Saturday, May 30, 2009

Windows is Fragile

This is for the sceptics out there who claim that you don't need to defragment your Windows system from time to time. Windows is a consumer operating system, and was never designed to be secure or bulletproof: it requires maintenance, such as cleaning out deleted files, defragmentation, and so on.
While I was recalibrating my Vista 32-bit system, one of the benchmarks failed. The PC is only 6 months old, and has never been defragmented. While I installed the numerous programs and security updates, I did not empty the recycle bin, and I disabled the automatic defrag. The result is a sluggish machine that behaves badly; i.e. your typical home PC.
The "Stress Test" pictured above randomly reads and writes 435,101 records to an Access97 data file. After 4 hours of doing this, Access decided that it didn't recognise its own database format anymore. Hardly surprising really. The file is badly fragmented and in desperate need of a repair and compact as well. I will try again to get a result, but with the system in such bad shape it's pure chance that I'll get one or not.


Irakli said...

It's quite hard to believe that the inability to open the Access database is due fragmentation/unnecessary junk on the system. Can this be a result of some minor filesystem corruption instead?

Donn Edwards said...

Chkdsk reports nothing suspicious. I should point out that the "Stress Test" had been running for over 4 hours before the error ocurred. It has never ocurred on a properly maintained system, and I have tested it on several different machines.

The only other explanation is that some other unknown process decided to lock the data file during the testing. This is possible, but I have looked at the running processes and nothing springs to mind.

As I said, Windows is fragile if not looked after. It's hardly the world's most reliable, secure or bug-free OS.