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Hasta la Windows Vista, baby! It's now officially dead – good riddance

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Haters gonna hate

The final version of Vista (with the platform update and so on) is more or less Windows 7, but was mercifully spared the GWX malware.

The main problems were drivers and hardware power, both of which solved themselves. And, with the benefit of hindsight, it's not that bad compared to Windows 8 and 10, is it?

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Re: Haters gonna hate

Yeah, even out-of-the-box, Vista was a very solid under-the-hood improvement over XP. More or less all the problems with it were in the UI and user-unfriendlyness. It brought massive security improvements from top-to-bottom and was one of the most stable versions of Windows to ever be released.

It's just a shame that MS ruined it by going out of their way to piss the user off at every turn, wherever possible, at exactly the point in time that Apple were doing the exact opposite with the much-loved 2k7 Macbook Pro and the iPhone. And from that, Microsoft learned the lesson that users are willing to sacrifice security for ease of use every time - which is exactly why Win 10 now rifles through your personal data at every opportunity.

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Re: Haters gonna hate

Indeed, Vista was under rated and unfairly criticised on occasions.

User Account Control butted in a lot when first setting up a PC, creating the impression that UAC would be a permanent nuisance. But once you've installed your apps and tweaked a few control panels, UAC goes away. If you are using Windows as a user (rather than administrator), you can run for weeks without seeing a UAC prompt.

Let's not forget that UAC is present in later Windows versions that some people like. Similar features exist in MacOS and Linux desktop interfaces. Microsoft's mistake -- and it was a big one -- was to make UAC so annoying first time around. If they'd paid more attention to beta testers (and MS went out of their way to ignore reports about features), it would have been more like UAC under Windows 7.

Also remember that application developers were finally forced to write software which did not require admin rights. UAC interruptions went away because applications were written properly; user software rarely needs admin rights, and if developers had followed guidelines (ones published in 1999 for NT5 and Windows 2000), their applications would have just worked. The UAC prompt should only pop up for your application when the user launches the installer -- with a few exceptions such as backup software. Organisations with the resource to install privilege management software can even get some old rubbish to run safely without upsetting users.

I've met many Microsoft employees who understood security and wanted to make Windows work for standard user rights. I've also met full blown tossers who I wouldn't trust to run the toilet roll replenishment rota at a scout camp; they tended to be programme managers.

And finally, a big round of applause to the poor so and sos in the Microsoft application compatibility team who keep badly written application software running without anyone noticing what they do.

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Re: Haters gonna hate

What made UAC particularly annoying in Vista was that every time it activated, it demanded that you click through precisely the same dialogue *twice*.

I have no idea why. By the time Windows 7 came around MS had apparently noticed this behaviour and fixed it, but it remained true in Vista for as long as I used it, which was a few years.

I'm not, completely, sure whether Vista was genuinely awful or whether it was merely ahead of its time, but I'm still inclined toward "genuinely awful". This opinion is largely formed of the time when I tried to include in my library a generated document called "security", and discovered that Vista actually treated otherwise-identical documents differently based on the filename. My software failed absolutely (and without warning or error messages of any kind) to save the document with the name "security".

Changing the document name to "Permissions" fixed the issue. But it left me boggled and incredulous, and really it still does.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Haters gonna hate

Yeah, even out-of-the-box, Vista was a very solid under-the-hood improvement over XP.

I'd agree with this to an extent; at least with Vista, the issues were never on a scale that had me wanting to revert to an earlier version of Windows, unlike a certain more recent OS I could mention.

But if you bought a new machine when Vista first launched, and experienced the driver and other issues that many people did, I think you'd be a bit more equivocal about that "solid under-the-hood improvement over XP". Waiting minutes for a USB device to be detected, then realising it was time to faff around deleting a corrupted infcache.1 file again, had me wanting to throw my new Vista powered laptop out the window many times in the first few months. That kind of issue was pretty widespread in the early days of Vista.

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Re: Haters gonna hate

"discovered that Vista actually treated otherwise-identical documents differently based on the filename."

UAC on 7 and 10 does that for programs as well. Any EXE whose name includes certain sequences on a particular blacklist will trigger a UAC prompt even if all it does is call MessageBox and exit.

