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Install several partitions:

If you want to install several operating systems, you should divide the hard disk in several partitions (c:, d:, e: etc.). By means of that the different windows versions do not get in conflict with each other. One should install a second or third partition as well if one has only one operating system. For example, if you install Windows XP or Windows 7 on partition c:, you store personal data or games on the other partitions. Thereby, you have a better overview and do not lose important data during a new installation.

During the install process, Windows offers the possibility to set up several partitions. There is a function of making partitions even if Windows is already installed. To do this, you should go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management and then Disk Management. By a click with the right mouse on an existing partition it can be deleted. After that click with the right mouse button on the free area and choose “New partition”. However, on cannot delete the primary partition (c:) or changing its size. This is only possible with extended partitions or a second hard drive. Caution: All data within the partition will be lost if you delete it!

It is more convenient, however, to use partition programs. One of them, for example, is Acronis Disk Director. These programs are easier to use and can be started on a boot CD. One can do a formatting of partitions with them as well.

If you plan to install several operating systems on a computer, it is advisable to install the older one (e.g. Windows 7) first and then the newer one (e.g. Windows 8). Thus, one gets the choice between two operating systems during the start process (Multiboot or Dual Boot). Observe the following advices though:

  • choose “Custom (advanced)” and install the new operating system in a partition that you have already set up
  • the newer Windows versions can only be installed on a partition that has been formated with the NTFS system
  • the formatting with NTFS should be done before or during the installation by Windows itself (this is especially true with SSD hard drives)

The file system FAT32 offers no support for files that are larger than 4 GB.  If one has such large files, one should format partitions with either NTFS or exFAT, but not FAT32. Windows XP, however, is (in contrast to Vista SP1 or Windows 7) only with a Microsoft patch able to read or format exFAT drives.

Formatting with exFAT can really take a long time. One can reduce that time by clicking the start button in the lower left corner and entering the following command:

    format [drive]: /FS:exfat /A:32k /Q

For example: format d: /FS:exfat /A:32k /Q

Quick format commands for FAT32 and NTFS:

    format [drive]: /FS:FAT32 /A:32k /Q

    format [drive]: /FS:NTFS /A:32k /Q

 

Deactivate UAC:

The User Account Control (UAC) annoys a lot of users with unnecessary warnings. In some cases even programs cannot be installed.

Here is the way to deactivate UAC:

  • Vista: Control Panel > User Accounts > Turn User Account Control on or off
  • Win7,Win8: Control Panel > User Accounts > Change User Account Control settings

 

Deactivate Windows System Assessment Tool:

The Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSAT) is scheduled to automatically run every week. For a short time CPU and graphics card are strongly busy and fans run at full blast.

If one does not want that behaviour of Windows, one has to deactivate that task::

    Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler > left window > Microsoft\Windows\Maintenance > disable WinSAT

 

Exclude unnecessary programs from system start:

Some programs (e.g. virus scanners) have the habit to be active when the operating system is starting. This can lead to a severe slowing down of the computer. In worst case scenarios the installation or start of other programs can be prevented.

With Msconfig one has the possibility to have a better control over starting programs:

    Start > Msconfig > Startup

 

Disable unnecessary services:

Some Windows services can slow down your system. This is especially true for Third Party Programs. Norton Ghost, for example, is always active in the background. Many users report that it strongly slows down their computer. Therefore, it should only be started if one needs it. This is achieved by switching the service to “Manual”.

    Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services

 

Disable the spy function of Windows:

In order to prevent that Windows “phones home” one should use xp-Antispy. This program also has some tweaks that increase the speed of the system.

With the following registry entry one can avoid that Windows automatically connects to a Microsoft server after each restart in order to check its connection status:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\NlaSvc\Parameters\Internet]
"EnableActiveProbing"=dword:00000000

 

Block servers from computer:

In the hosts file of Windows, one can enter that particular servers shall have no access to the computer anymore. This is especially reasonable with ad servers. There are hosts files on the web that have already a large amount of such servers integrated. An example is the file of winhelp2002.mvps.org.

The hosts file can be found in

    C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc\

 

Activate sharper fonts:

ClearType smooths Windows fonts and shall deliver a more pleasant typeface. In fact, it often makes fonts fuzzy.

