Writing at work

At work, I routinely answer questions from customers. I can usually handle most questions thrown at me. I’m pretty good at crafting a thoughtful response. But this one had me stumped. Removing the identifying information, the customer complaint was as follows:

“We have recently been adding some new computers to our [office]. One has Vista Ultimate and 3 more have Windows 7 (pro). These are new systems with 3+ gigs of ram. We have a dedicated Win Server 2003 server machine… . These newer machines are all slower [running the same program] than our older 1 gig of ram XP machines. I am stumped.”

This particular question baffled me. Let me see, you are using the familiar computer program on a different computer with a different operating system, and yet you are “stumped” as to why you are getting a different performance? My process is usually to first let out the creative, flippant, and/or sarcastic thoughts, and see what sticks…

“I used to eat apples, but now I eat oranges, and they taste different. I am stumped.”

“I used to swim at an indoor public swimming pool. But recently I tried swimming in the open ocean. Even though I was doing the same thing, it was slower and more difficult in the rougher, colder waters.”

“Remember how you used to be able to go through the airport quickly and easily. And then they tightened up security checkpoints? Yeah, welcome to Microsoft Windows Vista and 7”

Those out of my system, I next try to compose something a little more professional. After several rewrites, here is what I came up with.

Microsoft Windows Vista and 7 represent significant upgrades to the operating system, and as such, present new challenges. New boasted features include increased security. Network activity is scrutinized more closely by Windows, in an attempt to prevent unwanted files or access to your system. Unfortunately, the tradeoff for this sort of protection is a slower performing system. Your software is continuing to do the same job as before, but it is hindered by the additional security checks that the operating system is undertaking.

Also consider that, because you are running a different operating system, you are most likely running different antivirus or firewall software than your Windows XP machines, which may also be contributing to the perceived slowdown in performance.

You would be best advised to consult with a good hardware technician who can tweak some of the security settings and/or services being ran by the operating system, antivirus, or other services installed on these new machines, so that network traffic is still secure – but not impeded in performance.

Yes, that is sounding pretty good. I like it.

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