Last Summer I treated myself to a new Dell laptop (Inspiron 1525). Fully loaded with a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo and 3GB of RAM – a reasonable beast by any grade. I’m not a gamer so I didn’t beef up the graphics but it came with a decent enough setup so I was pretty sure that Eclipse, Word, Excel and my usual apps wouldn’t cause too much hassle. Up until about 2 weeks ago the machine was running fine and without any real incident. However, it then started to slow down to no end. Apps took noticeably longer to load (no, not the it’s an old PC now mindset problem 😉 ) and typing was nearly impossible. Huge delays between hitting a key and the character appearing on the screen, sometimes problems with scrolling too. I had no idea as to what was wrong – completely stumped. I rarely doubt hardware in such situations and it turns out that I was right to do so. Following a bit of laboured internet searching and such I discovered that disabling Aero would yield significant benefits in Windows Vista. Crikey! What a difference it did make!! My laptop is like new, if not faster!
Now this was a pre-installed Vista laptop purchased from Dell with 3GB of RAM, well capable of running Vista and it did when I first booted it up. However, something happened in the last 2 weeks, possibly an update by Microsoft that made Aero swamp my system to a state whereby I could no longer type. I would like to note that disabling Aero and going for Vista Basic appearance was the only change I made – pretty conclusive in my book. CPU idling performance has dropped from 10%+ to between 1% and 3% max. Now that’s more like it. Why do these things happen? Although I guess that the real question is how are these things allowed to happen?