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Windows 7: Configuration Script and Home Basic performance

16 Aug 2010   #1

Windows 7 x86 Home Basic*
 
 
Configuration Script and Home Basic performance

Hey guys this is my first post, I hope I can find the answers here, as this might be of general interest.

First the first, I have a desktop computer:
640 GB HDD
32 GB SSD
8800gt
4gb ram
Windows 7 x86 Ultimate
I clean installed windows to get rid of all preinstalled software, so I installed windows 7 ultimate, I realised that most (if not all) the advanced features were of no use for me. I checked wikipedia for the Windows editions, and the one best suited for me is HOME BASIC? Yes, I wanted the system to be as light as possible, now I know that by deleting the ei.cfg file I can install any version of windows, so the question is:

How much real wolrd improvement will there be by installing Home Basic instead of Ultimate?

The other question, it takes me years for me to completely configure windows once installed, things like these:

DISABLE
system restore
aero
windows update
all security and maintenance options
all that can be found in action center
user account control
windows firewall
language bar
etc

MODIFY
power options
taskbar options
add quicklaunch
performance settings
virtual memory location
and MAAAANY other things

Is there any way to make a script that I can run so these things are done automatically? I give maintenance to my friend's, family's computers, so sometimes I have 4 or 5 computers laying around, and configuring these settings is what takes most of the time. So double clicking a bat file would make my life easier.

Thanks in advance!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Aug 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by nevarezga View Post
How much real wolrd improvement will there be by installing Home Basic instead of Ultimate?
Very, very little. Plus, you have to obtain a key for Windows 7 Home Basic...you cannot use your Ultimate key with it.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by nevarezga View Post
DISABLE
system restore
aero
windows update
all security and maintenance options
all that can be found in action center
user account control
windows firewall
language bar
etc
I would not disable system restore (just set to low %), I would not disable Windows updates. I would not turn of user access control or the Windows firewall. Seriously, test your tweaks with a stopwatch and I bet you will be surprised by how little a difference it actually makes.

What I would do if I were you, is get your machine installed, configured and set the way you want it. Then, use something like Macrium Reflect free edition and make an image of your hard drive. Then if you are in need of starting over, you can simply restore the image and you will be right back where you left off.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2010   #3

Windows 8.1 Pro (x64)
 
 

You also do not want to turn off Aero. You can actually put a dent in performance that way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


17 Aug 2010   #4

Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

+1 on that - in Vista, the video data used to be stored both in system RAM and on the video card, but in Windows 7 it's all on the GPU and that perf bottleneck is gone. What people fail to realize when they disable Aero for perf in Windows 7 is that the GPU is much faster at rendering DirectX (which is what the Aero UI is using for almost 100% of it's display data) than your CPU is at rendering GDI (the old shell, which is what displays in classic). While classic is lighter and thus the CPU won't work as hard as if it was rendering Aero, Aero + DirectX on dedicated GPU hardware is fast enough that the difference should be imperceptable, thus you really don't gain anything with a decent video card in the system.

The only reason someone would want to use a classic or a non-Aero theme is if they like that better - do not do it for perf, as it will give you no tangible benefit under Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Aug 2010   #5

Windows 7 x86 Home Basic*
 
 

Quote:
I would not disable system restore (just set to low %), I would not disable Windows updates. I would not turn of user access control or the Windows firewall. Seriously, test your tweaks with a stopwatch and I bet you will be surprised by how little a difference it actually makes.

What I would do if I were you, is get your machine installed, configured and set the way you want it. Then, use something like Macrium Reflect free edition and make an image of your hard drive. Then if you are in need of starting over, you can simply restore the image and you will be right back where you left off.
[/QUOTE]

I don't use system restore because all of my data is on another drive, the 32gb ssd is only for windows and program files. I turned off User access control because I know what i'm doing, and I have installed another firewall. These settings are not for performance gains, but rather because I don't need those feaures or are covered with other software.

And yes, I thought about making an image of an already configured windows installation, but not all systems I install are the same, so instead of configuring each one, I rather have predefined scripts that I can easily run and edit.

