Vista Performance – massive increase – search index

I run Vista SP2 on a Dell Latitude D630 with 2gig o ram. It’s been running like an old dog awakened from a nap on a hot summer day. Plenty of memory free, CPU just sittin there chilling but performance was awful. I tried many things to increase performance – disabling the sidebar, uninstalling startup items, disabling processes, switching Aero to Basic mode yadda yadda yadda. The whole Windows Magazine I’m a PC hacker! how to make things faster routine. Nothing worked. I suspected Office 2007 SP2 or Internut Exploder 7 as the culprits. When I opened many tabs in IE or more than one Excel spreadsheet the molasses grew cold, thick and relentless. IE7 is a pig. Excel 2007… seems I’m not alone with issues there. Tried running Firefox full time (good gawd Firefox is 27! maybe 28!! times faster than IE to load and run and does not impact other running apps!!!) and updating Office 2007 to SP2. No dice. Plenty of free CPU, disk and memory.

Sooo… I went old school. Downloaded a free defrag utility for Vista – Defraggler (Yes Vista “defrag” suxors). I cleaned up all files, caches and stupid downloads, disabled System Restore and removed all Restore Points (didn’t realize I needed 12gigs of restore points…) disabled virtual memory (System Managed Virtual memory can become very fragmented), rebooted and then deleted the page file (not sure why but the file stayed). I then ran defrag- wholly crimminy 24% fragmentation according to Defraggler. 24%… That’s with Vista set to defrag automagically. Once done I set a fixed 4gig Virtual Memory file and rebooted. Yeah well you already know defrag doesn’t really do much unless you’re in seriously seriously bad shape and sure nuff it didn’t do much for me. So over the next few weeks I had lots of time waiting on mouse actions to act and thought about a memory upgrade or about downgrading to XP or runnin Windows 7 Beta or Ubuntu or moving to my Leopard machine I use for proving that Entourage is not gods gift to email.

Then it happened. Search. I went to search for my Outlook PST mailfile. Nothing. Thanks Vista the malifile I’m reading mail from doesn’t exist,  why wouldn’t you make critical backups fun and exciting! So I went to look at my Indexing Options. Yes of course it’s not what or where think it is which makes it contiguous with the rest of Vista’s UI.  Go to -> Control Panels ->Indexing Options (hmmm so I “search” but my search prefs are called Indexing…). Ah yes! I’ve been here before in an effort to index more of my drive than the default Profiles and Startup Menu (you know cause they removed Run from the Start Menu so you can search for programs by typing…  nevermind) – I had added “Program Files” and “Windows” because I search for things other than Microsoft docs.   Then I see an item I cannot get rid of, looks like offline web files? file://internet explorer……..  very odd.  So on a whim I choose “reset to defaults”. Weird stuff indexed that I can’t get rid off, no PSTs indexed… why not! This of course requires a reboot… and will of course (non sarcastic of course) create a completely fresh index.

Boom.  Sonic BOOM.  BOOM! Like adding a NOS pack chaser to a quadruple shot espresso Boom.  Best change ever, never seen anything like it and have no idea why “Indexing Options” could place the entire system in such a sad state without any outward signs of  wild CPU, Memory or Disk use, and no indexing errors in Event Log files. Perhaps it’s like indexing in 2000 or XP where corruption of the index and system impact relating to it were common, common enough that Index as a default in 2000 was disabled in XP. Ideas anyone? The machine has a been running like a champ ever since. I even added PST files to the index!

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