Even a chimp can write code

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Joel Spolsky's brush with Vista's SuperFetch

In a scathing post on the new Safari 3 for Windows, Joel remarks how slow the browser is while starting up. He likens Apple's performance claims as reality distortion, but later makes an update saying:
The more I run Safari on Vista, the faster it launches. Am I hallucinating? Is there a cosmic force that means just when I complain about Safari taking 57 seconds to launch, as soon as that complaint is made public, it launches much more quickly? Am I going insane? Or is someone playing a clever prank on me?

Well Joel, you're not going insane. Ironically this is Microsoft's Windows Vista coming to Safari's rescue. You see, Windows Vista has a little known feature called SuperFetch, which
enables programs and files to load much faster than they would on Windows XP–based PCs.

When you're not actively using your computer, background tasks—including automatic backup programs and antivirus scans—run when they will least disturb you. These background tasks can take up system memory space that your programs had been using. On Windows XP–based PCs, this can slow progress to a crawl when you attempt to resume work.

SuperFetch monitors which applications you use the most and preloads these into your system memory so they'll be ready when you need them. Windows Vista also runs background programs, like disk defragmenting and Windows Defender, at low priority so that they can do their job but your work always comes first.

The Windows team has figured out that the more you use something, the more you must like it and the easier and faster it should be to load. But you won't see that in a Microsoft ad.

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