Thank you all guys sorry for taking that long, so basic is not an option, BTW I disabled Aero because I thought there would be some performance gain and because I don't like it, I instead use the theme that looks like aero but it is not translucid.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Aug 2010   #6

 

Yes, it can be scripted. You can use either batch scripting, visual basic scripting, or Power Shell to accomplish all those things. If you are really interested, let me know and I'll whip up an example, but the best thing to do is go to technet and read up on the commands and read up on scripting. But to be clear, you can script absolutely anything.

Second, there are solutions out there, N-Lite is an example, that allows you to make add your scripts to your Disk Image. They are automatically ran once the installation has finished. But anyhow what are you interested in knowing about scripting.

Unless they've changed it, the command to turn off services in Windows 7 will be SC. And so, for a quick example, in a batch file you would write something like this:

Quote:
@echo off
:: Turning off various services
sc stop NameofSomeService
sc stop NotherNameofSomeService
sc stop AndAnother
sc start SomeOtherService
However, SC offers more options than that. And you can also configure it to set those settings permenantly.

Quote:
sc config NameOfService start=disabled
Here is a print out of the SC command to check out. Note that you can get to this yourself by launching a command prompt and typing SC /?

Code:
  DESCRIPTION:
        SC is a command line program used for communicating with the
        NT Service Controller and services.
USAGE:
        sc <server> [command] [service name] <option1> <option2>...

        The option <server> has the form "\\ServerName"
        Further help on commands can be obtained by typing: "sc [command]"
        Commands:
          query-----------Queries the status for a service, or
                          enumerates the status for types of services.
          queryex---------Queries the extended status for a service, or
                          enumerates the status for types of services.
          start-----------Starts a service.
          pause-----------Sends a PAUSE control request to a service.
          interrogate-----Sends an INTERROGATE control request to a service.
          continue--------Sends a CONTINUE control request to a service.
          stop------------Sends a STOP request to a service.
          config----------Changes the configuration of a service (persistant).
          description-----Changes the description of a service.
          failure---------Changes the actions taken by a service upon failure.
          sidtype---------Changes the service SID type of a service.
          qc--------------Queries the configuration information for a service.
          qdescription----Queries the description for a service.
          qfailure--------Queries the actions taken by a service upon failure.
          qsidtype--------Queries the service SID type of a service.
          delete----------Deletes a service (from the registry).
          create----------Creates a service. (adds it to the registry).
          control---------Sends a control to a service.
          sdshow----------Displays a service's security descriptor.
          sdset-----------Sets a service's security descriptor.
          showsid---------Displays the service SID string corresponding to an ar
bitrary name.
          GetDisplayName--Gets the DisplayName for a service.
          GetKeyName------Gets the ServiceKeyName for a service.
          EnumDepend------Enumerates Service Dependencies.

        The following commands don't require a service name:
        sc <server> <command> <option>
          boot------------(ok | bad) Indicates whether the last boot should
                          be saved as the last-known-good boot configuration
          Lock------------Locks the Service Database
          QueryLock-------Queries the LockStatus for the SCManager Database
EXAMPLE:
        sc start MyService

QUERY and QUERYEX OPTIONS :
        If the query command is followed by a service name, the status
        for that service is returned.  Further options do not apply in
        this case.  If the query command is followed by nothing or one of
        the options listed below, the services are enumerated.
    type=    Type of services to enumerate (driver, service, all)
             (default = service)
    state=   State of services to enumerate (inactive, all)
             (default = active)
    bufsize= The size (in bytes) of the enumeration buffer
             (default = 4096)
    ri=      The resume index number at which to begin the enumeration
             (default = 0)
    group=   Service group to enumerate
             (default = all groups)
SYNTAX EXAMPLES
sc query                - Enumerates status for active services & drivers
sc query messenger      - Displays status for the messenger service
sc queryex messenger    - Displays extended status for the messenger service
sc query type= driver   - Enumerates only active drivers
sc query type= service  - Enumerates only Win32 services
sc query state= all     - Enumerates all services & drivers
sc query bufsize= 50    - Enumerates with a 50 byte buffer.
sc query ri= 14         - Enumerates with resume index = 14
sc queryex group= ""    - Enumerates active services not in a group
sc query type= service type= interact - Enumerates all interactive services
sc query type= driver group= NDIS     - Enumerates all NDIS drivers
You can find the name of the service by opening up the Services "Snap In" (type services.msc at search bar). Then right click on a service, choose properties, and under the Service Name at the top of the dialog, that is the name you must use in the script.

