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Windows Operating Systems Software

XP Service Pack Slows Programs 464

Posted by michael
from the strange-definition-of-fix dept.
AEton writes "Vnunet and others are reporting that Windows XP's Service Pack 1 has introduced a flaw into the operating system. Changes to memory handling code result in programs which often allocate memory (which is many of them) can take up to ten times longer than normal to start. Microsoft has acknowledged the problem in Q815411, and while a patch is available by request from Microsoft Product Services, it will not be widely released until Service Pack 2."
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XP Service Pack Slows Programs

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  • by worst_name_ever (633374) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:20PM (#5620721)
    ...In the meantime, Microsoft suggests you refrain from running programs which use memory. Thank you for your patience.
    • Go developers! Boycot M$... Just made your programs allocate large ammounts of memory!

      On a second tought, perhaps that's what M$ programs are already doing...
    • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @01:40AM (#5621222)
      Well, Bill said 640K of memory is enough for most people, so I guess M$ it taking that as a design goal and ooptimizing their OS for things that don't need more RAM than that
    • Jeez, learn to read (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fm6 (162816) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @01:57AM (#5621260) Homepage Journal
      It's a cute joke, but...
      This problem may occur if the programs you run frequently allocate and deallocate large blocks of memory. Changes in Windows XP SP1 in the memory management system have caused this operation to take significantly longer than with pre-SP1 Windows XP.
      It's "frequently allocate and deallocate large blocks of" not just "allocate". This is not a small nit to pick, especially for Linux people. For years, GNU libc had a memory leak bug that was triggered by frequent allococation and deallocation of small blocks of memory. It only became an issue back in 2000, when Borland ported their component libraries to Linux.
      • by jhylkema (545853) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @02:21AM (#5621318)

        (This is rhetorical and not meant as a troll.)

        Mein Gott!

        The poster criticized a Microsoft competitor and didn't get modded into oblivion? The poster deigned to utter a discouraging word on /. about an open-source product and got away with it? What is this world COMING TO?!? C'mon, libc is perfect in every way and when a fully-functioning HURD kernel is released in 2060 or so, it's gunna be awesome!

  • HAHA (Score:5, Funny)

    by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:26PM (#5620743) Homepage Journal
    It looks like the pirates who weren't allowed to upgrade to SP1 have gotten the last laugh. Piracy does pay! Thanks MS, for pointing this out.
    • Re:HAHA (Score:5, Funny)

      by bonch (38532) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:44PM (#5620820)
      Pirates everywhere are outraged that the hard work they put into downloading, spreading, and cracking Windows XP in order to install SP1 has resulted in another bizarre Microsoft bug.

      "I sat and ran my key generator for up to 20 minutes before I was able to get a valid key! Then I had to reactive Windows and change the key to install SP1," said one anonymous source. "But if errors like this are the results of all the effort I put into providing slipstreamed SP1 installs on eMule and USENET, Microsoft has definitely lost another customer."

      Efforts are underway to convert pirated Windows installations to free alternatives in order to reduce costs and save time. "I don't have to download BlueKey to upgrade a few RPMS. Once XP's SP2 beta leaks onto the net, you can bet I won't be so forgiving next time when I crack it."
  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:26PM (#5620745)
    This is really just more anti-Microsoft Slashdot FUD. After all, this only affects programs that allocate memory.

    Programmers can easily work around this bug by returning right after printf("Hello World") finishes.

  • by TheBigOh(n) (618100) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:26PM (#5620746)
    Now I know why they call them service packs rather than upgrades. Apparently Microsoft doesn't even trust themselves.
  • Whoo! Good thing I never installed SP1.

    (actually, it's because I'm using XP with that pirated serial number that SP1 kindly "de-activates" for you)

  • by Rick the Red (307103) <.Rick.The.Red. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:28PM (#5620748) Journal
    You have to pay for Microsoft Product Support Services. From Knowledge Base Article 815411: "In special cases, charges that are ordinarily incurred for support calls may be canceled if a Microsoft Support Professional determines that a specific update will resolve your problem." May be canceled. Or maybe not. So it's entirely up to Microsoft whether or not to charge you for the fix to a problem they admit having! Of all the nerve.

    Avoid Service Pack 1, or better yet, avoid Windows.

    • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:51PM (#5620857)
      "So it's entirely up to Microsoft whether or not to charge you for the fix to a problem they admit having! Of all the nerve."

      Welcome to Microsoft's new "Captive Audience" pricing plan.

