Saturday, 29 October 2011

Windows 7 Supercharged


Hi, I was setting up my new System today and thought I publish what I've done.
Please note that this modifications are done to my individual taste. They may not suit you.
Also be aware that modifying sensitive settings within an operating system can lead to unexpected behaviour.
Best thing would be if you understood the steps well that you take. I won't be held responsible for your actions.
Thanks for your understanding.

01 change the background to improve appearance and usability
That really is down to personal taste.

02 disable User Acount Control to improve usability
Start ► enter uac ► select Change User Account Control settings ► pull down lever ► ok
Please note that while the lever is put down to the bottom, installing gadgets for the desktop won't work.

03 disable Page File to improve longevity of SSDs
Start ► enter systempropertiesadvanced ► in the fieldset Performance click on Settings ► click on the Advanced Tab and celect change ► uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives ► select your drive ►select No paging file & click on Set ► ok

04 disable Hibernation to free up disk space
a) Start ► cmd ► enter powercfg -h off
b) Start ► regedit ► HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Power ► change HiberFileSizePercent and HibernateEnabled value data to 0

05 disable System Restore
Start ► enter systempropertiesadvanced ► change to tab System Protection ► select the partition that you want to disable system restore on and click on Configure ► select the option Turn off system protection & click on Apply

06 turn off Search Indexing to stop extensive disk access
a) Start ► enter services ► look for windows search & double click ► select disabled ► ok
b) Start ► Computer ► right click the drive ► select properties ► untick Allow files on this drive to have content indexed ► ok

07 turn off Remote Differential Compression (RDC) to improve speed of data transfer
Start ► enter turn windows features on or off & select ► uncheck Remote Differential Compression ► ok

08 configure & hide the Recycle Bin to improve appearance
a) right click recycle bin ► properties ► tick Do not move files ... ► ok
b) right click desktop ► personalize ► change desktop icons ► untick recycle bin ► ok

09 disable Disk Defragmentation (not necessary for SSD)
Start ► services ► Disk Defragmentation ► disable

10 disable Superfetch to improve longevity of SSD
Start ► services ► Superfetch ► diasable

11 change Border Padding to improve appearance
right click desktop ► Personalize ► Windows Color ►Advanced Appearance Settings ► select Border Padding from drop down ► change default size 4 to anything lower

12 prevent Intel ProSet Monitoring Service
Intel PROSet Wireless utility is used for Network performance management, Profile management, Power management and User-configurable network settings. The program detects the presence of any wireless networks within range of the adapter, providing automatic configuration and connection. Publisher: Intel Corporation IF you don't have wireless on your system you can disable it.

13 turn off Automatic Update to improve usability

14 disable Aero Snap to improve usability
Start ► Control panel ► Ease of Access center ► Make the mouse easier to use ►
tick “Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen" ► ok

15 turn off Windows Event Log to improve longevity of SSD
Start ► services ► right click Windows Eventlog and select Properties ► under "Startup type" select Disabled

16 shut down quicker to improve usability
Start ► regedit ► go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control ► double click: WaitToKillServiceTimeout ► change: Value data from the default of 12000 (12 seconds) to 2000 (2 seconds) ► ok

17 speed up Taskbar thumbnail preview to improve usability
Start ► regedit ► go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse ► locate MouseHoverTime in right pan and modify from default 400 to 0

18 change taskbar thumb nail size & switch off Menu Delay
download: Winows 7 Taskbar thumbnail customizer

19 switch off Tracking Cookies (IE) to improve security
Windows Explorer 8 ► Tools ► Internet Options ► Privacy ► Advanced ► tick: Override automatic cookie handling ► under: Third-party Cookies select: block ► ok & ok

20 enable S.M.A.R.T.
Start ► gpedit.msc ► in the left pane of the editor navigate to: Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\System\Troubleshooting And Diagnostics\Disk Diagnostic ► right-click and select "Edit" on "Disk Diagnostic: Configure execution level" ► choose Enable and select OK

21 check if AHCI is enabled to improve transfer speed

22 check if TRIM is enabled
Start ► cmd ► run as admin ► type: fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify ► enter
DisableDeleteNotify = 1 ► Windows TRIM commands are disabled
DisableDeleteNotify = 0 ► Windows TRIM commands are enabled

