Windows 7 gets better over time, if you clean old snapshots
by verdyp - 5/5/12 1:48 AM
In Reply to: As Others May Have Said, There are a LOT of Reasons by Hforman
In Windows 7, all steps 3 to 7 are not part of the boot time. They will run in the background and should not freeze your computer for long (including all software updates and antivirus updates).
The main cause of Windows going slow to boot is that its paging file is highly fragmented, because you did not give it a suitable minimum size (which should be roughly the double of your internal memory size), because most boot delays are caused by memory paging I/O.
A complete defragmentation (on a hard disk only ! do not do that on a SSD is not necessary to improve the boot time. Today, defragmenters can just defragment fast the files used at boot time.
Another cause of slow boot time is that some heavily used directories are highly fragmented (on a haarddisk, not on a SSD) : some Windows system directories contain really a lot of files, but they are part of the directories constantly read during the boot time, so defragmenting boot files and directories will help.
Another cause is that some directories are too much populated : the Windows temporary folder or your own user's\Appdata\Local\Temp directories is heavily populated. This causes long delays when creating new unique files in this doirectory. A tool like CCleanr will help.
Slow navigation on the Internet may be caused as well by a much too large Internet cache (here again too much populated cache directories for your browser : consider reducing the maximum Internet cache to a more reasonnable size than the default which can easily store hundreds of thousands of obsolete old files in its cache : look at the last modification time in this cache, there's no value if this date is more than one week long and if so, your cache is too large: it does not improve the navigation time, but it worsens all accesses to the cache because the browser constantly needs to scan (via the filesystem) very long directories.
So the basic cleaner tools can really help : CCleaner is safe to use on a SSD to clean your temporary folders and internet caches, as it will improve the filesystem access time (it will need to read much less data from these heavily used directories), and will save also memory use and paging while Windows attemps to cache their content in memory but then pages out this cache to the paging file..
Windows 7 is really fast to boot, even with all its default services enabled. But some additional softwares will generate a slow boot time.
Note that some antivirus programs keep in a directory some old logs that can become also highly fragmented after some time : purging those old logs will help.
consider also creating backups of your system, so that you can purge the old filesystem shadow images: run "cleanmgr" to delete the old snapshots that are no longer necessary given that you have a safe backup: the shadow images of the filesystem snapshots created every day or when installing new softwares or Windows updates can accumulate on your disk over time to an incredible volume : the more the filesystem is full (and occupied by old system snapshots), the slower it is when Windows or any software will need to access your disk to create new snapshots or temporary work files.
So purge the old filesystem snapshots after a safe reboot (this is also true on a SSD). Make sure that the filesystem of the system volume has enough free space and that this free space is reasonnably not too fragmented: this will help all softwares that need to write new files.
Disabling Windows services has absolutely no significant impact on Windows boot time. But the amount of free space on the system volume, as well as the amount of unnessary temp files in very large directories (that tend then to become highly fragmented and very slow to access) will significantly affect your performance.
- CCleaner is OK to clean many outdated temp files and internet caches and many old and very fragmented log files, or many old copies of your antivirus database updates that are already installed.
- "cleanmgr" is OK to delete old file system snapshots you will never reuse after a sage backup.
- Use the Advanced tab of the System control panel to define a minimum size for your paging file instead of leatting Windows grow that paging file on demand constantly during boot.
But note that the amount of RAM is the most important factor of slow boots (because not enough RAM means that Windows will start paging out). It is less critical in Windows 7 than it was in Vista because Windows 7 has a much better memory manager and schedules the I/O in multiple parallel pipelines using better priorities so that it will avoid most delays.
Also I recommand not putting all your gigabytes of personal data files (collections of photos, videos or music) on the same volume as your system disk, and that you install games also not on the system volume (they generaly will install very large volumes of images, videos, maps, plus will often create a giant cache directory containing lots of files if the game interacts online on the Internet).
Keep the C: volume for your system. On Windows 7, a volume C: of about 128 GB is enough, even after you'zve installed an Office suite on it (it will then use about 70-80GB, and it will still remain about 40GB free on this volume: the system volume should keep about 20 GB free on it).
Consider moving your personal cache of your browser on a separate volume (even if this is a partition on the same physical disk). If you have a second physical disk, place the paging file on it rather than on the boot volume (if you have an SSD, place the paging file also on the hard disk, not on the SSD to preserve its life time).
Windows 7 works very well with at least 6 GB of RAM. If you have only 2 GB, consider adding a RAM upgrade to reach about 8GB (after that point, the benefit is not very visible, notably if you also have an SSD where you've installed your system). This will save a lot of slow I/O, even if you have an SSD: the RAM upgrade is cheaper and should always be a priority before installing a costly SSD.
Note: never perform your system backups to an SSD or to the system volume. Place them on a separate physical disk or in a network directory on an external drive. The builtin Windows backup tool is very fast and very efficient in this case (you will not even notice that it is running in the background and automatically for you every day or every few days).
I've used Windows 7 since very long now (several months even before the puvlic release) and I have never noted it to become slower over time. In the opposite, I've noted that it significantly became faster and faster over time, with minimum administration, due to some automated maintenance tasks that Windows 7 ships and installs by default.
But some cleaning maintenance are not performed by default in Windows : your Internet browser cache, the reduction of software logs, and the purge of old system snapshots (note that the default maximum size of the system snapshots is often very large, and may even become larger than your available free space on disk, consider tuning that maximum snapshot sizes to a more reasonnable maximum, so that Windows can clean outdated old snapshots. You can see the number of, dates of, and volumes taken by those system snapshot by using the Backup & Restauration panel : use the "Restore option and look at the dates marked in the calendar : do you really need all those old snapshots that you never backup and will never reuse ? Make a full system backup once, then you won't need any one of these old snapshots: you'll immediately reclaim a lot of free space on your system volume !