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  1. #1
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    Windows 7 - anyone getting lazier optimizing their OS

    Ever since Win95 all the way to XP, I found a load of ways to tweak the OS to get it how I liked and move folders and page files to different hard drives to eek out performance gains.

    I can optimize WinXP off the top of my head, moving the pagefile, temp folders, browser caches, system shell folders etc to dedicated drives to limit fragmentation and speed up access. Run Perfect disk defraggers, optimize and compact the registry, run clean up utilities, tweakui etc. I knew every service off by heart and which ones I could disable for security and performance gains. Was useful for older machines, which I no longer own.

    Really anal things that took up time for minimum gains on modern PC's, since they have huge storage capacity, mem and lightening fast CPU's.

    Then I moved to Windows 7 64bit with 4GB ram. And I realised that I might as well just let the thing run on it's own 640GB drive (in the future a SSD drive) as the designers intended, leave the pagefile and other default locations put and let it mess up 640GB as much as it wants with restore, temp files etc. I have a separate hard drive for storage and downloads/torrents (user data) and another for games, emulators and projects, but that's it. Three partitions. Simple.

    I'll still watch what I install and remove startup programs and junk that's not required, but I'm not going to constantly tweak the OS as much as XP. I no longer see the point as long as it works as I want.

    So I can be surfing the net on C:, downloading/uploading on D:, gaming or encoding/archiving on E: all at the same time and each task has it's own hard drive as not to slow down access.

    In other words, I only spend time optimizing what brings real performance gains now in Windows 7. And my computing experience feels no different.

    One day I'll clean it up, perhaps a year down the line, or I may just restore the activated clean backup image I made on fresh install using the built in backup utility.

    Anyone else given up constantly optimizing and tweaking their OS to epic proportions? (nothing wrong with it, it can be a fun hobby treating Windows like Linux - always tinkering away!)
    Last edited by Bloodwych; 23rd September 2010 at 21:44.
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  2. #2
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    I do like to tinker with the OS. Even Vista/Win 7 can benefit from having their pagefile moved to another physical drive, and pointless services disabled. In fact when I get people's PCs to repair them I can never help tidying up their OS for them a bit. BIOS settings are also really important to get the most from PCs these days. Legacy or new modes for different ports to run in such as IDE or AHCI for SATA ports, HD audio support etc. I also tend to know most of the services which can be disabled or set to manual so they don't all get started at boot time. Some such as messenger need to be disabled really for security reasons.

    Although I definitely don't tinker around as much as I was forced to long ago with Win9x OSs. I remember spending evenings trying to get all the IRQs to reconfigure so each piece of hardware was using a unique one. What a nightmare that used to be, and the oft seen BSOD IRQ conflict or virtual IRQ errors. Especially if you dared to plug a new USB device in! I'm so glad those days are not gone. None of that really bad 16-bit legacy rubbish running under the OS.

    The difference between then and now is that we used to have to tinker and configure the OS to make the system stable enough to use, whereas now it is just to make it perform better or to alter how a piece of hardware functions. Stability issues these days are next to none compared to the old 9x OSs.

    One thing that is really bad with Vista/7 is the ever expanding Windows directory holding multiple copies of every update file it has ever downloaded and installed. And you can't just delete them all as the system doesn't like it. My current Vista Ultimate 64bit installation is eating up about 100GB of space, and that us with programs and games installed on a separate drive. Mad when you compare this with an XP install which will sit happily in a 10-20GB partition and not have any problem (well unless you start installing lots of games and applications into that boot partition).

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  3. #3
    For those who dare! ClassicWB dev
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    LOL, yeah I used to do the IRQ battle in Win9x!

    I agree that modern Windows takes up a mega huge amount of space. Especially the 64bit version with all the 32bit libs - so much so I made the decision to dedicate an entire drive to it! Windows 2000 was a very nice compact OS, XP refined that although it did add a little bloat which could be removed. Then we get Vista and Windows 7 - mega bloat! All the restore and update space etc! .NET is pretty huge install as well and is constantly updating! .NET seems like a OS on its own.

    To think, all that extra space and the computer essentially does exactly what it did in the Windows 2000 days.
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    So true. It seems that often Vista/7 doesn't seen any faster running on many current PCs than Windows 2000 did back in 2001/2 because it has so much more to juggle, especially at boot time. As soon as it gets to the desktop it is then instantly polling the network to gain access to request update information for every part of the OS and related software.

    But as always, give the software developers faster processors, multiple cores, more powerful GPUs, more ram and bigger harddrives and they will start to design their software to take advantage of it. You can see their point of view really. Why have all that power and resources and not use it? It would be like owning a 3 litre V6 car and driving it with 2 of the cylinders disabled.