      Remember kids, this is why monopolies that abuse their powers are bad.
      • by mentin (202456) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:30AM (#5621006)
        It is Oracle which uses the "Captive Audience" pricing plan - their user do have sign for service agreement (and pay for it) to download service packs and even security fixes.

        Microsoft at least releases the fixes free.

        • "Microsoft at least releases the fixes free."

          The title of this thread suggests otherwise, but even if we ignore this you're forgetting the cost of mandatory upgrades. I somehow doubt Microsoft would blatently refuse to support NT 4 before its end-of-life if it had to worry about competitors.
    • by Qrlx (258924)
      You've obviously never worked with PSS. If you want this hotfix, they will give it to you for free. You call PSS, say "I'm calling a known issue, Q so-and-so." They email you the hotfix in WinZip format and the password to unzip it.

      They also helped me for free when I couldn't get Visual Studio .NET to install. About a thirty minute call there, including my callback to the support engineer.

      Knock MS all you want, PSS is pretty effective.
      • You've obviously never worked with PSS. If you want this hotfix, they will give it to you for free. You call PSS, say "I'm calling a known issue, Q so-and-so." They email you the hotfix in WinZip format and the password to unzip it.

        And you're obviously and MCSE.
        WinZip format....when will you paper engineers ever learn?
        • I have come across zip files that would only open in winzip. And he could very well mean a self-extracting archive.

          Honestly, how is this flamebait insightful? Parent was more insightful despite the possible (or probable) typo regarding the format of the file.

          This place is going to hell, I swear. If we're going to quibble about minor mistakes instead of focusing on the thrust of the arguments, then I could waste another three lines pointing out the ones you made in your post.
  • I'm amazed they don't say it's not fixable and to wait and upgrade to Windows XP2 (or whatever the hell they call it when it comes out)...

    Of course the other option is for 3rd party tools to come out that fix the bug in windows with an active patch (ie, patch the memory while it's running) and charge 49.95 for it... those memory doublers and optimizers from the windows 3.1 days come to mind....
  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:28PM (#5620751) Journal
    Both Openoffice and Mozilla have slowed down quite alot with the latest security updates from Microsoft.

    When I open openoffice is just sits there doing nothing for like 20 seconds and then launched. No excess cpu overhead or anything. It just stalls and then runs. Its just annoying and I wonder if its a conspiracy theory.

    Has anyone else noticed this?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      It definitely is a conspiracy theory.
    • by archen (447353) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:45PM (#5620829)
      Is it possible to tell if Mozilla runs slower? That's like determining the exact second the paint started to peel ;)
    • by randyest (589159) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:57PM (#5620882) Homepage
      Yes, I have, a lot! I even have some very informal and unscientific benchmark results (counting 1-mississippi, 2-mississippi, . . after the double click until load) because not long before SP1 came along I was testing my system to see if changing my BIOS RAM timing made any diff on prg load times. It didn't, but I scratched the MS times (that's the state abbrev for mississippi, BTW, which I am quite tired of typing already) on some paper that, as they so often do, stayed on my desk past it's useful life.

      After installing SP1 I immediately noticed longer load times. The load times are all, consistently, still the same, and noticeably longer than XP (pro, BTW) before SP1, which I used for almost a year (more?). I really started to take for granted sub-1s ie load times. Sigh. Anyway, here are the data:

      ie: 1 MS max, every time. with SP1: 3-4 MS, depending on what else is up

      adobe premiere 6.5: 7-9 MS, with SP1: 18-25 MS

      excel xp with a 16MB spreadsheet (loaded from a shortcut to the sheet file): 20-25 MS. with SP1: 60-90 MS.

      DVArchive (replay tv simulator, all in JAVA 1.4.1, a very slow-loading monkey): 30-35 MS. with SP1: 90-100 or tired of counting MS.

      This sucks. Especially now that I know why, for the following reason. Before, I simply attributed the slow down to the mysterious hardware and software gremlins (and I'm an ASIC designer -- we know better than most just how real these critters really are -- ask me about typical chip testing coverage (90-98%), or to compare the MS bugs we cry about to the insane, random bugs in million-dollar EDA software from Cadence and Synopsys), but now I know that an upgrade that ostensibly should have improved system performance has instead worsened it, I'm bummed. Worse, there were some hassles with my (legit) corp key for XP with SP1, causing me quite a bit of hassle getting the thing installed to begin with.

      OK, maybe SP1 made it more secure, or less crash-prone (wasn't bad before though, and doesn't seem better now), or something. Yes, I'll tell myself that -- something improved. I'm just not sure exactly what it is.
  • quality (Score:5, Funny)

    by tabby (592506) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:29PM (#5620754) Homepage
    More good work from MS's 'does it compile?' quality assurance program
    • Re:quality (Score:4, Insightful)

      by miratrix (601203) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:34PM (#5620782)
      I genuinely am surprised that something like this could've slipped through the cracks.

