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Author Topic: Windows Housekeeping  (Read 16386 times)

Floydoid

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Windows Housekeeping
« on: November 14, 2008, 10:26:40 AM »

By its very nature, over a period of time the Windows operating system accumulates a lot of clutter, and as a consequence suffers from sluggishness.  The purpose of this tutorial is to set out several  steps that can be taken which will improve system performance.  The article has been written from the perspective of Windows XP, but the principles should be similar in Vista, or Windows 2000.


1) TAKE OUT THE TRASH
It is a good idea to get into the habit of having a regular clean up.  This can be done  by using either Windows’ inbuilt Disk Cleanup utility, or by using the superior Ccleaner.  Once installed, the default settings in Ccleaner are fine, but if you are confident that Windows is working OK, you can tick the option to scourge windows ‘Hotfix Uninstallers’.


2) FREE UP SOME SPACE
There are several things you can do here.  Firstly consider uninstalling any applications that you never use, via Control Panel / Add or Remove Programs.  Only uninstall anything you are absolutely sure you don’t want (or that you have the installation files for).  If in doubt leave it alone.

Secondly, you can free up a bit of space by reducing the amount set aside for System Restore and the Recycle Bin.  By default, Windows reserves 12% and 10% of your C: drive for these.  In my opinion 2GB for either option should be ample.  [System Restore can be turned off altogether, but only do this if you are a very experienced (and confident) Windows user.]

For system restore, right-click on My Computer / Properties / System Restore tab - highlight C: and click on settings - move the slider down to 6% (or whatever).  OK it.  For the re-cycle bin, right-click on the recycle bin icon and adjust the slider accordingly (this can be done to a global setting, or individually if you have more than one drive or partition).  OK it.


3) TIDY UP
Firstly, if you have a spare partition or second hard drive, consider moving the My Documents folder to it.  This can be done in several ways.  Probably the easiest is to right-click on My Documents icon, choose ‘properties’, then changing the ‘target’, to e.g. D:\.  If you have a lot of documents this may take some time to do, so go and make a cup of tea.  TweakUI also has several options under Desktop / My Computer / Special Folders.

The other main tidy up procedure is to defragment your hard drive(s).  Windows does have a habit of scattering bits of the same file all over the place.  Think of it as being like your DVD shelf.  You might have a whole series of disks that form a particular set.  If they are not all adjacent to each other, it takes time to find all the parts.  The act of defragmenting will not only bring stuff together, but will also attempt to amalgamate the free space.  You can use either Windows own disk defragmenter tool, or third party software such as Diskeeper Lite, or Defraggler.  Defragmenting should be carried out after any major clean up exercise, or after installing new software, or major updates.


4) PERFORMANCE TWEAKS
There are many tweaks you can make to improve the overall performance to your system, but instead of listing them here, I would recommend that you take the time to look at one of the excellent guides written by Koroush Ghazi.

Happy housekeeping.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2008, 05:18:03 PM by Floydoid »
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oldfogy

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Re: Windows Housekeeping
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2008, 02:48:05 PM »


1) TAKE OUT THE TRASH
It is a good idea to get into the habit of having a regular clean up.  This can be done  by using either Windows’ inbuilt Disk Cleanup utility, or by using the superior Ccleaner.  Once installed, the default settings in Ccleaner are fine, but if you are confident that Windows is working OK, you can tick the option to scourge windows ‘Hotfix Uninstallers’.

Some excellent advice there Floydoid.

Can I just add, most people may not be aware of these "Hotfix Uninstallers" as they are located in the directory of "C:\windows" as "hidden files" (blue in colour).
SP3 alone leaves in excess of 500MB of "Hotfix Uninstallers" on your PC.

My PC runs reasonably well and removing these Hotfix Uninstallers on a regular basis has no detrimental effect.
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Floydoid

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Re: Windows Houskeeping
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2008, 02:58:03 PM »

Point taken OF, but if you're obsessively tidy like me...
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HPsauce

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Re: Windows Houskeeping
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2008, 03:56:34 PM »

A couple of extras I check:
1. Registry cleanup. Every few months. CCleaner (and others) can do this but I like (for XP) the Microsoft one which is part of the "comprehensive Full Service Scan" (customise to skip the unwanted stages) at their OneCare site: http://onecare.live.com/site/en-gb/default.htm
2. Internet Explorer temporary files. I've seen a LOT of PC's where the space reserved is set to a stupidly large number (gigabytes), I think maybe due to a bug in an update and it really slows things down. I usually nail it down to 20MB or so.
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tuftedduck

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Re: Windows Houskeeping
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2008, 04:02:21 PM »

I think I am right in saying that if space and not power saving is the priority, then you can save a considerable amount by ensuring that hibernation is not enabled.
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Floydoid

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Re: Windows Houskeeping
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2008, 04:08:37 PM »

@ HPsauce - I deliberately left out registry cleaning because it's a more specialist task, and I think it deserves a whole topic in itself (which I may decide to do at some point).

@TD you're probably right - that may be covered in the tweak guide I recommended.
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oldfogy

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Re: Windows Housekeeping
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2008, 05:10:30 PM »

A couple of extras I check:
...  I like (for XP) the Microsoft one which is part of the "comprehensive Full Service Scan"

I just ran the cleanup option and it reported my D:\ drive having 84GB as being temp files......
That 84GB is part of my 97GB of stored documents/programs and other personal files, "fortunately it had a "Cancel" option at the end of the process, further-more I did not like fact that basically it does not show or indicate what those files were.
I was not prepared to select "Next" on the off-chance of losing all of these files. (or having them compressed) especially when there is still ample free space on that drive.

**********************************************
edit:
Re my post above.

Quote
Can I just add, most people may not be aware of these "Hotfix Uninstallers" as they are located in the directory of "C:\windows" as "hidden files" (blue in colour).
SP3 alone leaves in excess of 500MB of "Hotfix Uninstallers" on your PC.

Although I have used this in the past, after just running it, yes it removed the Hotfix titles, but did not then show any space re-gained on my PC.
So, possible further inspection by someone more knowledgeable than myself is needed to confirm if this actually does retrieve the space it shows as taking up.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2008, 05:31:38 PM by oldfogy »
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Floydoid

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Re: Windows Housekeeping
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2008, 05:19:27 PM »

Oh blimey, I've not used windows disk cleanup for ages... stick with Ccleaner. ;)
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tonyappuk

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Re: Windows Housekeeping
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2008, 05:33:51 PM »

Another excellent tutorial Floydoid. Thanks. I particularly appreciated the link to Koroush Ghazi's Tweaking Companion. There's a wealth of info there. Kept me quiet for a couple of hours!
Tony
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Floydoid

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Re: Windows Housekeeping
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2008, 05:36:45 PM »

You're welcome Tony. :)
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oldfogy

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Re: Windows Housekeeping
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2008, 07:56:41 PM »


4) PERFORMANCE TWEAKS
There are many tweaks you can make to improve the overall performance to your system, but instead of listing them here, I would recommend that you take the time to look at one of the excellent guides written by Koroush Ghazi.

Just a update on the above "Korouch Ghazi" tweak Guide.

Both the Vista and XP guides have now been updated to versions: "TGTC_Vista_2.2" & "TGTC_XP_4.2"
And still remain free to download with over (268 Vista) and (189 XP) pdf pages containing various PC advice, hints and tips.

Don't be alarmed at the number of pages as the menu/index is well laid out and fully clickable to select the item you want.
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Floydoid

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Re: Windows Housekeeping
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2008, 08:23:02 AM »

Thanks for that OF.
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