The Nlite-d Compaq revisited

I installed antivirus software on the Compaq today. As expected, it weighed things down–boot time doubled, to 40 seconds, and memory usage approximately doubled, to 212 MB.

I can’t do much about the memory usage. But half the system memory is still available for apps, which should be fine. Upgrading the memory is always an option for the future. The boot time was fixable.I ran Jk-Defrag, which is probably my favorite utility now. Full optimization didn’t take long on a system with so little on it. I used the option -a7 to sort by filename, which works surprisingly well.

To help the memory usage a little, I yanked the Microsoft Office stub out of the startup group. All that does is preload some of Office at boot time, so Office apps load faster. But modern hardware negates it. With that running, Word loads in about two seconds. Without it, Word loads in about two seconds. Windows XP’s prefetching gives the same benefit for free, so there’s no point in wasting memory on the Office startup piece.

The two changes dropped the boot time to 30 seconds, which is pretty good, especially on a conventional drive. A minute is typical for a stock Windows XP system, even on new hardware. Solid-state drive manufacturers brag about how their products can boot XP in 30 seconds.

I wonder how fast they’d boot if they’d been installed off my Windows CD?

Memory usage and boot time will jump some more when it comes time to actually use the system–scanner drivers and digital camera software need memory and take time to load. But that’s OK. My goal was just to reduce the overhead somewhat, since antivirus software is an absolute requirement these days, and its overhead is only going to go up. I ran across a year-old stash of virus definition files recently, and today’s files are more than 50% larger. The number of viruses out there is growing, and they are becoming more complex.

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