Ever had the friend that went on and on about how newer operating systems are getting slower and slower? Or complained that Windows Updates would invariably lead to system failure? Always mumbling something about system integrity officially leaving town. I'm willing to bet good money that most of us fell into that category at some point.
We had to find out once and for all how much of a performance difference there really is, between a clean install and an installation that has been tainted by those evil Windows updates. Going into this we were expecting to see all kinds changes. We grabbed the most popular OS at the moment, Win98SE and took it through the turns. Sadly enough, 98SE is itself an updated OS, sprung forth from Win98.
We took a standard install of Win98SE, and jumped onto the Microsoft Windows Update page. You name it -- we installed it: Virtual Machine, security holes, Media Player 7, Internet Explorer 5.5. The language packs and games are about the only things we didn't install. The total sum of all the updates was stupefying.
All in all, I think the total download size went well over the 60 MB range. Downloading all these updates is definitely not an easy task for the majority of the internet population. Even with office T1, the updates installation took just as long as a natural Windows install; a good hour of my life was tossed down the drain watching a progress bar. Believe it or not, I've had hours that were more ill spent. The time when I had to baby-sit a dying hard drive through a thorough scandisk was unbelievable.
The worst part of this updating experience has to be the download time. We tried to find a way to download all the updates and keep them for later reference, but we were left out in the cold in that endeavor. While the update install files are kept on the hard drive, there is no way to easily reuse them.
Some readers knew where this fabled download place was and gladly provided the link to it.
MS Win98 Updates
It would have been great to test an update out on systems that have been in use. Seeing as updating a clean installation doesn't show all the problems that could happen. Updating an OS after tons of stuff has been installed would probably change things a bit. Unfortunately, there is no way to have reproducible results with a system that has been out in the field for some time.