Create a temporary drive map with PushD

Create a temporary drive map with PushD.   PushD allows a temporary drive map that can be used in a script to copy, delete or modify files or folders.   When using PushD, the drive mapping will start at Z drive.  You must have permission to use the folder of course.

PUSHD

The example above uses the itmanager folder that is shared in a computer named server.

2 PushD Change

Use PopD to disconnect

3 PopD

Add GeGeek Toolkit to Hiren’s CD/DVD for the ultimate troubleshooting tool

One of the best sites on the web is GeGeek.  GeGeek has over 300 tools (freeware) that you can download for troubleshooting any computer.   How can it possibly get more powerful?

Use Rufus USB to create a bootable ISO of Hiren’s CD/DVD’s ISO.  See our other article – link.  Once you create the bootable flash drive, copy the GEGeek folder to

Now when booting to your USB drive, you can boot into Windows XP mini and navigate to the flash drive.  Navigate further into the Prorams folder and then into the GEgeek folder.  You can now use any tool you need to troubleshoot or diagnose your computer.

GEGeek Toolkit

Test your SSD speed and performance

Want to test your SSD’s speed?

SSD Benchmark is an excellent choice for a quick test of your SSD’s speed.

SSD benchmark mbs

SSD Benchmark

Here’s our other article on testing your HDD or SSD drive

Don’t forget, the fastest hard drive without IPv6 ….check your network  info here

Partition your HDD to improve performance.  Web Server Example.

Do you have a SSD Drive?  Here’s the optimization tips.

Test Your Hard Drive Speed With Windows 7’s Device Manager – You can test your hard drive speed by going to the Device Manager, Expanding the Hard Drive Controllers, select the Port and Click on the Test button.  Make it Faster with (Free – See our Review) DiskMax and Defrag with Auslogics.

How about Roadkil.net’s Disk Speed?   A nice little program if your hard drive test isn’t listed under the device manager.

Also check your computer’s hard drive with CheckDiskGUI.

Parkdale


Measure your hard drive speed using Winsat

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When tweaking your computer, you can use typical utilities found in one of our most active posts or you can use Winsat.   Winsat will not give you fancy graphs but it will give a Windows rating and a time to complete specific tests.  This can be a way of measuring your drives between tweaks.

At a command prompt run the following tweak as an administrator:

winsat disk -drive c                 (you can substitute c with the drive letter of your choice)

ATTO – “The industry’s leading provider of high-performance storage connectivity products” has great products and an excellent benchmarking utility that measures your hard drive’s I/O read/write ability.

Here’s a quick look at a laptop with Windows 7 vs. Server 2008 R2

Dell’s latest 5520 inspiron laptop
6 Gb Memory
500 Gb (Seagate)

Benchmarking

Results

Results2

Server 2008 R2 Custom
8 Gb RAM
2 TB Seagate Hard drive

BenchmarkingServer

Results

ResultsServer

 

What about caching programs to speed you up even more?

I’m always cautious when I hear about caching programs.  Mickey sent me Bill Mullin’s link over to TechRepublic where Romex’s FancyCache is reviewed.

In its Beta release, FancyCache offers a simplex program that uses unused memory to boost the speed of your hard drive.  But does it work?  Yes.  My Dell Inspirion is already fast, but with FancyCache, programs do open quicker and the computer is even more responsive.  With the ability to tweak how I wanted to cache, I used 2gb of the 6gb of RAM on board in the settings.

The default settings alone were convincing enough to show how my computer sped up after a few minutes of use.   Although my computer is a 64bit laptop, the caching methods used and the read/write cache algorithms did boost performance.

FancyCache is certainly beneficial for 32 bit users who are locked in at 3gb of RAM.   FancyCache can take advantage of memory above this limit to speed up your computer.   And whether you do or don’t elect to install FancyCache, at least tweak your settings in a 32 bit computer to tweak your memory.  (See our Link)

The only problem I had was once I downloaded the software, it said it was expired.   A quick check on their website and keys can be obtained here.   The latest key is valid until July 2013.

Will I buy this product?  I’m not sure yet, time and use of Fancycache will tell.

Fancy

What about SSD Drives?   Are they faster?

Yes, ATTO on an OCZ Vertex 3

Notice this Benchmark compared to the Seagate 6 Gb/s (above) that was at 70 MB/s this is a 75% increase in speed.

SSD

How to measure your hard drive speed.

Phrases you may hear in IT

Check out AMD vs Intel Quad Core Standoff 64 bit Windows 7, 8 gb of RAM 500 gb Seagate Hard Drives

Overclock your Nvidia video card   … Link

Upgrading Your Hard Drives Firmware

Find updates for drivers to improve your hard drive speed!

