Enough already: The latest on Devil Mountain, Windows 7 memory usage and deception

Last week, many legitimate tech news sites and bloggers, including myself, wrote about an article from an industry tabloid.  The article was penned by an report who seems to have a beef against Microsoft and tends to report mostly negative stories against Microsoft and, especially, Windows. The author of this particular story is a decent writer, but, in this case, he seems to have not used good judgment in researching or reporting the whole Windows 7 memory usage ‘findings’ from a company called Devil Mountain. 

The crux of the report used in the story was this:  Windows 7 uses much more memory than Windows XP and, as a result, suffers from frequent performance slow down.  The problem, however, is that the report is just not accurate. Devil Mountain markets a tool that is supposed to monitor performance of Windows machines. It gathers data and aggregates it with data from other machines running the software to provide an overall picture of Windows performance.  At issue here is the seemingly increased memory usage by Windows 7 over XP.

Windows 7 utilizes memory that is not otherwise being used by the operating system or any loaded applications by pre-fetching other applications so it is available if needed.  If an existing process (app or OS) needs the memory, then it is released for use.  Apparently, the data that went into the report was either not analyzed properly or whomever did said analysis failed to understand the differences between Windows 7 memory management and Windows NT 3.1.  Yes, I wrote Windows NT 3.1.  To find out why, read on…

Here’s where this story gets weird.  Last Friday, ZDNet blogger, Larry Dignan, posted a story about why ZDNet does not trust Devil Mountain.  The rather lengthy article gave all kinds of facts and figures about the company and its owner:  Randall C. Kennedy.  If that name sounds familiar, it should.  And you are a geek too.

Mr. Kennedy is notorious for his anti-anything but Windows XP stance.  Since the days of Vista’s beta through today, he has gone out of his way to try and convince his readers that Windows XP is the best thing ever and that Vista and 7 are bloated pigs that require expensive new hardware just run OK.  Of course, that’s baloney, but that is what he wants you to think.  Mr. Kennedy ran Devil Mountain using an alias and, in the process, fooled a lot of people, including the author of the story that started all of this last week.  Mr. Kennedy says that IDG, the owner of the tabloid, knew of his other business and that he was also known by a different name.  In a statement released by IDG, they imply that they had no knowledge of the deception and that they have severed their relationship with Mr. Kennedy.

On the exo.net blog, Kennedy cites, among other things, an old Windows NT book, published around 1992-93 as a guide for understanding how Windows memory management works.  The huge problem here is that Windows 7 memory management is different and SuperFetch was not around then.  So, if the analysis of the data from Devil Mountain is based, either completely or partially, on a 17 year old book about an operating system that has not been supported for nearly 13 of those years, how can one trust the report?

The bottom line here is that way more attention was given to both this bogus report and the article from the tabloid.  All it probably did was direct more people to the tabloid, give Mr. Kennedy more publicity and make a mountain out of a mole hill.  I’m just as guilty: this is my third post on the subject. It will be my last post on the subject.  And Mr. Kennedy.  I’ve wasted too much time reading his drivel and defending something that I don’t need to defend.  Windows 7 is a great product and, to paraphrase Apple, it just works.  End of story.

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