To enable TRIM ► fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0
To disable TRIM ► fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 1

23 disable File Access Timestamps to improve longevity of SSD
Start ► cmd with admin rights = elevated command prompt ► Enter fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1 ► Restart your PC

File access timestamps are now disabled and will no longer be logged.
enable File Access Timestamps ► fsutil behaviour set disablelastaccess 0 ► reboot

24 disable GUI Boot to speed up boot time
Start ► type: msconfig ► boot tab ► Check the No GUI Boot box ► (Check the Make all boot settings permanent box) ► click yes on the pop up window ► restart

25 change Boot Timeout to speed up boot time
Start ► cmd (as admin) ► Enter bcdedit /timeout 0 ► reboot

26 use Startup Folder to improve usability
create a short cut of the exe file ► Start ► all programs ► Startup ► right click and select open ► place shortcut into folder

27 set Power Options to improve usability

28 install a Theme to improve appearance

29 update drivers

30 block an application from accessing the internet

31 customize start menu to improve usability
right click on the Start sign ► select Properties ► Start Menu tab ► click on Customize ► find Downloads ► select Display as menu ► and untick open submenu when I pause on them

32 setup WMP x64

33 change WMP background to improve appearance

33 change standard icons to improve appearance and usability

34 change / disable Windows system sounds to improve usability
Start ► type sound ► change to Sounds tab ► select sound scheme from the drop down menu ► select associated sound from Program events ► select Sounds from drop down menu ► test

If you like to modify a system sound ► paste the sound file in wav format into c:\\windows\media

35 change Windows Explorer standard folder
right click Windows Explorer ► properties ► change Target to: %windr%\explorer.exe /n, /e, D: \documents

D = drive letter
documents = folder

36 calibrate Text and Color
clear Type = Start ► type cttune
color calibration = Start ► type dccw

37 use PSR = problem steps recorder
Start ► type psr and select
you can now click on record for each step being captured as screen shots. You'll then be able to save the recording as MHTML document, which can be read by the internet explorer only. This file can be used by a support professional or someone else helping you with a computer problem.

38 Make Windows 7 log on automatically
Start netplwiz uncheck the box “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” ok you’ll see a username and password box ok if no password has been setup yet or enter the required info
39 Change your Computer name
Start type: sysdm.cpl right click and select: open with control panel select “Change” under  the Computer Name tab type in a new Computer Name ok & restart

40  how to hide a drive (System Reserved) using Group Policy Editor  
Start gpedit.msc find and open: User Configuration > Administrative Templates> Windows Components > WindowsExplorer double click: Hide these specified drives in My Computer choose: Enabled pick the option you want ► ok

41 Switch off HTTP referrer in FireFox (to avoid sending data to other websites)
Open FireFox ► type in the address bar: about:config ok ► type in search bar: network.http.send  

► to avoid sending data to HTTPS websites, right clicknetwork.http.sendSecureXSiteReferrer and select toggle
to avoid sending data completely, double click: network.http.sendRefererHeader and change value from 2 to 0
42 If you have drop outs on wireless devices connected via Bluetooth
Start ► type: services (make sure Bluetooth Support Service has started and is set to automatic)  double click on Bluetooth Support Serviceclick the Log On tab select: Local System Account check the box: allow service to interact with desktop ► ok
Start type: device manager double click the Bluetooth device ► Power Management tab untick: Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power ► ok
With USB dongles it seems you don’t get a power management tab in the bluetooth radio. Instead look in your device manager for “Universal serial bus controllers”, open it up and find “USB root hub” (there may be more than one). In properties for the root hub there IS a Power Management tab. Don’t let the computer turn it off.
43 Fix: Windows Explorer has stopped working issue
Start type: network click on the top left side on: Organize select: Folder and search options from the drop down menu go to view tab tick the box: Always show icons, never thumbnails untick the box: display file icon on thumbnails ok
44 compact databases in FireFox
Some Web browsers (notably Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome) use databases to store bookmarks, history, and other data. When you remove information from these databases, they may still take up room with fragmented space. If you select Compact Database, CCleaner will defragment and trim unused space from these databases.
CCleaner ► Cleaner section ►  Applications tab ► FireFox / Mozilla section ► tick Compact Databases

Check if Firefox is compacting places.sqlite
Go to: about:config ► search for: storage.vacuum.last.places.sqlite ► it should have a numeric value which represents the last date / time that the integrated vacuum took place ► the numeric value is a Unix timestamp – to find the readable date and time, copy the value into the Unix Timestamp box of the Online Conversion site here and press Submit ► if the date is less than a month ago, you know Firefox is vacuuming the places.sqlite database successfully on a monthly basis – no further compacting is required for that particular database.