      Service Packs are suppose to be stable, extensively tested set of updates unlike hotfixes, and the bug description makes it sound like it could be a programming logic error, not a programming bug. I mean, they must've noticed *something* if certain programs take up to 10 times as long...
      • Re:quality (Score:2, Insightful)

        by elmegil (12001)
        But see, only third party software actually has to use the documented interfaces to allocate memory, and so they're the only ones affected.
  • "a" flaw? (Score:5, Funny)

    by RawDigits (456594) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:31PM (#5620768)
    Windows XP's Service Pack 1 has introduced a flaw into the operating system.

    Drat, just when we all thought windows had achieved perfection. Back to the Visio board...
  • Bloated (Score:5, Funny)

    by DJ Rubbie (621940) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:32PM (#5620772) Homepage Journal
    Each component in Windows is so intertwined together that when one thing needs to be fixed, the a few other pieces breaks, which must be fixed, therefore more pieces break and it will get to a point when all pieces break and it is better off to run NT4, as Microsoft stopped breaking it.
    • Re:Bloated (Score:3, Insightful)

      ... it will get to a point when all pieces break and it is better off to run NT4, as Microsoft stopped breaking it.

      No, no... They stopped fixing it. That's different, y'see. :-)

  • by phreak404 (241139) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:34PM (#5620780)
    Here: http://www.neowin.net/comments.php?id=9815&categor y=main
  • by JSmooth (325583) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:34PM (#5620781)
    Here's a link to the file:

    http://home.t-online.de/home/520092137223-0001/x p/ Q815411_WXP_SP2_x86_ENU.exe

  • Anyone have this patch hosted somewhere?
  • Have seen this (Score:5, Informative)

    by IanBevan (213109) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:35PM (#5620790) Homepage
    We have seen this exact behaviour when benchmarking our heap management product. Although our software is targetted at multithreaded software and multiprocessor machines, we've been surprised to see it improve performance of non-multithreaded programs by so much on XP. We've seen it speed up single threaded applications on Windows 2000 too, but not by so much.

    And please, before somebody gets started with a flame war, WinHeap is not open source (although there is a source code license available), but it is free for non-profit use.

  • by mistermund (605799) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:37PM (#5620794)
    This patch, along with the fact that MS won't be releasing a patch for that recent gaping hole in NT4, reminds me of a scene...

    (Read along in a mock British-imitating-French accent, ala the castle scene in Monty Python's Holy Grail)

    Microsoft Engineer: We've got a problem here, chaps!
    MS Users (All, Amongst Selves): Well, how about a patch then?
    Microsoft Engineer: Uh, we've already got one, you see.
    MS User 1: Are you sure he's got one?
    MS User 2: He says they've already got one!
    Microsoft Engineer: Oh, yes. It's very nice-a.
    MS Engineers: [chuckling]
    MS Users: Well, u-- um, can we come up and have a look?
    MS Engineer: Of course not! You are clueless types-a!
    MS Users: If you will not show us the patch, we shall switch all our systems to Linux!
    MS Engineer: You don't frighten us, clueless pig-dogs! Go and boil your bottom, sons of a silly person. I blow my nose at you, so-called Linux King, you and all your silly open source k-nnnnniggets. Thpppppt! Thppt! Thppt!
    MS User 1: What a strange person.
    MS User 2: Now look here, my good man--
    MS Engineer: I don't wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
    MS Users: Is there someone else up there we could talk to?
    MS Engineer: No. Now, go away, or I shall taunt you a second time-a! [sniff]

    (With aplogies to Monty Python)
    Script here [mwscomp.com].
  • by wideBlueSkies (618979) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:37PM (#5620795) Journal
    What the hell did they have to go and touch that for? Was is broken?

    Yeah, so the new Microsoft standard malloc() and takes 10 times as long to load as the old version. But with this increase in time, the customer can be sure that the memory allocations are being done more securly, and in a way that's good for them.

    Also as a bonus, no more pesky free()'s. When that memory gets allocated, it STAYS allocated untill you (have to) reboot your system.

