Cygwin slow downs in WinME

Travis Howell
Thu Jun 7 18:12:00 GMT 2001

> Hi folks,
> I felt this needed to be addressed in the hopes that others reading
> this might have a better sense of MS Millenium and a few of its' known
> faults.
> On 7 Jun 2001, at 19:13, the Illustrious Travis Howell wrote:
> > Has there been any progress on the Windows ME slow downs problem often
> > caused when compiling programs through Cygwin ?
> > Cygwin often slows the
> > whole system down, especially sound (It stutters) and a few times has
> > slowed it down so much that the clock loses small amounts of time! I
> > have read a few similar messages about this problem on mailing list but
> > no one has offered any work around or solution other than switching to
> > Windows NT/2000.
> If you are locked in to Me, there is little anyone can do since most
> technical folks (such as those that frequent this list) know that Me is
> a heavily flawed OS to begin with and either stay with their Win9x or
> upgrade to Win2k.
> I've used Me, Win9x and NT4.  What is consistent is that Win9x/Me are
> always extremely sluggish when it comes to handling system resources
> and tasks.  Cygwin, by its nature, has a lot of stuff it needs to do in
> order to maintain compatibility between Win32 and a typically Unixish
> user interface.  This often means high levels of overhead (system
> resource) costs.

Exactly what are you refering to by system resources ? I know of the limited
System/User/GDI resources problem in Win9x/ME but that doesn't seem to be
the cause of this issue since I always leave the Resource Meter running and
never let it get too low (red).

> Me and Win9x are known to be poor when it comes to dealing with such
> things as systems resources.  Imho, Me is nothing much more than Win9x
> with a home-user friendly (read non-technical wizard) networking
> interface and the added enhancement of Unix socket compatibility.
> Me may be worst case scenario when comparing with Win9x since Me was
> not designed to be anything but a home computer, and thus pretty
> incapable of handling heavy duty processing outside of games, spread
> sheets, etc.  Your "typical" (according to MS) home applications.

Yes I know there isn't much difference been Windows 9x and ME but there seem
to be more changes behind the scenes, programs crashing for example are
handed slightly better in Windows ME than Windows 9x.
Yes Windows ME is aimed at home users but I have disabled the two main
background tasks (System Restore & PC Health data collection) which often
use up CPU in background.

> Absolutely no developer I am aware of, outside of the author of this
> post, use Me for just the sorts of reasons I outlined above.
> Sure, you could hack ME to work a little faster, but it would only be
> a temporary increase since ME doesn't really handle fast file lookup
> very well...doesn't need to according to MS, because the home user
> hasn't any need to do fast file lookups...grahics handling, etc. are a
> different story due to enhanced DirectX related APIs that come with Me.
> Another possible workaround, again if you must have Me, is to
> reconfigure the system to do what you want it to do using the extremely
> limited resources made available for such things by MS for their Me
> systems.
> Part of this involves disabling automatic virtual memory management in
> lieu of your own custom virtual memory management and defragging your
> hard drives at least once a week (ie. if you want to have your computer
> unavailable for the hour or two it sometimes takes for ME to do a
> complete defrag using supplied defrag app, depending on the size of the
> hard drive(s) in question).

I often defrag the hard disk but I can't see how these would help since it
isn't just the hard disk slowing down. The whole system starts to stutter
after compiling under Cygwin awhile even after finishing compiles and
closing Cygwin down.
It is almost like a Cygwin process is getting stuck and continuing to use up
large amount of CPU every so often but nothing Cygwin related shows up under
Wintop after Cygwin is shut down. Even stranger is none of the process's
listed under Wintop are listed as using a large amount f CPU when the system
stutters occur.

> Of course, there is always the old fallback that MS uses...purchase
> more memory.  If your system came with 64M ram, then you need to triple
> that value to at least 192M.
> Ideally, 256M ram is probably an optimum amount of ram for Me.  Of
> course, memory costs money, so you'll have to make that call yourself.
> Me is a known memory (and system resource) hog.  What Win9x can do with
> 64M, requires at least 128M for Me.  And the ram value only increases
> based on any added peripherals that are there.  128M is probably actual
> minimum for Me.

This is just due to Windows ME loading more into RAM at start up than
previous Windows 9x versions, I remember it been mentioned during the
Windows Me beta test. 256MB is really a waste on Windows 9x/ME unless a
specific application or game needs that amount of RAM.

> As I read through the other posts, you have a very large amount of
> hardware operating on your system, and all of these slow ME down a tad
> bit, thus the requirement for at least a Celeron or PIII/333mHz class
> processor.  PIII is probably best (short of PIV) at about 700 or 800
> mHz clock speed.

Well I just updated CPU to Celeron 850 from a Celeron 400 and compiling
speed itself has really improved. It is the just the problem of the system
stutters  often caused after compiling several Cygwin programs.

> Your peripherals are really not the problem.  Especially when I see
> you are using a Quantum Fireball 30G hard drive.
> It is the way that Me handles the peripherals (PnP?) that is causing a
> lot of your slowdown.

Yes more PnP device do slow down the Windows ME boot up time slightly but
does it really effect performance after start up ?

> Rule of thumb, your "peripherals" are only as fast as the slowest
> componenet within the system configuraton.  In this case, the slowest
> (read "most sluggish") component is the OS itself.

Yes I heard that before.but I don't agree Windows ME would be the slowest
part, would be the floppy drive for sure

> I know this probably doesn't answer the original question:
> > Has there been any progress on the Windows ME slow downs problem
> often
> > caused when compiling programs through Cygwin ?
> Even so, I continue to hope that it gives a better sense of what is
> really being dealt with when anyone is dealing with "Windows
> Millenium (tm MicroSoft)".
> (Have you thought about using Mingw?)

I currently find it easier compiling MinGW programs through Cygwin with
the -mno-cygwin switch of GCC compiler.
The other program I regularly compile currently doesn't support MinGW.
Also if MinGW doesn't have this problem then why does is occur just with
Cygwin ?

> It is not Cygwins' problem.  It is your OS.

I'm still not so sure on that point.

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