Among those sequences is "setup". You cannot run any program whose name contains that - e.g. virtualbox-version-setup.exe or mygame-setup-versionnumber.exe or even plain old setup.exe - without seeing the prompt.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Haters gonna hate

Built one of my godsons an I7 920 PC . Ported his existing XP system to it as a temporary measure - with a separate disk carrier for a new build of Vista. He tried the Vista boot a few times - then stayed with XP until the PC was eventually upgraded to W7.

That reminds me that the Vista hard disk is still sitting on a shelf somewhere. Time to use it as back-up storage.

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Re: Haters gonna hate

To support an old Windows only application I have just set up a new (cheap!) windows 10 pc to replace the geriatric Vista PC it was running on.

Cannot say I am impressed. There does not seem to be any way to kill Cortana -- it is the cockroach of apps and will still be offering to help the surviving twinkies long after armegeddon.

Likewise Edge will not go away and keeps nagging to be the default browser again, though I suspect it will replace chrome as the default after every security upgrade.

GIven all the "phone home" stuff that it sends back to Microsoft it is touch and go whether its more secure than an unpatched copy of Vista; just because it is MS stealing your data does not make it OK.

So the only lesson they have really learned is not to have a viable fall back like XP when forcing a rubbish new OS on to their customers.

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Re: Haters gonna hate

"But if you bought a new machine when Vista first launched, and experienced the driver and other issues that many people did, I think you'd be a bit more equivocal about that "solid under-the-hood improvement over XP". "

I wouldn't put driver issues down to the OS tbh. Otherwise we'd have to say Linux was a 'bad' OS right up until the mid-2000s, which simply isn't true. Plus, bad drivers were the cause of most BSODs, which were pretty commonplace in early XP (and 2000, and 98, and 95...). Vista actually had the ability to close a dud driver down gracefully where in XP it would simply tank the whole system.

The reason for many of the driver issues in early Vista was that they'd shifted the standards from WDM to WDF, and suddenly a lot of older drivers were found to be horrifically badly put together and insecure by default. MS wanted to move as much as they could to user-mode frameworks that were both easier to write correctly and infinitely better security practice; many previously-existing drivers fell really badly foul of this, or demanded to sit in the kernel even when there was no good reason for them to do so.

So really, the poor driver support was literally the flipside of the same coin as the stability and security improvements.You couldn't have good aspects without invalidating a lot of amateurish code.

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Re: Haters gonna hate

Well, Vista was a problem to update at one point. If you could get it to update to the service pack version without destroying itself, then it was not so bad, but sometimes it would destroy itself in a very random manner trying to get the updates to apply.

That is, you could install Vista and let it run updates and see it end up destroying itself. Then you could repeat the procedure the exact same way and have it work out fine. More often than not, you could get it updated successfully, but it would destroy itself often enough to make you feel like you were playing Russian roulette with the install. I would always make sure of the updates before investing any more than necessary effort on anything else about the system.

Even after you got it installed, the network would often act strange in a domain environment, being outperformed by orders of magnitude by both XP and 7. I never noticed that issue with home versions on the Internet. Because the problems with Vista in a domain were addressed sooner by 7 than in Vista (if they ever were addressed in Vista), it never got out of the testing stage for use by the business I work for. That is, we were testing it until we were satisfied, and we became satisfied with 7 before Vista, so we passed Vista by.

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Gimp

Re: Haters gonna hate

I wonder if 'Vista is now officially dead' means something changed in comparison to last year or so and if other Windozes are more alive in one way or another. If Vista is 'work in progress', does that mean work on it proceedes no longer?

The press has told us that Vista was full of problems, and 7 was much more popular, but apparently only the version number changed to something more computable.

How much longer must the captive fangirls wait for their promised Windows Longhorn?

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Re: Haters gonna hate

@James Anderson "just because it is MS stealing your data does not make it OK." - the only difference between Slurp's 'Spyware-as-a-Service' and malware is you can get rid of malware. Theft of data is still theft of data.

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Re: Haters gonna hate

And finally, a big round of applause to the poor so and sos in the Microsoft application compatibility team who keep badly written application software running without anyone noticing what they do.

