This just in! The TuneUp Blog team has a very special update regarding our “200 programs” blog post series.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have discussed the fact that installing too many programs will destroy the performance of your computer. Check out our two original blog posts and see for yourself:
- In Part 1, we documented and benchmarked what happened to a clean, Windows 7 machine when we loaded it with 200 programs. The performance had decreased significantly in nearly every test we conducted.
- In Part 2, we uninstalled the 200 programs and benchmarked the PC again. We found out that, in some cases, the original performance had been restored, yet noticed a dramatic decrease in speed in other tests.
For the past week, we have used the same PC on a daily basis and encountered a lot of problems that we had not noticed before. Note: We did not change the system configuration or install any additional programs or drivers that might have caused some of these issues to happen.
Issue 1 – Weird pauses during file copy
When copying large video files from an HD camcorder and pictures from a DSLR camera, Windows 7 became basically unusable. The system froze for at least one minute during the copy operation; we could only move around the windows and click on the Start orb. Nothing else would work, such as opening a new tab in our Google Chrome browser.
This did not happen in the original configuration. We even performed a full rollback to the original clean image from December 2009 to confirm that this was the case.
Issue 2 – “Documents” and “Program Files” garbage
Even though we uninstalled all of the 200 programs properly, we found ten folders in our “Documents library” that did not belong there. The situation in the “Program Files” folder was even worse, with 51 folders of previously uninstalled programs still there. While there may be some settings left when you uninstall a program, in most cases, you don’t need these settings and residuals left on your hard disk. (A plea to all developers—give us the choice to fully uninstall programs, including all settings and folders.) Some programs do this, but as you can see, a quarter of all of the software we installed left unnecessary garbage on the hard disk.
Issue 3 – Remaining Start Menu folders
We were shocked when we opened “All Programs” in the Start Menu and found more than 20 leftover folders from the 200 programs; these were either empty or still filled up with orphaned shortcuts.
Issue 4 – Empty Control Panel
What we found was just plain weird: When we opened the Control Panel, the window stayed empty, something that had never happened before, with it only occurring in about one out of every five times we used the Control Panel. This was definitely a result of one of the 200 programs messing things up in the Windows registry.
Issue 5 – Weird noises during audio playback
Every now and then, while listening to music, we noticed that the audio would skip for two seconds. When this happened, we could hear a distorted, very loud, and unpleasant noise. Since we listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks on this specific machine, we can confirm with 100% certainty that this issue was not there before. Even installing the latest Realtek HD Audio driver did not make things better.
Issue 6 – Orphaned startup programs
When we opened “msconfig,” a built-in Windows tool to enable and disable Startup programs, we found several active entries of previously uninstalled programs such as ZoneAlarm, Explorer View, ICQ, and a mysterious “InstallShield” application that tries to start a “Setup.msi,” which didn’t even exist anymore.
Issue 7 – Huge temporary files
By accident, we noticed several very large temporary files (all ranging from a couple of kilobytes to several hundred megabytes) located in the “Windows\Temp” folder. We could not figure out where they came from but suspect a couple of program installers put them there. These files amounted to about 3.5 GByte worth of data.
Issue 8 – Start page changed to Yahoo
Some of the program installers changed Internet Explorer’s start page to Yahoo.com, which was not our original homepage.
Issue 9 – A new “Temp” folder on the hard disk
The program “ABBY FineReader 9.0″ put a folder called “temp” onto our C drive. This contains all of the files necessary to install FineReader. However, even though we removed FineReader 9 completely from our system, this folder still remained on the system drive.
Issue 10 – Spamihiliator still active
It was only after seven days that we discovered we had missed uninstalling one program called “Spamihiliator”. The simple reason is that this program did not put an entry in the “Programs” section of the Control Panel. The only entry with an “S” we found was the screenshot program Snagit.
In only seven days, we noticed all of these quirks and leftovers on the machine. What will we find next week? Next month? Next year? One thing has become clear—not only did the machine’s performance suffer quite a bit, but both the stability and disk space were ruined by the 200 programs. Also, thanks to all of the leftover folders, the machine felt “cluttered.” It was like living in an apartment that no one had cleaned for several weeks! Don’t forget to check back and read our evaluation of how well optimization suites can salvage the performance situation!
Read the next part of our 200 programs experiment – The truth: Can an optimization suite solve all Windows issues?
7 Responses to ““200 Programs” Revisited: Performance and Stability Update”
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- Performance Check: How 200 New Programs Slow Down Your PC (Part 2) » TuneUp Blog about Windows