Want to Benchmark your hard drive with Ubuntu?

Improve your laptop hard drive speed

Improve Hard Drive Performance in Windows 7

What’s a fast computer on a slow network?  Learn the basics of subnetting without using binary!

Take a look at how we optimize our computers…

See our review of Windows 8 and see how you can run 90% of your programs, virtualize other operating systems, use your network and more.

Check your hard drive with CheckDiskGUI  (Credit to Bill Mullins for finding this)

Now go and Tweak your wireless settings!

Collect detailed information about your drives and files.

What If I Have a SSD Drive?

Have you recently purchased and cloned your old HDD with a new SSD?  Here’s some tips. (Updated!)

  • Make sure your SATA controller is set to AHCI mode.
    Set AHCI mode in the BIOS if this is not enabled and make changes to the registry (first)
    AHCI is needed for native TRIM support in Windows 7.  This allows TRIM to do its job

Device Manager

  • Click on the Start
  • Control Panel
  • Device manager
  • IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers
  • Do you see the AHCI controller?

How do you enable AHCI?

Before doing the process below,  see if your BIOS has AHCI capabilities (Windows 7)

  1. Open Registry Editor and move down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\msahci.
  2. Right click on the Start DWORD and click on Modify.
  3. Set the value to 0 and click OK.
  4. Reboot your computer and enable the AHCI setting the BIOS.  Another restart will be required to finish the driver installation.

 

The next step is to enable TRIM. Type the following command in a command prompt to enable TRIM:

fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0

Next, turn off Defragmentation.  These drives should not be defragged.

Next, turn off indexing.  This causes unnecessary writes.

Next, Click on Start  -Right-Click Computer – Manage – Services and Applications – Services -Right-Click Windows Search – Properties  Find the Startup type – Select Disabled – Click OK.

(The above disables the “search indexer”)

Windows Search

Next

Click on Start – Computer – Right click on your SSD – Properties – Uncheck Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties – Click OK.

Drive Index

Next

  1. Right Click on Computer and select Manage
  2. Click on Device Manager
  3. Expand Disk Drives
  4. Right click on the hard drive and select Properties for that hard drive (you can also double click the drive
  5. On the Policies tab:
    Check Turn off Windows write-cache buffer flushing on the device
  6. Hit OK and close the Device Manager

Next, if you have 6 GB of RAM or more, disable the page file if it is the only drive.  If you have a second drive, point the Paging file at the other non-SSD drive

Finally disable Superfetch and Prefetch on the drive (Official Microsoft Article)

Click on Start Menu – Right-Click Computer – Properties – Advanced System Settings – Advanced Tab – Performance Settings – Advanced Tab – Click Change under Virtual Memory – Uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives – Click on No paging file – Click Set – OK – Restart your computer. (Always check your pc to see if the 6 GB or more is OK. This will be based on programs that are running)

Check for the latest firmware!

SUMMARY

Load Windows Server or Windows 7 on the SSD drive.  Optimize the SSD and complete these actions.

  • Open a command prompt and “Run as administrator”. Next, type in the command “Fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify”
    This will take care of TRIM
  • Don’t defrag the drive (SSD)
  • Turn off indexing
  • Disable Superfetch and Prefetch on the drive (Official Microsoft Article)
  • Move the pagefile to one of the mechanical drives
  • Install programs to other drives on Windows Server
  • Small databases such as Quickbooks or Access databases can be used on the SSD 
    (If you have thousands of logins to your shared database daily, consider moving the databases to one of the storage drives)
  • Ensure your computer has AHCI enabled in the BIOS AND in the Registry (Make sure you enable in the registry first AFTER verifying your BIOS supports AHCI)

While you’re at it, optimize your CPU

http://ttcshelbyville.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/what-is-core-parking-and-should-you-adjust-it/

Partition your hard drive for optimization

Gamers and IT professionals along with home users that are power users can significantly improve HDD performance by shrinking the partitions on their HDDs.

By using the Disk Management utility in Windows you can shrink large HDDs as needed to increase performance.

How does this work?

For optimal system performance on an IIS server, you should install Windows and IIS on one drive and data on another drive.  When you install Windows, you can partition the entire drive with the full amount and use disk management to shrink the drive later OR you can give yourself enough space +30% for temp files (etc.).  By shrinking the drive, this optimizes the drive by not only placing files where they should go but allows the drive to become efficient by having only a certain amount to index and read.

The same should be done for the data drive.  You can extend the partition as data grows and space is needed.

