Does it Pay to Strip Modules Out of Vista?

Microsoft Vista may seem overloaded to some, but the idea of stripping away the fat and leaving only the specific Vista components (including drivers and applications) you desire – which is what free utility vLite enables – may be misplaced.

Removing individual modules may be dangerous, both to the stability of Windows as well as to the OS installation's ability to handle maintenance updates. In conversation with Microsoft today, Christopher Flores, director of Windows marketing, says, "it sounds like you're taking your life in your own hands. There are dependencies between the different modules. If [what you remove is] in the dependency chain for some other piece, you've broken the chain."

Flores notes that some components are optional from the outset. Moreover, he says, "I haven't heard the issue where people are concerned with the disk footprint being that big of a deal, given the size of hard disk drives today."

If users consider trying to reduce the size of Vista due to performance issues, Brad Marrs, senior program manager for Windows client performance, notes that any gains will be limited and temporary. Removing pieces of the operating system to condense Vista's physical size will not in and of itself guarantee a performance boost.

"Would it help? Removing pieces from memory will help performance. Removing modules from the hard disk will help in the first week you're running [the OS], when you have first installed it on a pristine disk," says Marrs. "But once you start adding files and deleting files [on the hard drive], having those fewer files as part of the initial install won't help in the long-term."

In the briefing today, Microsoft emphasized that Service Pack 1 – due this quarter – will feature numerous performance enhancements.

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Melissa J. Perenson

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