- Main => General Discusion Board. => Topic started by: n4208t on February 10, 2019, 09:56:52 AM

Title: Operating System Blues
Post by: n4208t on February 10, 2019, 09:56:52 AM

I LOVE the Blues.  Chicago Blues.  Delta Blues.  Texas Blues.  Any Blues.  You name it.  But when it comes to flying sims, I hate the OS Blues and our friends at Microsoft seem to be just making it worse and worse as time goes on.  And, as someone who flies turboprops, which FS, FSX, and P3D has never really mastered well, it is even more of a pain.

Even with the Windows Update Blocker I uploaded I have had it.  MS slipped another update in and now my com ports are not being recognized and I need to reinitialize my ethernet adapter every time I boot the main box.  So, as I write this, I have reformatted my main C: SSD drive and am going back to  Windows 8.1.

But that us not why I am writing this.  There may be some good news on the horizon.  I am running Linux Mint 19 on one of my laptops but Linux, in all of its various formats, does not work with P3D,  Even if you try using some of the Linux software to run Windows (like Wine and its counterparts) or a Virtual Machine, it will not work because it cannot address or handle DX10 or 11.  No one has apparently been able to figure out how to do that and lots have tried.  On the other hand, if you run only X-Plane, you CAN run X-Plane in a Linux environment and a bunch of folks have successfully done so and apparently it will run faster and smoother than on windows.

But for us who are mostly P3D addicted all is not lost.  As Windows 7 winds down to the final bell, new developers are finally starting to pop up with alternative operating systems.  These are not Windows emulators but new operating systems that have the ability to natively run Windows applications.  Indeed, they (so far) look a lot like Windows 7 but are legal because they the code has been written from scratch.  I have not tested these yet as they are in early alpha but I have my eye on two of these, one called ReactOS and the other called HAIKU and I suspect there will be more.

The key will be whether the myriad of add-ons can be tweaked to work and I, for one, am not about to put something like this on my sim....yet.  But I may just blow out that Linux Mint OS on the laptop and give ReactOS a whirl and see if I can get FSX to boot up and run and start playing with things.

If anyone else has any other info on this subject would love to hear about it.  Otherwise, I will post if/when I have anything more to add.

Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: n4208t on February 18, 2019, 09:56:40 AM
Does not seem to be much interest in this topic so this will likely be my last post.  I have gone ahead and tested both of these new OS on a Lenovo i5 laptop.  ReactOS is easily installed and looks a lot like and acts like Windows NT.  But it is truly in an early alpha stage and not really usable at this point in time.  I could not get the network to load, even with a direct ethernet connection, and there are virtually no drivers though the built in apps work just fine.

HAIKU is in Beta 1 release and is much further along.  Also easy to install and easily connects to my home network via wi-fi.  All of the built in stuff seems to work just fine including a web browser and there is already a GitHUB repository of software.  Interface-wise and learning curve is higher.  It seems to me more Linux like and not as close to Windows than the ReactOS but it is more stable and further along so I am going to continue to play with it.

That's it for now.  I do expect that these or others will mature as time goes on.  As for me, I enjoy playing with this stuff (I have beta tested 2 versions of windows for Microsoft) but my sim is back to running on Windows 8.1 Enterprise and doing great.  And Windows 8.1 allows you to shut off ALL windows updates.  Ah, the good old days.

Happy flying.
Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: jackpilot on February 18, 2019, 01:25:09 PM
There IS interest... alternatives to W-10 "overreach" are certainly worth consideration from cockpit builders.
 I do read your posts carefully but considering my fluency with OS matters, there is nothing much I can add... :D
Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: fsaviator on February 18, 2019, 02:40:12 PM
Same here.  I love the idea of a windows compatible alternative (to windows 10).  I don't see any point in my future of jumping to a new operating system if I can't maintain the tens of thousands of dollars worth of hardware and software I have though.

Please keep us informed as this develops and I'll be more than happy to load up software on any number of old systems I have laying around to test things out.

Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: Joe Lavery on February 18, 2019, 02:47:27 PM
I have the same thought as fsaviator, at least 5 aging PCs lying around.

As a footnote I only run on windows 7 with all the updates turned off and have done for the past.... errr who knows.  :angel:
Anyway I have no issues and everything works fine, it's only when I mess about with it that things stop working.  8)

Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: FredK on February 20, 2019, 11:10:59 AM
This topic is pertinent but probably best addressed on the P3D or XPlane forums.  Would be interesting to see what the responses there would be.

Fred K
Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: n4208t on February 21, 2019, 08:52:20 AM
Appreciate the replies and I will post more if/when anything does change.  I do think these will be more developed over time.  I look at those other forums but am not active in them which is why I posted here.  I am really disappointed in the direction Microsoft has gone and is going.  I have had a long history with them with being part of their insider program for about 14 years, beta testing two of their OS (including Windows ME which had to be the worst OS MS ever put out.  If I got paid for every blue screen of death during that build period I could have retired), and being the chair of their healthcare users group in the past.  I also worked as a consultant with a predictive analytics spin-off of theirs. 

They were much more attuned to users concerns back then and trying not to screw up corporate installs with updates.   Now, like Google, Apple, Amazon and others they are more concerned with mining everyone's data and them maintaining control over the software, rather than the other way around.

Windows 7 is a great OS as is 8.1 and it is fine for a dedicated stable system but I am concerned about the long term compatibility with future enhancements and add-ons with no ongoing support.  Hence, using a stable open source OS maintained by a community could be a good thing.  LINUX is a great OS and Linux Mint 19 looks and feels like Windows.  If I were running only X-Plane I would seriously consider using it and I may still do so as a boot option with a separate OS and a dedicated drive for X-Plane.  If nothing else, just to try it out.  Like I said.  I like this stuff.   Thanks for the response and the support you guys have given me on and through this site.
Title: Re: Operating System Blues - Double your RAM for free
Post by: n4208t on April 30, 2019, 09:41:03 AM
Was not sure where (if) to post this but it is a useful trick to essentially DOUBLE your RAM without spending anything or even opening up the computer.  I have done it before and it does work.  Especially for someone with a lower end system or borderline RAM it can really make a difference.  But be warned it is a VERY slow process that can take many days to complete.  If you do it, just let it run and be patient.

Just a few easy steps:

1. Run System Information and note that amount of Installed physical memory and Virtual Memory available.

1. Open up command prompt as an administrator and type the following (without the quotes) "CHKDSK /F"  Note the space between the K and the forward slash.  It will ask if you want to do this when you next reboot and say yes.  The next reboot will check your drives for any problem sectors and the /F will repair them automatically if needed.

2. AFTER step 1 go into the Windows Administrative Tools folder and find the program named "Windows Memory Diagnostic"  Run that program and then choose "Restart Now and Check for Problems"

3. When the computer reboots it goes to a blue screen of the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool.  Under Test Mix choose Extended and hit Tab.  Under cache you can just leave it at Default and hit Tab.  Under the Pass Count change the default number of 2 to 15.

4. Hit F10 to apply the settings and you are done.  It will go into test mode and run the tests 15 times.  As above, this is a VERY slow process and it looks like nothing is happening but it is and it will not screw up your PC.  The more RAM you have the longer it may take but it works and if your RAM is high end, it may even give you greater than double the amount.

5. Reboot and run System Information again and see the results.

I hope this is of some value to some of you.  Its cheap and it works though painfully slow but it can help your sim, especially if you may be running out of resources at some point.

