A few days ago I decided to install Windows 7 on a VM (bad idea as it turned out). All fine and dandy and I ran Windows Update a few times to get it at least as up-to-date as it'll get.

I noticed that out of the 4GB RAM I had allocated, an svchost process responsible for the updates was gobbling up all the available memory, just leaving 82MB for everything else. The process itself was as you might imagine consuming over 3GB RAM just for itself. That's how an OS should work right after installation, I'm sure you'll agree.

So I complained about it. Haven't used Windows anywhere for a while so I wasn't used anymore to this level of efficiency. Disk activity went through the roof, though to be fair the underlying disk wasn't an SSD (qcow2 on ZFS on a spinning drive). RAM consumption is something I already covered. CPU temperature shot up to 95C.

So as any idiot would do, I disabled the service related to that process (the svchost process for wuauserv) and the problem went away. But I complained of course, saying that such amazing system utilization metrics wasn't something I expected. I mean for 4GB allocated, having as much as 82MB usable to get stuff done with! 95C on the CPU, on a lot of chips that's the junction temperature! Absolutely beautiful.

When I complained I heard that I had to replace the thermal grease. I do that twice a year. I wrote a custom fan driver for my system that works absolutely great. It was obviously shit. I must be a horrible sysadmin for solving a problem by eliminating the cause, and companies hiring me must be ashamed of themselves. My hardware must be shit (that's a common one with Windows users) despite being a business laptop and the guest system being a VM. Oh and I'm an idiot of course for complaining about such amazing system metrics in Windows.

I love Windows and its community...

  • 3
    Installing windows 7 with updates to an old machine takes a couple days.

    It's not the software's problem if your temps get out of control during load though.
  • 0
    @electrineer agreed, the temps are pretty high in general on my x220. My fan driver makes the fan run quieter and more responsively than the stock one, but the laptop is still pretty hot and bothered under sustained load. That's an inherent issue with it, and I doubt I can solve it without taking out the motherboard and putting a much bigger cooler on it...
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    This sounds like a secret "Kidnappers got to me, they have my dog hostage and tell me to do things. Help me!" message.

    Are you okay, bud?
  • 0
    @netikras hahaha, everything's fine here, don't worry 😂

    But yeah it's been a while! How have things been going over here?
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    If your laptop doesn't get hot under Linux despite its misdesigned cooling system, that's because it doesn't do anything useful under Linux.
  • 2
    Helpful tip: Use wsusoffline from a different machine to grab updates, then install with wsus and not windows update. (and disable the VM's pagefile!) This makes it 2x faster and about 1.5x more memory efficient (plus, no pagefile, no massive VM paging overhead!)
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    @Parzi interesting! I'll try this out later :)
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    @Fast-Nop generally my usage patterns on it would be chatting on Telegram, web browsing, terminal commands, video playback, oldschool gaming, and running containers in a test network. It's not much but it's not exactly being limited by the cooling system either, especially after I wrote that custom fan controller (making it completely silent, to the point where the secondary hard drive's activity became the main source of noise). Certainly not ideal but definitely not the worst I've ever seen either. With the Windows VM however, that thing seems to love pinning the whole CPU to 100% for extended periods of time. It is true that my Linux host environment generally doesn't do that. Load spikes yes, but usually they're short or not the full 100%. For a laptop and with the fan speeds I've set with my fan driver, I consider it reasonable enough. Under normal conditions it usually doesn't go over 60C.
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