In some circles, this is a good thing and those folks are wise... "job security via job obscurity".

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Coat

Has MS Killed W10 yet?

Now that would be news. This? Meh!

The one with really big pockets that are holding all the floppies for WFW 3.11. At least that version of windows does not send my activities back to the mothership.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Has MS Killed W10 yet?

Was WFW3.11 more than a few floppies? IIRC W95 was a lot of floppies.

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Re: Has MS Killed W10 yet?

Redmond is silently liquidating WIndows 10 to replace it with something called 'creator's update'.

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Re: Has MS Killed W10 yet?

Not nearly as many as NT 3.51 ...

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it's vaunted “Aero” interface made it slower than Windows XP, which is not what an upgrade is supposed to do.

I think most OS upgrades do that, its just that hardware improves to compensate, or rather a new OS will put new features in and expand hardware requirements to absorb any hardware improvements.

Vista just did it more than most

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DRM

Don't forget that Vista also was a point of a massive increase in DRM built in to the OS, and that also had a serious impact on the resources needed to use it.

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I'd bee to differ

Despite all the hate against win8 I found it worked much better than Vista on the same machine. Though circumstantial I doubt I'm the only one. Win 7 though looks to the next xp and really it was a massive system pack so it's still sort of with us (see the kernal versions Vista 6, win7 6.1 and win8 6.2)

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Anonymous Coward

The problem with Vista was that frequency scaling stopped in its tracks. New machines didn't have a significantly higher single-thread performance for everyday workloads, but the OS was a lot less efficient.

A typical "Vista capable" laptop ran like treacle in midwinter, even after turning off every imaginable feature. On the other hand Vista was OK on a high end machine such as one might imagine MS developers would be using...

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XP's interface (with all the eye candy turned on) did bring some machines that could run win2K acceptably to their knees.

These were ancient P3-based machines that just barely met the minimum processor and memory spec for XP, so that was not surprising.

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Anonymous Coward

No software truly dies. It just asymptotically approaches zero.

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Happy

So it joins the choir invisible/ goes to meet its maker/pushes up the daisies asymptotically, then?

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Holmes

It's not all bad news

Windows itself may have been kicked into second place by Android as the whole industry leaves it behind for mobile, but the average user benefits from the fantastic work the innovative giants have made over the decades to create the mobile ecosystem system we have now.

Nokia's contribution: Paved the way by showing users they really needed mobile tech

Blackberry's contribution: Showed business how essential secure, live information always with you is

Apple's contribution: Sleek, user friendliness lit the smartphone revolution fuse

Google's contribution: Gave the world its most popular mobile OS for free. Commoditised smartphones.

Microsofts contribution: Takes $5-$10 from every Android handset sold in patent royalties.

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Re: It's not all bad news

"Google's contribution: Gave the world its most popular mobile OS for free. Commoditised smartphones. Brainwashed the vast majority into believing that their acts of mass surveillance are socially acceptable.

TFTFY.

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Re: It's not all bad news

Lets face it - Facebook is probably the most obvious act of mass surveillance and the morons masses still lap it up. And now we have MS chasing the pair of them to see who can get the most secrets with the lest KY, but also oddly expecting us still to pay for windows.

Except of course for us rats penguins who jumps from that sinking ship a while ago.

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Re: It's not all bad news

TBF to microsoft (and I say this as someone who is having to use Win 10 - so you can guess it grates a bit), I feel they did help bring the PC to the mass market to some degree. It felt like at uni one year everything was green screen Vax and Dos (and email was a pain thanks for the help there Sir Tim) and the computer faicilities were quite empty, after the summer hols, everyone was on outlook express sending emails and using desktops.

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Flame

Burn it

Burn it with fire.

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Re: Burn it

Burn it with fire? I say we take off and nuke the entire installation from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.

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Vista Capable

they wouldn't have struggled to run the OS, they just couldn't display Aero and had to use either Basic or Classic (Windows 2000) schemes. A faux pas, but very different from not having the horsepower to run the OS itself.

That said, having been in the desert of Linux since the release of XP (I hated the Fisher Price), I found Vista a better all-round package - but maybe that was because I was coming from Linux, where you had to "sudo" all the time when changing system settings.

