Vista 64: So Far So Good

When I got a new machine at work about a year ago, it came with Vista 64 bit installed on it.  Not long before receiving this machine, I’d tried to upgrade my home machine to Vista 64 and ran into so many problems that I had quite a negative impression of Vista 64.  I didn’t trust it for my work machine, so I installed Vista 32 bit.

After using Vista 32 bit on this system for many months, I found that even more quickly than is normal with Windows, I had a system that felt slow.  Launching programs was slow, and there seemed to be a random extra amount of latency whenever I tried to do just about anything.  This is business as usual for Windows:  every now and then you need to rebuild it to recover the speed that you gradually lose as you use it.

(This phenomenon is endemic to Windows, by the way; my Mac Powerbook G4, for example, doesn’t seem significantly slower now than when I started using it over two years ago.  I’d love to know what it is that Windows does or allows to happen that sabotages its performance this way, and specifically, why it isn’t fixed in Vista).

Anyway, after my quad-core Xeon monster with 4 gig of RAM started taking too long to do basic operations, after only a few months with Vista installed, I knew I had to change something.  It was either go back to XP or try Vista 64, so I went with the latter.

Installing Vista 64 on this new machine was painless.  I don’t have a lot of external devices at work, and the ones I do have are mostly supported.  I have a Treo 680 smartphone which isn’t supported, but the USB support in VMWare is good enough that I can sync it there, and for everything else, so far Vista 64 is doing just fine.

What prompted me to write this today, though, is the experience of working with Eclipse on Vista 64.  My previous experiences with Eclipse have been pretty bad.  I won’t go into details but I’m working on some fairly complex stuff, and every 2nd time I’d launch a debug session, Eclipse would fail and I’d get a JVM error window on the desktop.  Bam.  This happened on two different machines across a couple of different OS installs, so while I’m sure it’s something I was doing (and not necessarily Eclipse’s or Java’s fault), it was in my way.

But the Vista 64 box I’m using now runs this same scenario without breaking a sweat.  It’s such a relief being able to hit the Debug button and know it’s going to actually bring up a debugger.

The big open question now is, will Vista 64 also slow down over time?  The registry segregation proves that someone was touching that code recently, so there’s some hope that something was improved.  Wait and see.