  • More /. FUD. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tshak (173364)
    My first experience with XP (no pun intended) was just a few weeks ago with my new laptop. Everything about it is faster than my workstation. True, my workstation has a slower CPU, but it also has a significantly faster harddrive, which is usually the bottleneck for loadtimes. XP boots way faster, loads programs noticeably faster, and has a more responsive GUI even considering the more resource intensive graphics. So, if in fact there is a bug in XP that slows the loading of some programs down, then that
    • Of course you've only had the XP on there for a few weeks - give it a few months before you suddenly realize that it's taking 3 min to boot and progs take twice as long to open. And no amount of defragging or registry clearing seems to fix it... :(

      Linux may be slower initially, but at least it doesn't do that windows thing where your box gets slower by the day. I'll take consistancy, thank you very much.
    • Oh, and let's not talk about load times for X window managers. Even with XP's "bug" KDE nor Gnome stand a chance*.
      * Disclaimer: this is based on my experience RH8. I'm currently downloading the Mandrake 9.1 ISO's


      If you really want to see KDE startup fly try gentoo. Compile aggressively, on my laptop I have:

      CFLAGS="-march=athlon-xp -O3 -ffast-math -fomit-frame-pointer -mfpmath=sse -m3dnow -foptimize-sibling-calls -fstrength-reduce -fcse-follow-jumps -fcse-skip-blocks -frerun-cse-after-loop -frerun-loop-op
    • Re:More /. FUD. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mattsson (105422) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @01:37AM (#5621209) Homepage Journal
      Well... Actually, it's not /. FUD.

      1.
      It's being reported in other places than /.
      I first read about it in the newspaper...

      2.
      It's being reported on Microsofts own website.
      So maybe it's microsoft FUD? =)

      3.
      The problem actually exists. (Thus is not FUD)
      It doesn't appear on *every* XP computer with SP1, but some actually load programs at 1/10 the speed that they did without SP1.

      Even on /. some bad news about Microsoft turns out to be true. =)
  • I knew it. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hershmire (41460) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:46PM (#5620830) Homepage
    SecureCRT [vandyke.com] takes forever to start up.

    So I suppose SP1 is to XP as beer is to me: a tool to slow your reaction time. Too bad it doesn't make XP more attractive...
  • my last uodate of win2k has introduced a flaw on my os that causes it to slow down when releasing the system for a shutdown.

    before the update: about 10 secs.
    after the update: over one minute.

    I solved this issue in FuzQ0000001
    use the powerswitch to shut down the computer.

  • by N8F8 (4562) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:47PM (#5620833)
    • Eum... Is this patch availible somewhere for other languages than English?
      I would need a Swedish version. =)

      (I can't belive that MS hasn't stopped using different binaries for different languages yet. It's idiotic. They even *rename* systemfiles and folders between languages, making some poorly made programs incompatible with other languages than English...)
  • That explains it (Score:2, Informative)

    by jkirby (97838)
    This explains why my Acrobat reader is crawling. I installed the fix and now all is back to normal.
  • I'm such a whore (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alexburke (119254) <{ac.ekrubxela} {ta} {liamtodhsals}> on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:53PM (#5620863)
    Why bother asking Microsoft for the patch? Here [iebeta.net] you go. :)
  • by mattyohe (517995) <matt@yohe.gmail@com> on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:55PM (#5620875)
    Just because im a nice guy...

    http://www.paricom.com/matt/xphotfix/ [paricom.com]

    • by Soko (17987) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:19AM (#5620964) Homepage
      Whoa, whoa whoa. Hold it right there. Alpha patches? For WinXP?

      You , sir, are one of two things:

      1.- You are an evil cracker who is tempting people into downloading your latest Trojan Badger^WHorse code so you can r007 them and be a 1337 h4x0r. Except they'd actually have to be for NT4 to run at all, you fucking lamer.

      2. - You are a Microsoft engineer who has XP running on the Alpha processor. Which means Microsoft still supports the Alpha internaly, and Compaq needn't of killed it. I could have had an EV8!!!

      In either case, you can expect your next of kin to recieve a very large bill for beer, .44 magnum shells and dry cleaning. I refuse to pay one red cent towards dragging you into the street by the hair, shooting you and then pissing in the 6 craters I will have just created in your body.

      HAND.

      Soko

      (Still mourning the Alpha)
  • by Brigadier (12956) on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:59PM (#5620892)

    Historically speaking this makes it an upgrade ...
  • by jlrowe (69115) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:08AM (#5620925)
    Finally Microsoft has a fix to slow down the spread of Code Red and other MS related worms and virii.

    Sure, it has some side effects, but don't all fixes?

    • Finally Microsoft has a fix to slow down the spread of Code Red and other MS related worms and virii.

      All worms? I think not! The dreaded FORTRAN worm, with it's one time memory alocation, pass by reference only and spritish math library will make mince meat of all the usual holes. Ha!

