Windows 8 cleanup tips

Most of my friends have a single SSD in their computer as the primary boot disk. SDD is still a bit expensive, so probably the size is often limited (128gb). Since Windows is installed on the SSD to utilize the amazing speed for booting and working, it can take more space again and again. And oops, almost no space left on C!

Some general guidelines to prevent this situation:

1. Only store important system data on the SSD (your mp3 can best be stored on other available drives)

2. Install applications that don’t the extra speed on your old magnetic drive. Programs stored their run a bit slower, so only use it for less frequently used apps.

3. Store cloud service software on a different drive.

4. Uninstall unused programs and features.

5. Change the default download location of your browser to a non-system drive (d:\downloads\). In Google Chrome you can find this under Settings –> Advanced Settings

These guidelines are for experienced users ‘common sense’. I have also some tricks that be be used to save space and keep my SSD drive clean. Most tips require command-line actions. So, here it goes:

Clean you drive with the built-in Clean Manager. I created a small batch file (shutdown_and_clean.bat) to clean before shutting the PC. Just open notepad and type the following:

@echo off
start /wait c:\windows\system32\cleanmgr /sagerun:1
shutdown -s

Recommendation: place a shortcut to this script on the desktop to quickly shutdown the PC. Special options: ‘Run as Administrator’ + ‘Run minimized’

Remove temporary files from the DVD-burn directory (not part of clean manager). Location is C:\users\<accountname>\appdata\local\microsoft\windows\burn

Search for big files with windows search. Open Windows Explorer (WinKey+E) and type in the search filter (right upper corner) for big ones: size:

Use Windirstat the search for big files that be easily removed.

Use compression for system backup folders (right click on folder, properties, advanced settings and check the compress checkbox) for the following directories:

  • c:\windows\installer
  • c:\windows\logs\ (if available)
  • c:\windows\system32\DriverStore\(if available)
  • c:\windows\system32\logfiles\ (if available)
  • c:\windows\system32\winevt\logs\ (if available)
  • c:\program files(x86)\common files\windowslive\.cache\ (if available)

 

Cleanup the Windows/sxs directory. Windows stores here all downloaded and installed updates. It’s only used for enabling unstall for Windows updates. Most of the time, this is not necessary. Handle with care, without guarantees: you can remove older files from this directory with the command line, by entering: dism /online /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup /resetbase

Disable the Windows hibernate function (losing the c:\hiberfil.sys file). Disable via the command prompt: powercfg /h off. If you like, you can also to keep hibernate enabled, but decreasing the required space. For 50% usage: powercfg /h –size 50

Installing Windows 8 CP with Virtual Box

Today I took some time to install Windows 8 Consumer Preview and run it within Virtual Box. During installation I wrote down some notes of what I encountered during setup. Here is my simplified list of steps to achieve a working Windows 8.

You can download the Win8 Consumer Preview from the Microsoft site as a ISO image.

1. Install Virtual Box + Extension Pack.
2. Create new virtual machine with OS Windows 8.
3. Choose 2048 MB internal memory for 64 bit version (You can use 1024 for 32 bit).
4. Create Virtual Disk Image with dynamically allocated setting & 20 GB HDD space.
5. After create the disk image, mount the ISO as a virtual CD/DVD station. You can use the 'host' setting when you have burned the image to DVD.
6. Other settings that need to be checked:
- PAE/NX (tab System / Processor)
- IO APIC (tab Motherboard)
- VT-x/AMD-V (tab Acceleration)
- Nested paging (tab Acceleration)
7. Use the Windows 8 consumer preview activation key: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J
8. Choose 'Custom: install Windows only (advanced)'
9. Proceed installation procedure as you used to do. At the end you can choose to use your Windows Live account or not. I didn't want to use a Microsoft account, I chose to create a local account: admin/admin.
10. After installation it's smart to run VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe for installing the Guest Additions. It's useful for drivers and sharing folder with the host.

Hope this helps,