Why I Won’t Upgrade to Vista

Why I won’t Upgrade to Vista: Three letters: DRM.
Three letters: DRM.

I’ve seen it in action. Vista spends more processor cycles doing shit-all than any other Windows version yet produced. After spending my hard-earned dollars on an expensive, fancy, dual-core processor, I don’t want those processor cycles wasted on checking whether I have the right to play a particular MP3 file (or video, or whatever).

I happen to like the way my computer runs now – we’ve got an older, (fairly) stable OS running on hardware that’s evolved way beyond it – which is GOOD! When the hardware outpaces the software, things run FAST. When the software outpaces the hardware, things run S…L…O…W…

Check out this article, and be sure to follow the links it includes. Here’s a snippet that really gets my blood boiling:

Here’s another blatant lie:

Will Windows Vista content protection features increase CPU resource consumption?

Yes. However, the use of additional CPU cycles is inevitable, as the PC provides consumers with additional functionality. Windows Vista’s content protection features were developed to carefully balance the need to provide robust protection from commercial content while still enabling great new experiences such as HD-DVD or Blu-Ray playback.

For those of you running Windows Vista, start Windows Media Player and play a random MP3 audio file. Go into Task Manager and look for a process called “mfpmp.exe” with description “Media Foundation Protected Pipeline EXE.” Notice how much CPU it uses. On my machine it fluctuates between 10% and 20% CPU time. Other users are seeing even larger consumption of CPU resources, just check out this comment.

And now the question for Microsoft: Why exactly is mfpmp.exe needed to play an MP3 file, when you say the content protection technology is there for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray?? What additional functionality am I getting, exactly, from mfpmp.exe when I play an MP3 file? As it is now, the content protection technology just uses more resources while providing no benefits at all to the user, just like Peter Guttman wrote in his paper and we’ve all argued before. No wonder there are sometimes gaps in the audio on my PC, which by the way ran much faster on Windows XP. I thought Vista was about more robust video and audio playback?? Even high end systems have these issues. I find myself using VLC to play video files more often now because Media Player feels so slow and bloated. Even when playing MP3 files, VLC uses much less CPU resources compared to mfpmp.exe and wmplayer.exe combined!


Author: Keith Survell

A geek, programmer, amateur photographer, anime fan and crazy rabbit person.

12 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Upgrade to Vista

  1. there is always the nice cntrl alt delete and then shut down the non essential processes in vista. hint – its most of them 🙂

    all you need are:
    csrss.exe + explorer.exe
    and….thats it (well dont close your anti virus software)…

  2. aha also use the VLC player to play your mpg and avi files, and simply dont use the miscro$oft provided crappy and hacker happy windows media player.

    then you dont get the mfppsomething.exe pipeline whatever that uses 20% of your CPU.

    you are welcome.

  3. Yeah, I know how to shut down processes, and VLC isn’t the only media player I could use (Winamp, anyone?). But I shouldn’t *have* to do that. And what about high-def video playback, and all the DRM-related nonsense built into Vista to support that? Not cool. My decision still stands – I’m not upgrading to Vista. Or at least not for a few years, anyway.

  4. When i started college this year, i went out and bought a brand new Computer. Dual Core etc. Unfourtunately it came with Vista… Right now i’m using firefox(thats it), and my RAM usage is 789 MB…when i’m not doing absolutly anything, its 400 MB….Can you say “brutal” ten times fast?

  5. Yeah, it’s brutal. You THINK you’ve got nothing running, but in actuality you’ve got 23 (or more) processes running in the background.

    To put it in comparison, I’m running Windows XP Media Center Edition. I’ve got Firefox and Winamp open. That’s it – just 2 programs.

    There are 67 processes running (according to task manager), although it also reports I am only (only!?) using 607 MB of RAM at the moment. YIKES!

  6. You all should tweak your OSes a bit — get rid of unneeded services, and remove entries for junk software that starts with your machine. I’m running Vista Ultimate 64-bit with 1 GB of RAM, and my base RAM usage is about 500MB; I can (usually) have Firefox, WMP, and a few other things open without experiencing any slowdown.

    But don’t upgrade to Vista, if you can turn down the allure of the fancy new goodies it has. I bought it (cringe) so now I can’t go back: my soul is gone.

    But yeah, I’m getting rid of mfpmp.exe somehow as well; it usually takes up 2-5% of CPU and 6MB of RAM, which is too much for me.

  7. While I strongly advocate doing exactly that (trimming out unneeded services), I have yet to read (or hear) an acceptable rationale as for why my mom, my grandparents, or anyone with minimal computer knowledge should have to do such a thing. I hate to sound like an Apple fanboy here, but like they say – computers should just “work”. Anything extra you have to do (like disabling services) is bad form.

    Of course, that STILL doesn’t address the DRM issues involved with mfpmp.exe and Vista in general… but that’s for another post.

  8. 48 Processes running and I’m using Window Media Player and I am using about 500 MB of Ram (of 1 Gig) and about 12% of my CPU, Vista has always run fine for me…

  9. I’m running Windows Vista on 1G memory – I’ve got 83 processes running and my CPU usage at 5% and playing a song WTF are you people talking about? I think you might have a virus or something else running instead of the MICROSOFT software.

  10. OF COURSE its going to “run fine” for you when you’re listening to music – and nothing else. ANY computer will run “just fine” when all you are doing is one thing. If you’re lucky, you’ve got a really fast PC and you wouldn’t even notice it. Maybe nobody will notice it, after all, the whole “protected media path” thing in Vista (aside from the DRM) was designed to ensure that media plays even when the computer is busy – it gives it higher process priority. But that’s not the point.

    The point is that the DRM is there in the first place, and it’s built in, deep in. I object to this on moral grounds.

    And please people, do try to remember, that the quotes above are not mine, they are someone else’s experience. After all, I don’t use Vista!!

  11. I came across this looking for a solution to Vista – because I need one, fast. Sometimes my BRAND NEW laptop works as smooth as an oil slick, but every ten seconds or so it begins to stutter for about half a minute. This is with just ONE program running. I listen to music on my MP3 player now because I’m sick to f***ing death of hearing my favourite music sound so bad. Playing games, going online, writing documents – it all sucks. I know at least part of it is to do with mfpmp.exe, but if it ALL boils down to that, then I will do absolutely anything I can to get rid of the damned 24kb piece of crap.

  12. If Vista is doing a Windows Update in the background (installing updates), it can grind Windows to almost a standstill. That’s been my experience, anyway.

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