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Tips, tweaks and tricks thread

Discussion in 'Technology Discussions' started by Achilleslastand, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. Achilleslastand

    Achilleslastand Well-Known Member PC Gamer

    210 Messages
    189 Likes
    Wanted to start a thread with general tweaks/etc that would maybe improve performance or help with maintaining your pc's health.
    I have a few to list and will post more when I get home later but lets start with Disk Cleanup Extended. This only works in Windows 7/8 Vista btw.

    Disk Cleanup : Extended - Windows 7 Help Forums

    This will show you how to access and run the Extended Disk Cleanup function in Windows, allowing you to clean up more HDD space for you to use.

    [​IMG] Note

    This must be done in an elevated command window to complete.



    Let's get started!

    1) In the Windows 7 start menu search box type "cmd" (without the quotes) right click the entry and select "Run As Administrator" then enter your user credentials for the UAC prompt and click yes to open the command window.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    2) In the command window that opens type the command below and hit enter.

    Be advised: the command window must be left open while the cleanup is carried out.

    Code:
    %SystemRoot%\System32\Cmd.exe /c Cleanmgr /sageset:65535 & Cleanmgr /sagerun:65535

    [​IMG]


    3) Now you will see the Disk Cleanup Settings window with more options available to you, select the ones you want to clean up then click ok; wait for the search and then the cleanup and then you're done.

    Anyone else feel free to contribute with your own.
     
    BigStar and Zeras like this.
  2. Achilleslastand

    Achilleslastand Well-Known Member PC Gamer

    210 Messages
    189 Likes
    Next up is modifying your page file and disabling hibernation. Doing these 2 things alone I gained about 20 GB of space. Its a rather lengthy article but worth the read.

    Disabling Windows Pagefile & Hibernation To Reclaim SSD Space

    Modifying the Pagefile
    If you have a lot of system memory or are certain that you will rarely need to access your paging file, you should move it to a different drive, such as a hard drive that has a lot of available storage. In no case will you ever want to disable the paging file entirely. If you’d rather keep the paging file on the OS (SSD) drive, it can be modified so that it starts out using very little storage, and only expands should the need arise.

    With that in mind, let’s proceed:

    To access the paging file (or virtual memory) configuration, you can click on Start and search for ‘Advanced System Settings’. In Windows 8 and 10, you can alternatively right-click Start, choose ‘System’ in the menu, and then click on the option in the left pane.

    Once the advanced settings dialog is open, you’ll need to click on the ‘Advanced’ tab up top, and then ‘Settings’ in the performance box. With this second dialog open, you’ll once again click on the ‘Advanced’ tab, and then ‘Change’ under the virtual memory box. You’ll ultimately be greeted to a third dialog box that lets you edit your paging file parameters.

    For those preferring to go the visual route, I won’t disappoint:
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Access Advanced System Settings with the shortcut [Win-Key] + Pause/Break on the keyboard, or through the Windows Control Panel.

    To get to work, the ‘Automatically manage’ option at the top will need to be unchecked. If you have more than one storage drive installed, you’ll see the additional drives listed under C:. After clicking on C: (your OS drive), you can either disable the paging file entirely (if you want to store it on another drive), or edit its parameters if you are keeping it right where it is. As you can see in the screenshot above, I made the minimum size 800MB, as it’s what Windows requires in order to save log information in the event of a crash. I also have it capped at 8GB, because I want to make sure that there’s no chance it’ll ever exceed that.


    If you simply want to move the paging file to another drive, disable it on C:, and then click on the drive you want to store it on and either choose “System managed size”, or go the custom route. I’d highly recommend not going with a minimum size smaller than 800MB.

    For users that have 8GB of memory or less, I’d recommend keeping the paging file on the SSD, but giving it an 800MB minimum size.

    Disabling Hibernation
    That takes care of one problem; so what about hibernation? Hibernation, in the simplest terms, stores the current OS image on the storage drive, allowing the PC to be put into a powered-off state while retaining the ability to resume right from where you left off. This is a bit different from sleep, which does the same thing but instead stores the data in the system memory. A thing to bear in mind here is that sleep mode constantly drains a modest amount of power, as the data has to be kept alive in the volatile RAM. This is important for notebooks, as the battery will continue to drain ever-so-slowly even though it appears to be completely off.


    Unfortunately, while a pagefile can be located on a non-OS drive, the hiberfil.sys file can’t be. It’s OS drive or bust, so if you do use hibernate, then you’re effectively stuck with this monolithic file. For those who don’t use it, it can be disabled with one simple step. Open up a command prompt either by searching for it in Start and right-clicking it to use it as administrator, or right-click the Start button in Windows 8 and 10 and choose the appropriate option from the menu. Once opened, you can simply type in “powercfg -h off”, without quotes.

    [​IMG]
    That couldn’t get much easier. Once done, the hiberfil.sys file on the C: drive will cease to exist, freeing up precious space on your SSD.