Firefox uses many other databases and they are equally at risk of fragmentation and excessive size.
It could therefore still be helpful to use an external tool like SpeedyFox or CCleaner to compact all Firefox databases at the same time.

further info

45 empty recycle bin of additional hard drive(s)
All drives connected to a PC use a common recycle bin.
Exception: the recycle bin has become detached from the host machine's recycle bin. 
Whatever is in it is now unavailable and will NOT appear in the host machine's recycle bin. The space will never be recovered from the external drive.

One solution to this problme is this:

• first ensure you are an adminstrator user.

• bring up Windows Explorer (Windows Key + E) ► (alt) Tools ► Folder Options ► View ► scroll down and select "Show hidden files and folders" ► un-select "Hide operating system files"

• now click on the external drive in the left panel "Folders" ► You should see at least one or both of these: $RECYCLE.BIN and RECYCLER ... they will contain one or more subfolders which cannot be viewed while windows is running called something like: "S-1-5-21-3173086387-2615592467-1408983588-1000".

• for each of the two top level folders the process to remove them completely is the same.

a. right-click each top level folder and select properties ► un-select "Read-Only" and click OK ► click OK to do the same to all sub-folders ► wait until it's done

b. do the same for each sub-folder inside each top-level folder.

c. delete each top level folder and click OK to do same to all.

5. bring up File Explorer (Windows Key + E) ► go to Tools ► Folder Options ► View ► scroll down and select "Do not show hidden files and folders", and also select "Hide operating system files".

Now you will have all that unused space clogging up a useless Recycle Bin available again.

You may then want to consider your options with your external drive's Recycle Bin:

• right-click on the main recycle bin and select Properties ► on the Global Tab you can select "Configure drives independently". If you do you will then be able to set the maximum size of the recycle bin on each logical drive (partition). You may also set files to bypass the recycle bin altogeter for that logical drive.

46. Can't open Task Manager

• Download sysinternals suite from microsoft technet and unpack
• Find and run procexp.exe
• Click in Options menu on Replace Task Manager and than Restore Task Manager
• Click Ctrl+Alt+Del or on taskbar Run Taskmanager.

Settings are restored and MS Taskmanager works fine.

47. Hard Drive is busy for an unknown reason

Start ► type: perfmon (or: resource) ► open resource monitor ► disk ► watch: File / Read / Write

48. Resize icons on desktop
 Click on your desktop once to deselect everything ► click on an icon ► hold CTRL and scroll down or up to make the icons smaller or larger

49. Change spacing between icons
Right-click desktop and select: 'Personalize' ► select: 'Windows Color' ► select: 'Advanced Appearnce Settings' ► new Window opens, click: drop down menu 'Item' ► modify: Iconspacing (Horizontal & Vertical)

50 Rotate screen / desktop
Press Ctrl + Alt + one of the arrows (up, down, left or right)


Right click desktop ► select: Screen Resolution ► select from drop down list @ Orientation
51. Change the Mouse Hover Time before Pop-up Displays
This may also override your MenuShowDelay setting.

If you have the Animations in the taskbar and Start Menu option checked in Visual Effects, then you may not see much or any difference. You should uncheck this option first before doing the tutorial below for the maximum effect.

Start ► type: visual ef ► select "Adjust the appearance and performane of Windows"
► uncheck the boxes for:

"Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing" and
"Animations in the taskbar and Start Menu" ► ok

Then go to start again ► type: "regedit" ► go to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse ► (right pane) double click: MouseHoverTime ► Type in a number between 0 to 4000 (400 is default, I use 0) for how many milliseconds ► ok

The lower the number, the faster the response time. If you use an entry of 0, there is no delay before the tooltip opens. Close regedit. Log off and log on, or restart the computer to apply the changes.

A good resource is Windows 7 Tutorials - Quick Reference Index