    Windows 2000 Pro was my favourite OS for a long time and I even put off updating properly to XP until it has SP2 as I just didn't need it. Eventually I had to as Adobe software started to require it as a minimum. And in my view Windows Server 2003 and 2008 are the real successors to Windows 2000, not XP and so on. At that point the NT core really branched off into the 2, which was a good idea as it allowed M$ to developer the consumer OS more for daily use and the server version with a more stable and robust, but less resource hungry UI that is more function over aesthetic. Give that Win2000 style UI to a lot of home PC users and gamers these days and they wouldn't stop moaning at you, which is funny for gamers especially because if they still had that then their systems would probably be running faster and more stably.

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  5. #5
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    But as always, give the software developers faster processors, multiple cores, more powerful GPUs, more ram and bigger harddrives and they will start to design their software to take advantage of it. You can see their point of view really. Why have all that power and resources and not use it?
    My answer: Because you're writing an OS you're supposed to make it leave a small a footprint as possible so the user has more resources for other things. But I see what you mean.

    To answer the topic question, no I don't optimize Windows that much exactly apart from fixing the startup and actually removing programs I don't use. I was happy to see in Windows 7 that you can turn off several integrated Windows features now. Don't know if you could in Vista as I never used it. But that's a great addition. Finally, goodbye Windows Media Player. So long Windows Media Center. And good riddance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teho View Post
    But as always, give the software developers faster processors, multiple cores, more powerful GPUs, more ram and bigger harddrives and they will start to design their software to take advantage of it. You can see their point of view really. Why have all that power and resources and not use it?
    My answer: Because you're writing an OS you're supposed to make it leave a small a footprint as possible so the user has more resources for other things. But I see what you mean.
    WHOA, I didn't realise that Windows 7 would chew up such resources! Geez, at least try and make it compact so that the user can actually benefit from having the extra speed, ram and HDD space. I'm so used to XP, who knows if I will ever change! Is there even a point to go to 7?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Submeg View Post
    I'm so used to XP, who knows if I will ever change! Is there even a point to go to 7?
    Simple answer. Definitely!

    Vista was a bit of a problem for M$ because it wasn't optimised and so was very resource hungry and open felt slow and bloated. It was however still a big improvement on XP. And I was very happy with Vista, using it as my main OS for over a year, but I still at times encountered issues with its unoptimised code. My main PC has 16GB of ram, but surprising as this might sound, Vista sometimes managed to somehow use it all up and throw up the "you are running short of memory, please close some programs" message, which was more common in XP and Win9x.

    I have now upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit and even though Vista and Win7 are very similar, as 7 is basically an optimised Vista, you can definitely see M$ has finally been listening to there customers and addressed a lot of the issues with Vista, or the niggles people had with it. They have stramlined a lot of the control panel more to make it easier for users to find and alter settings. You can now easily change security settings such as the program control that always throws up a message asking if you really want to do something every time you alter a program, install an update. That can be easily switched off now in a control panel, rather than only if you knew how in Vista. But one of the biggest changes is that it just works! If you have ever installed a copy of Windows (any version) you will know that once installed you will normally be in a low resolution, because the graphics drivers needs to be installed, and lots of hardware within the computer won't be working until manually installed and setup. Not the case with Windows 7 for any systems I'm installed it on yet. It seems very good at identifying hardware and installing working drivers for it. I've installed it on systems from old Athlon XP systems over 6 years old, to quite new systems running Intel Core and i3/i5/i7 systems and it has always found and got working most of the hardware within them. They all had the native resolution set for the monitor and working, the audio working etc... all out of the box. Brilliant.

    They have also copied a few ideas from other OSs. The ability to now pin applications to the left of the taskbar is very similar to Mac OSX, with you clicking the pinned icon and it loading the application, showing it open from the same position. Other little helpful additions, such as moving a windows to the left or right will let you snap the windows to half the width of the screen; useful if you need to applications open side of side while working. Or drag it to the top to open full screen. The Vista sidebar is also gone, now allowing you to put desktop gadgets where ever you like on the screen. Gadgets are again similar in idea to OSX's, and I'm not sure who really thought of them first. You could say they existed on the Amiga... so no one could really lay claim to them really.

    And finally it is a lot more optimised and faster. To give you an idea, in Vista my main PC would boot into the desktop in under 2 minutes (remember I have a lot of things installed and setup), but would then take a bit of time to fully load everything and becoming fully usable. Thinks like Outlook or Firefox would also take some time to initially load as Vista seemed to take a bit of time to release access to the network. In Windows 7 is all seems optimised and fixed. The same PC boots into the desktop in less than a minute and no waiting once it is there. Click a pinned application like Outlook or Firefox and they spring to life, loading instantly and working straight away. It is a huge improvement. And this is even with exactly the same security software "Kaspersky 2011" installed.

    So basically, yes, there is a big reason to go to 7. It is a huge improvement over XP, and really makes XP feel like the 9 year old OS that it is.

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