Curiosty Killed the CPU

My primary computer is getting a little long in the tooth. It’s over three years old. It was one of the fastest non-specialized computers on the market when I bought it, but time has left it behind.It’s exacerbated by the fact that I’m one of those nightmares for corporate IT – always downloading and installing new software, fiddling with my computer’s settings etc.

Every now and then I do something that, while it doesn’t break the computer per se, in retrospect I wish I hadn’t done it. Today someone on a discussion list mentioned that he got a lot of speed improvements from his computer by upgrading the memory. That got me thinking, “maybe it’s time for me to do an upgrade,” Which in turn led me to check out my current settings to see what I currently have.

So I launched the Control Panel’s System applet. It confirmed what I was looking for, but there were a lot of other buttons there. Curiosity got the better of me and I started delving a little deeper. Here’s what the applet looks like:

Xp-system-applet-1

See the “Settings” button under “User Profiles?” I decided to click on that and see what that was about. Big mistake. The hard drive started churning and churning and churning. And churning and churning. Also churning and churning. It didn’t totally shut down my computer, but everything slowed to a crawl for something like five minutes!

I thought “well, with that much activity it must be something really important.” So I waited and waited and waited and waited until this ultimately popped up:

Xp-system-applet-2

Excellent. Really useful info. I’m glad I took five minutes out of my life to learn that.

Something like this seems to happen to me at least once a day. I’ll be typing an email and need to copy a url, open a file or otherwise jump out of email mode to get some information. Next think you know, Outlook has crashed, I spend five minutes getting it running again, and by the time I return to the task at hand I’ve wasted several minutes and forgotten what I was doing in the first place.

Yes, I know the ultimate answer is “Get a Mac.” I get closer and closer every day. The main barrier is that I do a lot of work in Homesite and WikidPad. While WikidPad can probably be hacked to run on a Mac, I don’t believe Homesite is available on the Mac. Plus I’m also a heavy user of NewGator for Outlook. Wasn’t Java supposed to make all this moot?

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