Hopefully my math is right on the percentages…

Windows IIS Partition (Before and After)

Western Digital Black Edition WDC2002FAEX 2TB

HD Tune 5.0 (read test)      FULL 2 TB partition        Shrank to 1 TB     Increase or Decrease
Average transfer rate

80.1 MBps

119.9 MBps

34.2%

Minimum transfer rate

42.2 MBps

50.0 MBps

16.00%

Maximum transfer rate

123.4 MBps

143.1 MBps

14.8%

Burst rate

184.6 MBps

197.3 MBps

6.50%

Access time*

13.2 ms

10.1 ms

24.00%

Data Drive (Before and After)

HD Tune 5.0 (read test)      FULL 2 TB partition        Shrank to 1 TB     Increase or Decrease
Average transfer rate

94.1 MBps

113.9 MBps

17.4%

Minimum transfer rate

48.7 MBps

69.3 MBps

29.8%

Maximum transfer rate

131.4 MBps

143.3 MBps

8.3%

Burst rate

189.8 MBps

190.7 MBps

.50%

Access time*

11.2 ms

9.6 ms

14.3%

IIS using HD Tune 2.55

IIS

Data Drive using HD Tune 2.55

Data

Test your HDD Software (Freeware)

Notes:

Partitioning SSD drives will show a gain, but because of the economics behind SSDs at this time, it may not be economically feasible.  SSD drives can be optimized in other ways.

Linux and Apple drives can be optimized by partitioning.

Golden Rule – Do not use the unallocated amount.  Save it for growth or files that are not accessed often.

How to Shrink or Extend a partition

Over-provisioning is the allocating of a specific amount of free space on your SSD.  Over-provisioning improves SSD endurance and performance.   Many SSDs are packaged with software that helps the end user install the drive and to plan for OP.  (More advanced drives are doing away with OP).

The SSD controller manages all of the data that is stored on the drive.  While these drives are really fast, data writes are not just placed on the drive.  Data is moved around and the controller on the drive is programmed to use the drive evenly across the NAND blocks.   By moving the data around, the controller can use the free space (OP) to swap information as needed.     This in turn adds life to your SSD.  Always update your SSD firmware, use the manufacturer’s software for OP if your drive recommends it and don’t forget to trim your hard drive.  TRIM allows for the removal of junk or old data.  How? Easy – Open a command prompt (as Admin)

Type the following – fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0

Over-provisioning in Samsung Magician’s software.

OP

Always load the drivers – Below is Intel Drivers on my laptop vs. Windows 8 generic drivers

drivers

How To Run Almost Any Android App On Windows, OS X, Linux with Chrome

 

The process uses App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) – a Google project that allows Chrome to run native code safely within a web browser.  Read more

How To Run Almost Any Android App On Windows, OS X, Linux with Chrome.

Rufus USB boot and Hiren’s Boot ISO

Hiren’s Boot CD is one of the best tools IT personnel can get their hands on.  (See our article on adding the GeGeek Toolkit) WIth the following tools, Hiren’s can help you diagnose, repair and secure your computer -

  • Avira AntiVir
  • ClamWin
  • ComboFix
  • Dr. Web CureIT!
  • Malwarebytes
  • Remove Fake Antivirus
  • RootkitRevealer
  • Spybot – Search and Destroy
  • SuperAntispyware
  • TDSSKiller
  • CloneDisk
  • Copy DMA
  • CopyWipe
  • DiskImage
  • DriveImage XML
  • Drive SnapShot
  • FastCopy
  • G2L Ghost 4 Linux
  • GImage
  • Image for Dos
  • Image for Windows
  • ImgBurn
  • InfraRecorder
  • Macrium Reflect
  • ODIN
  • Partition Image
  • Partition Saving
  • RegBak
  • Raw Copy
  • ShadowCopy
  • SelfImage
  • Seagate DiscWizard
  • Dozens more-  http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd

CD/DVDs are becoming rare on laptops and are not easy to carry around.  You can use Rufus USB to make Hiren’s Bootable.  Down Hiren’s and simply use Rufus on a blank 4 gb flash drive.  You will now have dozens of utilities to use on a flash drive you can keep on a key chain or lanyard.

When working on computers, you can easily enter the boot settings and boot to a USB drive.  This may require you to work with UEFI and legacy settings to get it to boot.

Hiren’s will supply you with the tools you need and Rufus will create your bootable USB.

Download for Hiren’s – http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/

Download for Rufus USB boot – http://rufus.akeo.ie/

Once you download Hiren’s, unzip the file and open Rufus.  Insert a BLANK 4 gb flash drive and navigate to the iso in the unzipped files.  Once you have navigated to the file, click on start.  This will create a bootable Hiren’s USB.