I am writing this on my main computer I use for work.  It is a high end i7 12 processor box I built myself with 64 GB of RAM (and 11 hard drives :-)  I ran this some years ago on this system and this is what my system information looks like:

OS Name   Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
Version   10.0.16299 Build 16299
Other OS Description    Not Available
OS Manufacturer   Microsoft Corporation
System Name   
System Manufacturer   To Be Filled By O.E.M.
System Model   To Be Filled By O.E.M.
System Type   x64-based PC
System SKU   To Be Filled By O.E.M.
Processor   Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-5930K CPU @ 3.50GHz, 3501 Mhz, 6 Core(s), 12 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date   American Megatrends Inc. P2.00, 6/1/2015
SMBIOS Version   2.8
Embedded Controller Version   255.255
BaseBoard Manufacturer   ASRock
BaseBoard Model   Not Available
BaseBoard Name   Base Board
Platform Role   Desktop
Secure Boot State   Off
PCR7 Configuration   Binding Not Possible
Windows Directory   C:\Windows
System Directory   C:\Windows\system32
Boot Device   \Device\HarddiskVolume2
Locale   United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer   Version = "10.0.16299.371"
User Name   
Installed Physical Memory (RAM)   64.0 GB
Total Physical Memory   63.9 GB
Available Physical Memory   56.2 GB
Total Virtual Memory   128 GB
Available Virtual Memory   117 GB

Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: jmlohrenz on April 30, 2019, 11:24:26 PM
Not to burst your bubble, but the CHKDSK and MEMTEST do just that.  They only test your memory.  What looks like it increased was your VIRTUAL memory, or swap space on your hard disk.  By default windows will increase and decrease the size of this file based on what you are doing.  for a full MEMTEST it'll end up expanding as yours did.  It'll eventually shrink it back down to its default size.
There is a way to set this to a locked value if you want.


Here it will display your current paging file size.  If you click on the CHANGE button you can let windows manage it, or lock it to a specific size and for it to use a specific drive.

"Some" people will set this to their SSD drive at a specific file size, say 1.5x your physical memory.  It may help your performance, but you are also doing a lot of reading and writing back to your SSD which could make it age prematurely too. for thought.
Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: n4208t on May 01, 2019, 07:44:39 AM
Thanks.  I will check that out as I was not aware of it.  One thing I neglected, the Windows Memory tool also needs to be run as an Administrator to get this to work.

But it is not temporary.  It certainly does not give you double the physical ram, that is impossible, but it does double the total available ram by increasing, as noted, the virtual RAM.  This system had this done back in 2016 and the doubling of the virtual RAM is still there as I showed above.  It has never shrunk once it was done.

I work with very large medical databases doing predictive analytics and other very intensive SQL queries and, at least from my perspective, I got a substantial boost when I did this and was able to increase the throughput and time needed for some of these.

Most important, it does not do any harm so trying it, other than not being able to fly your sim for several days, is worth a shot for anyone who thinks they need more RAM but cannot afford to replace what is currently there.

Again thanks, I was aware you can change paging size but never really thought about the specific impact of it and I was not aware of the ADVANCED TAB VIRTUAL MEMORY.  Will definitely check that out.  If it does the same thing and is quicker, that would be even better.

You learn something new every day.    :)
Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: n4208t on May 01, 2019, 08:29:26 AM
KUDOS TO JASON!  I just ran what he suggested on the computer I use for running just the G1000 software and Air Manager and accomplished in less than 60 seconds what would have taken hours or days by the method I suggested.  From what I can see (and I checked on this box) by running the windows memory diagnostic as an Admin it essentially does the same thing by increasing the paging size and virtual memory,

Again many thanks for teaching me something new and helping me and others.  Would still recommend the CHKDSK /F first and maybe even checking the memory through MEMTEST or the method I suggested but only once or twice.  The Windows memory tool runs a whole series of memory tests.

Thanks again.   Steve

BTW- where in MN are you?
Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: jmlohrenz on May 02, 2019, 07:35:35 PM
Lived in the cities for many years.  Was an IT Director for a home healthcare company up there.  Now live in southwest part of the state in the country.  Enjoy the 10 minute commute to work instead of the bumper to bumper traffic every day.
Title: Re: Operating System Blues
Post by: 727737Nut on May 03, 2019, 11:54:35 AM
I run win10 on my sim and so far, knock on wood, it's been just fine.  i have over 40 usb devices attached and one separate pc and an ipad with no network issues.  I did have friend go thru it and slim win 10 down to minimums to help performance but auto update is still on.

Dont give up hope as it can be made to work