One can deactivate ClearType by doing the following:

  • XP: Control Panel > Display > Appearance > Effects > Disable smooth edges of screen fonts
  • Vista, Win7, Win8: Control Panel > Display > Adjust ClearType text > Disable ClearType

In newer Windows versions, however, this is not enough to get clearer screen fonts in all applications. This is due to DirectWrite (DWrite). In order to have a clearer view in Internet Explorer 9 and MS Office as well, one has to download two files of DWrite.dll wrapper and copy them in the installation folders.

  • Internet Explorer 9: C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer
  • MS Office: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE...

Here is the method to get clearer fonts in Firefox:

    Tools > Options > Advanced > General > Disable hardware acceleration

 

Accelerate Windows:

Unfortunately, Windows is optimized to good optics and comfort, but not optimized speed. With a short change of settings in the control panel, however, this can be easily solved:

  • XP: Control Panel > System > Advanced > Perfomance > Settings > Visual Effects > Adjust for best performance
  • Vista, Win7, Win8: Control Panel > System > Advanced system settings > Advanced > Perfomance > Settings > Visual Effects > Adjust for best performance

 

Deactivate Hibernation:

Hibernation ensures that Windows saves the content of the main memory on the hard drive while the computer is shutting down. After booting Windows can quickly return to the previous state. However, nowadays this function is dispensable in most cases. Microsoft has reduced the boot time of Windows considerably. Furthermore, hibernation needs a lot of space on the hard drive. As a rule it is the size of the main memory. For example, if one has 4 GB RAM the same amount on the hard drive is needed.

In order to deactivate hibernation, one should do the following:

  • XP: Control Panel > Power Options > Hibernate > Disable hibernation
  • Vista, Win7, Win8: Start > cmd >powercfg -h off

 

Clean Windows:

After the installation of programs often temporary files remain on the hard drive. These files can have a size of several GB. If one wants to regain storage space, one should delete files of following folders:

  • XP:
    • C:\Documents and Settings\[User name]\Local Settings\Temp
    • C:\Windows\Downloaded Installations
    • C:\Windows\Temp
  • Vista, Win7, Win8:
    • C:\Users\\[User name]\AppData\Local\Temp
    • C:\Windows\Downloaded Installations
    • C:\Windows\Temp

There are two more ways to gain storage space:

  • Microsoft’s cleanup utility: Click on Start button, then enter cleanmgr

 

Tune your graphics card:

If you want to have a better performance in games, you should use tools like nvidiaInspector (for Nvidia) or Radeon Pro (for AMT/ATi). With them, you have access to any information of your graphics card, can activate or deactivate vertical synchronization, adjust quality settings or overclock the card.

 

Set up a RAM disk:

32 Bit versions of Windows are not able to use RAM above 3.1 GB. If one has 4 GB or more, one should use a RAM disk. It offers the possibility to use unused RAM for the swap file or temporary files.

  1. Download Gavotte Ramdisk and copy its folder to c:\Program Files
  2. Double click ramdisk.exe and install the program:
    • Disk Size: Size of the RAM drive
    • Drive Letter: R:
    • Media Type: Fixed Media
  3. After a restart, the RAM disk is available
  4. Put the swap file on RAM disk:
    • XP: Control Panel > System > Advanced > Perfomance > Settings >  Advanced > Virtual Memory > Change
    • Vista, Win7, Win8: Control Panel > System > Advanced system settings > Advanced > Perfomance > Settings > Advanced > Virtual Memory
  5. Put temporary files on RAM disk (if you have 8GB RAM or more):
    • XP: Control Panel > System > Advanced > Environment Variables > Change Temp folder to "R:\Temp"
    • Vista, Win7, Win8: Control Panel > System > Advanced system settings > Advanced > Environment Variables > Change Temp folder to "R:\Temp"

Hint: The size of the RAM disk can be individually adjusted in Windows registy. Click on the Start button, enter regedit und edit the following key:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RRamdisk\Parameters]

    DiskSizeM  > double click that value, change to Decimal and enter the new value in MB

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Last update on 08/11/15.