Unzipped files

Rufus

1 Hirens 2 Hirens 3 Hirens 4 Hirens 6 hirens

Want to make more than one bootable USB?   

If you have a bootable USB, you can easily make another by using ImageUSB.

Here’s what you should do -

  1. Install ImageUSB
  2. Insert your source drive

1 usb image tool

3. Select backup
4. Name the image file

USB Image Tool

5. Next highlight the image file and select restore on the target drive4 usb image tool restore

3 USB image tool Restore

You will now have a bootable USB drive

Windows 10 Tech Preview

I’ve been working on computers for a long long time.  It does seem that Microsoft gets it right, wrong and then right when they release operating systems.

When Windows 8 came out, we did find it was a good operating system but hard to navigate.   Users eventually became use to it and they eventually found hidden items..   Consumers of traditional Windows XP and Windows 7 will have no problem navigating Windows 10 if Microsoft keeps this release.  

The download for the preview  of Windows 10 can be found here.  It’s around 4 Gb and goes on smooth.  We’ll find out over the upcoming weeks if users begin having problems and what problems are being reported.  Now before you download it, be sure to read the rules about what to install it on and Microsoft’s recommendations.  It truly is for people who know the following – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/preview-faq#faq=tab0

If you are going to participate in the Technical Preview, go over and look in the forum.  Hopefully Microsoft will assign a committee to stay in the forum, listen and communicate to engineers.  The forum is located here:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_tp?auth=1

I do want to note that I am already seeing people loading their computers with this OS.  You have to remember it will be polished up, improved and tweaked over the upcoming months.  Because there are thousands of programs and applications on ever type, model and make of computer with every type of hardware imaginable, there will be tons of updates coming.   There will be errors.   Consumers and technicians will report back and Microsoft will require this feedback.

Can you imagine writing an operating system for almost every piece of hardware on the market with every type of configuration?   With thousands and thousands of applications?

Loading Windows 10 Technical Preview

I of course loaded it in a  virtual computer and later on an older computer.  Both installations went smooth and was fast.  The setup is almost like Windows 8, 8.1 or 8.1 Update.   It really did appear to be smooth and was truly error free.

The setup on VMWare Player was like any other iso installation. (www.vmware.com)

Note:  Don’t download this to a production or home computer just yet, it is being reviewed.  

Upon signing in, the menu was back and enhanced with the Microsoft Store Apps.   The menu is now how it should have been.  Navigation was the same through windows, menus were the same in explorer and there was no more worrying about corners or apps that were running or the mysterious Charms Bar.  

While we will find hidden options and features later, one of the best features is multiple desktops for productive people who like multi-tasking.   I have to note that Linux has had this feature for many years and Microsoft has put this feature in.

Note: There will be those who pick it apart along with those who will find security holes in this operating system.    Of course today with viruses and vulnerabilities found in everything, we have entered a time that the business that patches their system quickly and thoroughly will win over the IT personnel in the world.   Also companies that make the easiest to use interface that works for home users that is affordable and has tons of freeware will also win out the consumer. 

Initial setup of VMware Player with 2GB of RAM, 2 Processors and only 30 GB of HDD space.

1 VMWare 1aVMWare

The initial boot up showed a familiar setup screen along with a minimum number of screens requiring any input.2loading 3main 4 agreement 5 disk space 6 installing 7 restart 8 Settings 9 internet

I did click setup a new account and on the next screen I elected to login locally.  10 account 11 apps

The ever familiar desktop found in Windows 8 loaded after signing in.  What I noticed first was the logo in the lower left corner produced a menu that should have always been there and no charms bar if I moved my mouse to the right side of the screen.12 Desktop 13 Finally a menu

Working with networks and group policies in the enterprise, I tested the network for speed and accuracy and dove into the group policy editor.   The network was very quick and responsive and it appears very little has changed in group policies.

14 Faster Than before  17 Computer info 17 Control Panel 16 Work Folder18 File manager

Searches for files or computers using a UNC path were exceptionally fast.19 unc path

Clicking the task view on the taskbar produced an Add a desktop option for anyone wanting to multitask.20 Task View Add a desktop

Clicking the Task View icon again (below) showed the active desktops.21 Extra Desktop

Opeing Apps on the menu gave an option to close them or minimize them using standard controls (below).  The right side of the App listed more options to control the app.22 App Controls

While I have had this installed for only an hour or so, I’m sure I’ll find some hidden features that will benefit users.  Now if Microsoft will keep the code trim, secure and keep controls where users can easily find them, they’ll have a hit.   There will also be a question if Microsoft will give the OS free to end users who own Windows 8 or 8.1 and if they will listen to end users from this point forward.