Once Vista was up and running, it didn't ask for the admin password very much. But you had to get through the nagging, whilst installing all of your applications first...

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Re: Vista Capable

No, it wasn't just Aero it was the who display subsystem using XML, which was like going back to Display Postscript and pouring treacle on it: this required lots of memory. As long as you had that then you were fine, with or without stupid translucent effects.

At the time a friend of mine asked for help getting a notebook. We went straight for 4GB which was a huge step up at the time when many XP machines had 500 MB or just 256 MB but he was happy with the machine all the way until recently retiring it. I heard similar things from other people who had Vista: with enough RAM they liked it, without it, it was a pig.

Windows Vista did indeed introduce lots of security and stability improvements of which disabling shitty drivers was key but the UAC was just badly done because it was too granular. We've similar things with the privacy settings in modern mobile phones but at least permissions are now grouped into generally understandable high level categories.

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Re: Vista Capable

I thought that Microsoft fouled it up with the expression Aero Glass which was two things.

Aero was the GUI design -- window shapes and where the close box appeared, some Explorer features etc. Just a theme, like Classic.

Glass -- as its name implies -- was the transparency functionality; it was copying the feature from MacOS X which had a few applications that used it. Glass typically required a decent graphics card although it did work with onboard graphics adapters one new PCs (Intel and Nvidia) when Vista shipped. Glass never took off. Transparency was used in some Explorer desktop effects but Glass was rarely adopted for applications where it could have made a difference such as GIS. The market was for Windows XP and Glass didn't work there.

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@LionelB Re: Vista Capable

You seem to be saying that as if it's a bad thing.

I'm saying that, coming from a secure OS, where you had to provide the password to change anything, you were aware of why you were doing it and that it was a good idea... People coming from Windows 9x and Windows XP found it to be a pain, even if it was covering their arses.

Once it was up and running, I was only getting one or two prompts a month. But installing all their apps at when people got their new machine was probably what gave UAC its bad reputation.

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Re: @LionelB Vista Capable

Yes, agreed - and apologies (and an upvote): it wasn't clear to me what you were getting at.

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Meh

Nothing changes

...leading then-Microsoft-CEO Steve Ballmer to say the OS was “a work in progress” rather than the finished item.

A Microsoft OS is only ever a finished item when it is out of official support.

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Thumb Down

Re: Nothing changes

Back then saying Vista was a work in progress was an admission of failure, with Windows 10 its a strategy.

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Re: Nothing changes

>Back then saying Vista was a work in progress was an admission of failure

More of an admission of total incompetence (wrt OS development), remember MS had already failed to deliver Windows Longhorn, canning the original project in 2004 and then also shutting down the Longhorn Reloaded skunkworks project.

Looking back it does seem that Vista and Win10 have a lot in common: Vista was MS's attempt to recoup something out of Longhorn and W10 is clearly MS's attempt to recoup something from the beating it has taken over the Win8 mess. The problem MS have given themselves going forward, is that with Vista they were able to build a decent OS out of Vista and rebadge it as Win7, whereas with Win10 MS have ruled out a Win11 release.

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Anonymous Coward

What?

Out of support?

But it hasnt finished indexing my drives yet.

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Re: What?

Ah. Then what you need is a cheap USB stick and ReadyBoost. That'll fix her up.

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Vista did it right

Windows 7 was forced to degrade UAC and disable the secure desktop by default, as users don't like security. Any sensible W7 installation increases the security from default.

Where it went wrong was the initial crap driver support, manufacturer's taking the opportunity to end of life products, and a boatload of bugs. SP2 improved things a lot.

It was pretty stable, but it took a while before the graphic drivers were up to scratch.

My Vista machine at home now has a big red warning on security essentials saying it's unsupported. Time to take it off the network, no worries, it's only used for Windows games on my laptop, the main install is OpenBSD.

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Re: Vista did it right

I have a Vista machine that I use daily - it's a solid machine, works great and has the prettiest GUI, it's actually pleasant to use. For me it's just a test machine to ensure that our software installs correctly and runs fine on Vista but I have all my test machines configured for daily use - it's the only way to be certain.

