How long to compress that drive??



  • Vista being slow to compress a drive

    I had this come up when compressing a 50GB partition with 13GB of used space, which compressed down to 10GB. All told, the process took about 30 minutes, but at all times showed an ETA of 39703 days and X hours (where X varied up and down repeatedly from 0 to 4.)

    First, I know that it's hard to  predict these things - compressing files on a hard disk isn't something you can accurately predict, but that's just silly. 108 years to compress 13GB of data? Still saying that it will take 108 years seconds before it finishes? Not good.

    Second, what's with the utterly pointless accuracy? If something it going to take so long that nobody alive now will see it finish, what difference does an hour or two make? They might just as well have put minutes, seconds, and microseconds on there!



  • @RayS said:

    They might just as well have put minutes, seconds, and microseconds on there!

    They did, but since they were all 0, they felt no need to display them. 



  • I think that showing that there is some progress is important for the user.

    That is, even if the computation's where fucked up and the result was like 108 years, it's still nice to at least show "an animation" of hours changing repeatedly from 0 to 4, just to make an impression of not being stalled. Of cource it would be better to display "Hard to estimate" and show an animation of spining fan, or the Knight Rider neon.



  • @qbolec said:

    I think that showing that there is some progress is important for the user.

    That is, even if the computation's where fucked up and the result was like 108 years, it's still nice to at least show "an animation" of hours changing repeatedly from 0 to 4, just to make an impression of not being stalled. Of cource it would be better to display "Hard to estimate" and show an animation of spining fan, or the Knight Rider neon.

    Mozilla applications, and some MSI's do that: a small bar shoots along the track of the normal prograss bar, indicating: "I don't know how long this will take just yet, buddy".

    It's interesting to note that my IE7 installer did that all the way through the installation, while still updating the line above it that said "installing component xyz... etc"



  • The descendants of Vroomfondel and Majikthise will appreciate that you started the job.



  • Of course TRWTF is "compressing a drive"... seriously, with prices at 50 cents per GB, so (extrapolating) you made a 50GB drive store 60GB saving a whopping 5 bucks - wtf were you thinking?!

    The only excuse I'll be happy with is that you're a student, and that $5 is worth another couple of beers...
     



  • @versatilia said:

    Of course TRWTF is "compressing a drive"... seriously, with prices at 50 cents per GB, so (extrapolating) you made a 50GB drive store 60GB saving a whopping 5 bucks - wtf were you thinking?!

    The only excuse I'll be happy with is that you're a student, and that $5 is worth another couple of beers...
     

    You know, my original post already had a "for anyone saying that the real wtf is compressing a drive" disclaimer at the end, but optimistically I deleted it before posting... for shame on me...

    Anyway, it has nothing to do with saving money or being a student - I have all the space I need on my 1.5TB RAID5 home server, thanks. Saving a few pence isn't the issue. And it's a 50GB partition, not a 50GB drive. :-)

    The computer in question is a laptop, and even the fastest laptop drives suck monkey nuts. So how do you improve on horribly slow drive read performance? You spend less time reading, which you can achieve via compression. With 2GHz+ dual core CPUs in today's laptops, the decompression burden is minimal, normally resulting in a net gain. At least in my last measurements - and that was on my previous single core laptop. Another by-product of this is that the average file uses less sectors, leading to lesser fragmentation, which decreases the performance loss between defrags. As a nice little cherry on the top, if you actually need it you can actually store more stuff on the drive too.

     
    But hey, if improving net performance with a few other side benefits is a WTF, slap a TDWTF label on me and call me Mister WhatTheFuffle!



  • Yeah, i find that microsoft products tend do weird stuff like that with their dialogues.  When i'm copying files the time will jump from 100minutes, to 2 mins, 50min, 10secs, 30minutes.  I realise when doing these things over a network there will be small discrepencies due to the network load etc. but they really should take the average over a longer time it seems to recaulate every half a second or so, which doesn't seem to really give a very accurate picture of how long it will take.



  • @versatilia said:

    Of course TRWTF is "compressing a drive"... seriously, with prices at 50 cents per GB, so (extrapolating) you made a 50GB drive store 60GB saving a whopping 5 bucks - wtf were you thinking?!



    Tell that to my Windows partition that I somehow managed to get only 1 MB free on.



  • @dhromed said:

    @qbolec said:

    I think that showing that there is some progress is important for the user.

    That is, even if the computation's where fucked up and the result was like 108 years, it's still nice to at least show "an animation" of hours changing repeatedly from 0 to 4, just to make an impression of not being stalled. Of cource it would be better to display "Hard to estimate" and show an animation of spining fan, or the Knight Rider neon.

    Mozilla applications, and some MSI's do that: a small bar shoots along the track of the normal prograss bar, indicating: "I don't know how long this will take just yet, buddy".

    It's interesting to note that my IE7 installer did that all the way through the installation, while still updating the line above it that said "installing component xyz... etc"

    People are willing to wait longer if they see progress. If there is no visible feedback they'll assume that things have locked up after only a few seconds. If they get an hourglass or propeller animation or suchlike that says "I'm busy" without giving an indication of how long it will be, they'll wait closer to thirty seconds before clicking buttons at random trying to elicit some reaction. (No, I forget which usability study supplied me with these numbers.) Give them some actual signs of progress (a regularly/frequently updated status caption of what is being done from one moment to the next, an actual progress bar - especially one that indicates percentage of tasks completed - irrespective of how fast individual tasks actually take as long as the bar doesn't stall too long) and they'll wait as long as necessary for the bar to creep to the end of its track.  Having a Knight Rider "umm...dunno, we'll see" progress bar I guess would be somewhere between those last two. It looks more active than a spinning fan and so looks more "progressive", but doesn't actually say anything more.

    Reminds me of the good old days, downloading something over a crackly 2400bps line, cheering each time the completion percentage incremented 90% .... 91% .... 92% ... and the connection still hadn't dropped out yet. You waited.



  • Yes I recall reading that research a year or two ago. It roughly matches real world experience.

     

    At least the Vista dialog showed it was doing something as the file names whizzed through one by one. 


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