This week I am going to talk about the lack of software in the weekly software review.  That’s right – the lack of it! You may be sitting there wondering which software item I am going to talk about, promote, or diss in some way shape or form, but instead of that, I actually want to talk about the general trending of software, hardware, and system resources.  Why?  Because we demand a lot from our computers these days.  Think about it – we want our computers to do many things from surfing the internet, to designing graphics, office functions, building websites, and yes, processing ever-increasing image file sizes.  At what point do we say we are asking enough of our computers?

Lately my main desktop computer had been getting slower and slower and slower, and it seemed no matter what I did whether it was beefing up the RAM, adding a faster hard drive, processor, or the like, and even re-installing the OS every 6 months – it was just getting pathetic.  At one point, I clocked abut 5 minutes for Firefox to start – on a fresh boot!  The culprit?  I am asking my computer to do too much.  I finally said enough is enough – and am re-purposing the computers in the house.  We have a grand total of five computers and each has a unique function:  from Office to web, to image processing, and podcasting.  And that’s just it – each computer has a task.  Yet I have not been disciplined about asking the computer to only perform its assigned task.  I revert to the one desktop and the one laptop.  The end result:  the systems s……l……o……w…… d……o……w……n…….

With a grand total of 78 programs at last count, it’s no wonder my cmputer was screaming “Mercy!”.  So, enough is enough.  I vowed to make each computer perform only one set of tasks, as explained above.  The end result:  removing about 50 applications from the main computer.  It took the better part of an evening (4 or 5 hours) but at the end, the computer is now screamingly fast again – and Firefox loads in seconds, not minutes.  The reason – purposing your computer for a specific software function.

So, instead of looking at adding new software all the time to your computers, you may want to take a look at the computer itself – is it doing the job you want, or are you asking too much?  Think about purposing your resources more efficiently.  Do you really need that HP 3600 printer driver on there from 4 years ago?  What about that trial version of Elements you downloaded a few months ago?  And the 4 instances of Tweetdeck you have there?  Really?  Clean out your software and watch your computer performance increase a notch or two as a result.  It’s just like us humans – we can get more done when we’re asked to do less all the time!  We’re faster, more productive, and yes, more focused on the task at hand.

So, check that installed software list and try cleaning things out from time to time – your computer will thank you!

Happy shooting and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!

10 thoughts on “The Un-review Software

  1. It has been a long known fact that you have to perform a complete format and reinstall of Windows every 6 months to maintain any kind of speed on a PC. That is why I always have two hard drives in a Windows based system; one for the OS and applications, the second for all my files. That way, every 6 months I can just wide and reinstall the OS and applications without having to back up files and all that mess. Not only that, I keep all my installers, CD Keys, and all that on my second drive so I don’t have to do a whole lot to get my system back up to speed.

    There are also other things that need to be considered with the speed of your computer. Bring up your task manager and look at all the processes that are currently running. Do you know what each one is? Keep a list next to your computer or a spreadsheet that lists all of them. Check it weekly. If you see one that isn’t on your list, Google it and make sure it is supposed to be there. Many people have programs running that they don’t even know about… especially people who buy OEM computers from Dell, Compaq, and the like. Those things are loaded with junk.

    There is also the bloat that comes with the OS; especially Vista. Clean all that junk out. If you want to run Vista then get Windows 2008 Server instead. It is Vista without all the bloat. You can easily convert it over to running for a desktop which is what I do for my Windows machine. It runs beautifully.

    There is really no need to have a different computer for each task. I have many computers that do different things but most are servers so they kind of have to be stand alone – single purpose. But the two I use like normal computer users would use are a MacBook Pro and the Windows Server 2008 desktop that I mentioned above. Once every few weeks I spend 20 minutes cleaning them up and they continue to run great. So I guess what this huge long comment is trying to say is I disagree with you on the topic. 🙂

    1. Yeah, it’s just unfortunate you have to wipe/install Windows every 6 months. But even as adept I am at doing that, wanting to edit images, peruse a library, play some music and check email is choking this computer. (It’s slated to be wiped and re-purposed tonight…)

  2. Marc Benton says:

    I’ve recently come to the same conclusion. I’m in the middle of rebuilding another computer just for Lightroom since my main computer cannot seem to handle it. It will be nice to be able to separate my work from my photography too.

  3. 3 years into having my Macbook Pro with me it’s finally slowed down a bit. When I process photos now things creep along. Of course, I’ve moved from dealing with RAW files off a 40D to dealing with RAW from a 5D Mark II. I have to remind myself that the files are bigger, processing will take longer.

    And yes, cleaned up a lot on the system, freed up drive space, etc. Ah well, I’m hoping we can get to 4 years before considering a total system upgrade. 🙂

  4. I generally do a complete re-install of everything I need about e very 18 months or so. This process includes me NOT installing all the things that no longer need or use. It usually works a treat.

  5. I pared down to seven user apps, removed dozens of Systems apps and utilities, and am using Google apps where possible. The quantity of support files were mind boggling. Did you know Adobe hides a full install of Opera in the package contents of Bridge? The mindset of operating systems engineers is simply to make more demands on the hardware.

  6. That KIND of works, except when you’ve been adding/deleting programs off it for years. Then you get to the stage where you have to rebuild it from scratch in order to get those performance gains! Sadly, I’m there with three of MY five computers…

  7. I am nutty about keeping the system clean, my wife and kids are scared to touch my computer, they each have a laptop to fuss with.

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