If you have ever assembled a personal computer and then installed a working copy of Windows XXX, have you ever noticed how quick it is the first time you launch windows?

I have, in fact I have installed windows hundreds of times and each time the one thing I notice most of all is how fast, smooth and responsive windows is, until that is, you start to install your favorite programs. After installing 3 or 4 programs of various size and complexity, I have noticed that the smoothness and crispness of windows declines somewhat.

This to me at least, was most notable when I commissioned my latest computer, an i7core 920 running on an ASUS P6T Deluxe OC Palm motherboard with 3 gig of Corsair memory. With this machine I decided to setup two RAID volumes. The first volume uses two Seagate 500gig drives and the second volume uses two 250gig Western Digital drives.

All this added up to one hellishly quick machine, at least at first start up. I’d even go so far as to say that this machine was quicker than I am at any click of the mouse. Truely instant opening of the standard Microsoft programs and utilities, and file copy in the blink of an eye. The OS was extremely smooth and responsive and aside from some annoying hiccups with the installation it was every thing I expected and more.

Then I started to install my usual suite of programs. Mind you, I install over 200 different utilities by the time I’m finished, and this can take considerable time, something I still haven’t completed yet.

After installing a dozen or so programs I noticed a marked difference in performance. Window opening and closing speed was slower, boot up and shutdown times are much slower, window animations start looking a little jittery and so on.

This is something I have observed since the days of Windows 95 and even though the speed and complexity of the hardware changes from one version of windows to the next, the overall speed of windows remains pretty much the same.

So, the question is, why is it so?

If you have any ideas, or first hand knowledge, I’d like to know.