Saturday, February 21, 2009

System performance: fear and loathing.

My mother ship is a three year old Dell laptop, too big to really use on my lap:

Inspiron ME051
Intel Celeron M processor
1.40GHz1.40 GHz, 504 MB of RAM
WindowsXP home version 2002Service Pack 3

Nothing fancy. It has been sluggish so against all my better judgement and instincts I decided to check some stuff. I have long since abandoned any inclination to really understand this stuff. I just want it to work. Is that asking too much?

I had been using the Google Chrome browser and suspected that it may have been a factor so today I used good old Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0.5730.11IC Cipher Strength: 128-bit. That certainly inspires, if not confidence, at least a sense of fear and loathing that only Microsoft could accomplish.

Windows Task Manager Processes shows iexplore.exe Mem Usage at 335meg! That's way more than half my RAM.

There are five tabs open, none doing anything unusual.

Who knew that a browser would take up that much RAM? I did not.

Windows Task Manager Performance shows that 88meg of Kernal Memory is paged and
27meg nonpaged. I didn't even know there was Kernal Memory and would not have expected that it would be paged. I thought that the kernal was inviolable and that it was none of my concern. No wonder things grind to a halt if I run google earth along with a browser.

I had deleted and defragged a few months ago in anticipation of establishing a dual boot for Windows or Linux.

I really don't want to do more than determine if I can buy more RAM from Dell and see if that does the trick. I understand that personal computers are not appliances and that I am running a seven year old operating system. But there must be something simpler. Almost all of what I do is online. I am not running Photoshop. I am not editing video. I just want to do e-mail and browse. That's why I bought that Acer netbook. It has twice the RAM of my large Dell laptop and no moving parts, only solid state memory for the hard drive function. I would much rather have more RAM than one of those obscenely over sized hard drives.

There was an old joke about when a Cadillac ran out of gas that you bought a new one. The personal computer is much closer to that than people want to admit.

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