Sure UAC was a surprise initially but boy was it ever needed! Fully patched, Vista is a pleasure to use.

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Re: Vista did it right

Aero was stupid.

W10's "flat" is the opposite stupid extreme, but at least on Vista you could disable all the stupidity!

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Megaphone

Re: Vista did it right

yeah, I _MUCH_ prefer the OS fail called "Vista" than Win-10-nic.

Vista ANY day over THAT chimera-monstrosity-excretion-from-hell!!!

(that's assuming I don't have 7 available and can't run BSD nor Linux for some reason)

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I remember trying out Longhorn when it was released, and couldn't get over how - from the start - it used over 1GB doing nothing. When Vista came out, this didn't improve.

The UAC was - and still is - painful to use. I know Linux uses the same sort of confirmation but it was/is far less annoying than it was on Vista. No idea why that was, maybe it's because for every little thing I needed to put on there it needed to be clicked. Whereas Linux it'd ask me once and let me carry on for a little while.

But it won't be missed. The only one worried about today is Windows 8. The clock on the wall is going tick tock for you my friend.

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Anonymous Coward

"Which may be why Microsoft hasn't even offered the extended paid support offering it developed for Windows XP, to sneak out secret fixes to those willing to write substantial cheques."

The actual reason is that they finally took the product out of beta and renamed it Windows 7, so the security fixes are still being implemented there. Why would you offer support and related headaches for a product that's always been in beta when you can just push people to the full release version?

For the record, Vista was what pushed me away to use Linux & OSX full time outside of work. I got an admittedly crappy cheap Acer laptop with Vista preinstalled, and I quickly noticed 2 things. The laptop would regularly overheat even while idle, and copying any decent number of files across my home network was nigh on impossible due to the extra slow speed of transfer. I chalked this down to the bargain basement machine originally, until I started dual booting and noticed that neither of these issues happened in Linux. The network speed was fixed by installing SP1 when that finally came out, but by then I'd given up on booting into that partition when I needed to actually do something...

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true names and other superstitions

For me the bottom fell out of the Vista marketplace when a techie friend told me he was playing with the Microsoft Windows Vista beta. I refrained from asking him if vistabetion made one blind, as he was not expecting that sort of humour from me. I also carefully refrained from ever making any suggestive remarks about Longhorn and vistabetion ... I don't expect to be beatified, let alone sainted, but as you can see I have made considerable strides along that pathway ...

I've got a sample of Microsoft Windows Vista at home, something I picked up at an opshop.

Microsoft screwed up royally with Vista. Recalling the hype and the rest of it, it gave the impression that it had no idea what it was supposed to be doing with the Win32 platform. It had a most valuable property in the form of the Win32 WinXP desktop, and Vista gave the impression of a downgrade. I don't understand why Microsoft took so long in rolling the Monkey Boy.

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Won't miss it

Vista was more-or-less where I took my leave from having Windows as my main OS at home. My main problem with it was that Microsoft and a lot of the hardware manufacturers decided that they couldn't (or wouldn't) create drivers for existing or slightly older kit. As a result if I'd got myself a PC running Vista then such things as my printer and flatbed scanner would be unusable.

Plus I'd also got to the stage in my life where after cajoling computers to do something at work all day I really couldn't be bothered to mess about with a Windows box at home just to get the sodding thing to run normally.

So I signed my pact in blood and jumped to Mac, which of course has its own pros and cons. But I don't spend anywhere as much time keeping it up to date (unlike some Win VMs I still have).

Another reason to hate Vista is that at one point my dad had a PC and a laptop both running it. I spent a few fruitless hours trying to copy some files between them on the network before giving in and just using sneakernet.

I've heard that eventually with a service pack etc Vista was OK, but by then it had pissed off a rather large amount of people who do not remember it fondly.

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Re: Won't miss it

"...But I don't spend anywhere as much time keeping it up to date (unlike some Win VMs I still have)..."

Yeah but how much of that is because you rarely boot them?

My Windows machines patch with MS patches once a month - occasionally more often. The applications patch as and when.

It's not particularly onerous unless it's a (typically a VM) I haven't booted for weeks or occasionally months.

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