You can write the script in notepad and save it with the .bat or .cmd extension. Now if you really want to get wild with scripting, there is a lot you can do. You could catch errors that happen and perform various tasks based on the result of error messages. You can log results to a file. You can query the system for its hardware and software, and make decisions how to proceed based on what you find. You can honestly do pretty much anything you imagine.

But most people who script are doing it to meet some business need, or they are doing it to solve a problem for themselves. So the likely hood that you would find the perfect script to customize your environment is kind of low.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Aug 2010   #7

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

Wait. Did you say you turned off UAC because you don't know what you are doing? If I read that correctly, turn it back on. I also noticed the "etc" in the original post. What does "ect" include? If it is things like Superfetch, then I'm willing to bet you turned off things that will increase performance. I know a lot of tweaking/optimizing guides say to turn it off, but after reading a post by eithe logic earth or pparks (i'm thinking logic earth) I decided to turn it back on. I noticed nothing at first but after two or three days, some serious improvement, especially at start-up, occurred.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Aug 2010   #8

Windows 7 x86 Home Basic*
 
 

That is very helpful dranfu!! And pete7 haha I wrote "I KNOW" haha. So the things I'd like to add to the script are (which represent the "ETC")

DESKTOP
Show icons: Computer, documents, recycle bin.
Disable aero

TASKBAR:
Show all notifications and icons
Enable the old quicklaunch (not PIN TO...)

START MENU:
Show 8 programs
Show only DOCUMENTS, COMPUTER, CONTROL PANEL and RUN on the right side.

OTHER SETTINGS:
Disable system restore on all drives
Move page file from disk 1 to disk 2, or partition 2.
Disable some visual effects from system properties
Disable Allow remote assistance
Turn off user access control

CONTROL PANEL & ACTION CENTER
Disable ALL notifications (security, maintenance, etc)
Disable windows update
Edit some power config options

OTHER
Set D:\ (partition 2 or disk 2) as the default "documents" path

These are some of the things that I configure, because when I fix my aunt computer, I don't want her or their kids to be messing around with the computer settings, once she called to tell me that the antivirus updated . automatically.... So I want to keep it as simple as possible, of course settings depend on who the final user or users will be.

If these things can be added to the script, It would save me a lot of timee and make my life easier. I would appreciate if you could provide a link to read further information dranfu, because I searched and only found information on running scripts but only during windows installation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Aug 2010   #9

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

Still, most of your changes will actually hurt performance, or cause other problems in the long run. For example, disabling updates and UAC leave you venerable to a lot of infections you would be immune to otherwise. A lot of virus makers study Windows updates to see what the fix and then unleash viruses meant to attack those vulnerabilities on unpatched systems. UAC can actually protect you from some malware as well. System restore can fix a large number of problems, such as those caused by bad installs/uninstalls, viruses, software changes, the list just goes on forever. As was mentioned before. If anything, disabling Aero will hurt performance more than anything. Also, it's best to adapt to changes. I don't expect MS to keep offering classic themes. What will you do when you have to use a set up more drastically changed than the one that is available now, and you don't have a classic option?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Aug 2010   #10

 

Hi nevarezga,

I'm going to post an example script for you, and then let you tweak it to meet your needs. But I did want to second what Petey7 was saying, at least in terms of security. As far as performance and Aero are concerned, that's really up to you. There are different opinions on the matter, but I think a little experimentation is good, not only for experience but for the learning aspect.

However, disabling your windows updates is a bad idea. You will be vulnerable, and someone might launch an attack against you as a result. If you are using a third party firewall, that's cool, cause it will disable your windows firewall anyway. If you are thinking that you will gain a performance advantage by disabling all firewalls, then you really wont. Because it will take less than an hour than for some hacker to determine that you have no firewall protection, and to start going to work on you. Honestly, my rule of thumb in these situations are 1) If you find that you have to turn off security services to gain performance, then you need more memory but 2) If you find that you are disabling convenience or aesthetic features, then go ahead. It's your choice, but you should read up on it, because you may not always get better performance just because you are turning something off.

For an interesting read on this topic, however, check out this article by Microsoft Master Mark Russinovich Running Windows With No Services
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Configuration Script and Home Basic performance




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