  • I mirrored the file on my server in a futile effort to reduce the /. effect on the other links that were posted.

    Enjoy!

    http://home.centurytel.net/mraymer/Q815411_WXP_SP2 _x86_ENU.exe [centurytel.net]

  • XP SP1 Slowdown (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aSiTiC (519647)
    I don't know about anyone else but I noticed a fairly noticable slowdown in XP when I installed SP1. I've since uninstalled SP1.

    Personally I prefer speed over security.
  • by AsnFkr (545033) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:34AM (#5621018) Homepage Journal
    I work in a local computer repair shop, and 30% or so of the computers we load SP1 on stop booting properly. No safe mode, no VGA mode, just a wipe and reload. They boot then restart as soon as they should be getting to the desktop, caught in a eternal loop. Unless it is specifically requested by the user, I definatly don't load it. Thats just the major of many other problems we have come across with SP1.
  • by Mikey-San (582838) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:38AM (#5621030) Homepage Journal
    But due to the Service Pack update, IE took ten times longer to launch! ;-D

    -/-
    Mikey-San
  • by antdude (79039) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:47AM (#5621071) Homepage Journal
    I haven't on my machines and test machines at home and office with various softwares. Are there any known programs or games that does show this?
    • I did notice the slowdown.
      XP took longer to boot. Some applications also took longer, like AOL, and some games.
      I downloaded the patch, and everything ran faster. I'm playing C&C Generals at the moment, and the game did run a lot faster after installing the patch.
    • I have Apache 2.0 and MySQL 4.0 configured as services. Then upon logon, Mozilla 1.3 loads itself in memory. I often had to wait up to one full minute after system boot and user logon, for the networking subsystem to get started !!! This meant no Internet access until one minute after logon - not acceptable. With the hotfix applied, boot is faster (as in pre-SP1) and there was a sizeable difference in programs load time.
  • Release candidates (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tomster (5075) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @12:57AM (#5621098) Homepage Journal
    It is plain that Microsoft's internal testing is insufficient. I don't really fault them for this -- it's simply impossible to have enough configurations, testcases, and procedures to cover more than a small percentage of the actual ways the product is used.

    IMO, Microsoft would benefit by issuing public release candidates for new OS versions and patches. It would greatly reduce the impact of problems with patches and new releases.

    -Thomas
  • by tsphere (93898)
    Every new release of windows runs slower than the one before. Looks to me like MS is trying to stay ahead of the curve.
  • I bet a calm, eerie silence fell over the Microsoft developer's "War Room" when the news of this newest XP enhancement hit the fan. Even Balmer probably had nothing to say.

    I would have paid to see their expressions.

  • Worried that Linux is gaining market share, this is just phase I in making XP seem more like Linux. In phase II, Microsoft will break the ability to effortlessly cut and paste across programs. In phase III, they make the process of installing programs opaque, introducing 'package managers'. Then, in the diabolical phase IV, they ditch plug-and-play, and move to a system whereby recompilation of the kernel is often necessary when changing harware. Everyone will think that's the worst until they reach phase V
  • Chill out (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29, 2003 @01:58AM (#5621263)
    Holy crap... I love the fact that every post that's been modded to 4 or 5 seems to be written by someone who doesn't use Windows.

    FYI: It's not a big deal. I've been using SP1 for months, and haven't noticed anything. Obviously, so have a whole lot of other people.

    It's nothing to get so worked up about.

    (Posted AC because this will be flamebait to some people).
  • by citking (551907) <jay AT citking DOT net> on Saturday March 29, 2003 @02:00AM (#5621270) Homepage
    SP1 for XP was supposed to address the DHCP problem that Microsoft has had with XP Home. Being a tech guy for a college, I can tell you that the DHCP issue was never corrected and people had to end up upgrading to XP Pro or upgrade to 2000 (yes, XP Home to 2000 is an upgrade, IMHO).
  • Wait (Score:3, Funny)

    by sw155kn1f3 (600118) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @03:17AM (#5621439)
    That means apps will be loading 10ms instead
    of 1ms on my brand new p4 with stripe raid ?

    *going to shoot myself in the head*
  • by Hadlock (143607) on Saturday March 29, 2003 @08:56AM (#5621887) Homepage Journal
    This means me and my friend will be able to play Descent 1 without the originally gentle bobbing of the ship sped up to a nauseating earthquake speed! Dust off that copy of Descent and try it for yourself. I dare you to try and play for 15 minutes without getting a nauseating headache!

    :-D
  • by Geeyzus (99967) <mark_madej@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Saturday March 29, 2003 @03:40PM (#5623282)
    Where do you want to go eventually?

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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