be in your 380 - it's one model newer.

 

I noticed that when I took apart the 470s all the plastic parts were extremely brittle, and most catches, hold-downs, etc., just broke.  I would have thought they were built better, but I got a reality check from that.

 

Oh, and it's been another day of computer usage on this boot and still no glitches.  It's a magical time for WIndows 8.1 stability.

 

Uptime_05_30_2014.png

 

-Noel


Edited by NoelC, 30 May 2014 - 05:35 PM.


#23
MrMaguire

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Thanks for the heads up, Noel. I haven't looked to see what brand and series of capacitors my Precision 380 has, but I'll make sure to do some looking around on the internet at least, so I can see as to whether or not it was a real problem.

 

A Google search regarding the Precision 470 returned this thread on badcaps.net. Apparently Dell used a bad series of Nichicon capacitors and supposedly redesigned the 'board with solid state capacitors later on.

 

It's interesting that the plastic parts became brittle. I've heard of that happening to (mostly) old beige coloured plastics that are exposed to lots of heat and UV light, such as the Super Nintendo.


Edited by MrMaguire, 01 June 2014 - 08:41 PM.


#24
NoelC

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27 days uptime since the May Windows Updates, zero glitches.

 

But it won't see 28 - the June Windows Updates are here and a reboot will be required.

 

Uptime27Days.png

 

-Noel



#25
TELVM

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... my Precision 380 ...

 

Interesting relic, looks like BTX form factor:

 

Spoiler

 

To prevent the plastics from melting and the lythic caps from busting I'd enforce cooling by laying a 92~120mm (the larger that fits) extractor fan at the rear grill, cutting the grill inside its swept area to maximize flow. Something like this:

 

Spoiler






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