    In the case of this particular test PC, which had a 5.2GB paging file and 13.4GB hibernation file, I was able to cut things down to a simple 800MB. That’s a savings of nearly 18GB! And, because this PC has so much RAM, it should never actually need to grow that paging file.
     
    Zeras likes this.
  3. SlaughterMachine

    SlaughterMachine Well-Known Member PC Gamer

    227 Messages
    178 Likes
    Due to how Windows operates, completely disabling the pagefile is frowned upon.

    I usually just limit it around 1GB in size *IF* drive thrashing becomes an issue. Windows pretty much requires it these days for stable operations, but there is never a need for it to eat 16GB of drive space if you have 16GB of memory.

    One thing to remember about swap space is back in the day. Operating systems used to create a swap file / space equal to the size of your memory. This was mainly due to the limited size of your memory. 64mb of ram had a 64 meg swap/page file. Todays PCs have 8+ GB of memory. If you do not have an SSD disk, reading and writing 8GB (hell 1GB) can cause massive thrashing of your hard dish and if whatever your doing is memory bound which is swapped to disk and now becomes disk bound and you have a slow spindle disk. Yeah, that's is going to make everything painfully slow.

    So, I really do not even mess with my page file unless it becomes an issue. On Linux, I set my swap space to 1GB max if I have more than 8GB of memory and 2GB if I have less. (on a standard desktop system use)
     
    Achilleslastand likes this.
  4. Zeras

    Zeras Administrator PC Gamer

    429 Messages
    259 Likes
    One of the best tips I can share for Windows will greatly improve the read/write speed of external drives.

    ** Make sure you read the important notes below!

    • Go to Control Panel -> Device Manager and then expand the Disk Drives section.
    • Right-click on one of your external drives and click the Properties option.
    • Click on the Policies tab.
    • Then click the Better performance option.
    • Make sure Enable write caching on the device is checked.
    • Make sure Turn off Windows write-cache buffer is **NOT** checked.
    • Click the OK button.

    *** IMPORTANT NOTES ***

    • You do NOT have to reboot your system for this to take effect even though it will prompt you to do so. You can toggle it on and off without rebooting.
    • Do NOT do this on drives you regularly connect and disconnect from your computer unless you can remember to eject the device every single time.
    • If you do plan to disconnect the drive, you must make sure to use the Eject Device option on the drive in your task bar options, usually at the bottom right of your screen.
    • This will greatly boost your external drive read/write speed.

    *** TEST SPEED ***


    If you want to see how much it improves your drive speed, before you make this change, open the task manager and view your drive speed (cannot remember if Windows 7 shows read/write speed). While watching the speed stats, copy some large files over to your external drive. Let it run for around 60-90 seconds and see what read/write speed it shows. You need to let it run 60-90 seconds because the system will cache the first part of the copy and show very high read/write times.

    Then, make the above change and copy different large files (to avoid cached files for testing purposes) and after 60-90 seconds, see what the new read/write speed it shows.
     
  5. SlaughterMachine

    SlaughterMachine Well-Known Member PC Gamer

    227 Messages
    178 Likes
    Nice tip Zeras
     
    Zeras likes this.
  6. Zeras

    Zeras Administrator PC Gamer

    429 Messages
    259 Likes
    I learned that tip earlier this year when I was replacing external data and backup drives with newer/larger external drives. Copying from external to external drives was taking forever even over different USB3 connections. I was stunned how much faster the transfers went after I made those changes.

    In fact, even if you don't use this top regularly, if you ever are doing a full backup or copying external drives, it would be very helpful to make this change during the process and then revert it afterwards.
     
    SlaughterMachine likes this.
  7. Achilleslastand

    Achilleslastand Well-Known Member PC Gamer

    210 Messages
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    ^ One of the first things I did when I got my first SSD
     
  8. Achilleslastand

    Achilleslastand Well-Known Member PC Gamer

    210 Messages
    189 Likes
    Also tried enabling "No GUI boot" but didn't see any difference in boot times. With the I-7 and the SSD windows boots in 10 seconds or less.
     
  9. SlaughterMachine

    SlaughterMachine Well-Known Member PC Gamer

    227 Messages
    178 Likes
    Nods, just remember. Enabling write caching raises the risk of data loss or even outright disk corruption in the event of losing power. I wouldn't do this unless you have a UPS and turn your PC off when you're not using it. In the Enterprise, you get battery backed up RAID arrays that protect against this happening. (and those RAID cards are usually quite expensive) Most home PCs do not have this luxury.

    I do not turn my PC off and therefore do not enable write caching.
     
    Achilleslastand likes this.
  10. Zeras

    Zeras Administrator PC Gamer

    429 Messages
    259 Likes
    .. *coughs* .. or .. a gaming LAPTOP :D
     
    SlaughterMachine likes this.