Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dvorak and the nefarious "idle process"

While most people know that John Charles Dvorak once famously said that "the Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I don't want one of these new fangled devices", they might not also know that he said the following in PC World about the Windows XP idle process:

This week's column is about exploring the commonly observed problems that crop up with each new release [of Windows]. Maybe Microsoft should patch the patches once in a while.

Here are a few of my gripes – most of them a result of excessive patching

IDLE-TIME PROCESS. Once in a while the system will go into an idle mode, requiring from five minutes to half an hour to unwind. It's weird, and I almost always have to reboot. When I hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete, I see that the System Idle Process is hogging all the resources and chewing up 95 percent of the processor's cycles. Doing what? Doing nothing? Once in a while, after you've clicked all over the screen trying to get the system to do something other than idle, all your clicks suddenly ignite and the screen goes crazy with activity. This is not right.

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