Monday, February 21, 2011


AC/DC voted best band in the world by MySpace online Poll

AC/DC have beaten Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Beatles in an online poll to find the best acts of all time.The Australian rockers were voted the world's greatest band in the MySpace survey.
Pink was named music's leading lady or best female artist in the world.
Michael Jackson was heralded the best male artist of all time.
Jackson's Thriller was voted the greatest video of all time, while AC/DC came a close third with
It's A Long Way To The Top if You Wanna Rock N Roll

Well I had to make a note of that - for one thing I was not informed that a MySpace poll would be the final word on such a title winning decsion as best band in the world. But it is almost as equally amazing that the same demographic of pollsters that voted for Pink and MJ would still have their hearts in the great rock and roll mainline, I have seen AC/DC ten times in concert over my lifetime, and they out of many so called rock bands deserve the title. I just didn't know that Generation Next was as intune with Rock and Roll at their hearts. More power to the youth culture....And so today I am offering up my two favorite AC/DC songs for the listening pleasure while you take some time to do some serious reading and personal IT computing.

Now here is someone who can be called a true friend of the 800 Days.
He has already contributed a few article, that I basically reposted off his Facebook page in earlier months but one night I get talking basic geek and computer stuff with this guy. He and I are discussing ways that I could better optimize my system for functionality issues and performance...and well by the next morning rather than just give me some advice. He instead pounded out this amazing little disertation, that if I could find any real flaws in it I would have edited it. But it actually is one of the best and simplest short order guides to optimizing your Windows system that I have had the pleasure to read. So while you listen to a little AC/DC  please let me once again introduce the man that some girls on Facebook know as Pimp Daddy G....LOL
But to the 800 Days is


Windows - Best practices

A detailed guide by Rothlyn Giles

Depending on your budget and goals, you can choose the solution that works best for your system. I'll focus on three areas that can really make a difference:

·         Organizing your work
·         Safeguarding your data
·         Boosting your computer's performance

I'll describe and explain the benefits you can gain from dividing your hard disk into more than the single partition and hard drive that it originally came with. These benefits can help you be better organized, more productive, and ensure the integrity of your data. And go over some NTFS performance hacks.

Overview of my partitioning scheme

Partitioning helps manage work, especially on the computer that I use most. The figure below shows the two physical disks partitioned as follows:
·         Disk 0 has a System partition (drive C) and a Data partition (drive D).
·         Disk 1 has an Archive partition (drive E), a Research partition (drive F), an Other partition (drive G), and a Paging partition (drive H).
Here's how you might set up a partitioning scheme similar to mine. You can adapt these steps to meet your own needs:
2.      Create a second partition on your first disk to store your active work files, and keep it fairly small so you can maintain it more easily. Unless your work is graphic design or video production, since your work files will be much larger.
3.      Install a second hard disk on your computer and create at least two partitions on it, one for your paging file and the other for archiving old work files and other important files like your Outlook PST file.
4.      Create additional partitions on your second disk only if they will contain files that are infrequently accessed to minimize contention with the paging file partition.

Organize your work more easily

Whether you use your PC for work or play (or both), partitioning your hard drives appropriately can help you keep organized. Disk partitioning is invaluable, because I'm a disorganized person. You can imagine what my hard drives must look like.
What's the value of using this partitioning scheme? Installing the operating system and applications on a dedicated partition (System) provides these benefits:
·         Makes your computer easier to maintain without worrying about losing work when things go wrong.
·         Need to defragment this partition only after I install a new application.
·         Can easily use System Restore if something goes wrong so you don't lose time from work.

I store all active work files on drive D and keep the folder structure on this drive simple: one main folder for each project I'm working on. The Data partition is fairly small at 2 GB. (This small size usually works unless you work in video production or graphic design, in which case your work files may be huge.) The small-sized partition and folder structure help me:
·         Find work quickly and keep it organized.
·         Promptly move suspended or inactive projects to the Other partition until needed or until they're ready to be archived to the Archive partition.
·         Defragment the Data partition more quickly, which further reduces potential downtime.

This last item may not seem like a big issue since you can schedule defragmentation to occur during off hours. But It's painful to wait for your computer to finish a process before you can use it.

Tip: I also have a Research partition on my second disk. That's where I save copies of white papers and other background material I find while doing research for a project. Most writers are packrats and using this method keeping such research separate from your own writing helps ensure you don't accidentally merge text someone else wrote with your own work.

Safeguarding your data

The Archive partition on the second physical disk is a large partition that is used for backing up data quickly. This helps protect your work from disappearing should your first physical disk fail.

What you should do to protect your work is simple. At the end of each day, whether your current  project is finished or not, Do the following:

1.      Copy its subfolder (for example, D:\AZ Tech\December 2009) from the Data partition to a new subfolder you created in your Archive partition.

2.      Name the new subfolder in Archive by date and project, for example E:\091202 AZ Tech, which indicates a backup of contracts I did for AZ Tech on December 2, 2009. Keeping the date first in subfolder names helps you more easily find something you were working on a few days ago in case you need to restore an earlier version of a document.
3.      If you've been working on multiple projects that day, You would copy each project's subfolder from Data to a separate new subfolder on Archive, with each of these new subfolders having the same YYMMDD but a different project name appended.

Tip: I do use Archive for one standard backup though. I back up my System partition using Automated System Recovery (ASR) and store this backup on the Archive partition.

The Archive partition tends to fill up pretty fast however because if you are always saving temporary versions of your work as you go along. So in addition to having two physical disks on the computer, Have a drive that you can use to burn DVD/CDs for two purposes:

·         At the end of each month copy last month's Archive subfolders to CD, label it by date, and put it somewhere safe. That way you have last month's backup ready if both your hard disks fail from a lightning bolt hitting your office/home, or your computer is infected with a virus, or a thief steals your computer.
·         When your Archive partition is approximately 80 percent full, Copy several months of the oldest backup files to CD and then delete them from the Archive folder to reclaim space.

Boost drive performance

performance can be improved by a good partitioning scheme. The biggest boost comes from the Paging partition on drive H, which is found on the second physical disk. Use this partition to boost performance in the following ways:

·         Move the paging file there. A well-known method for improving performance on a Windows-based computer is to move the paging file (pagefile.sys) from its usual location on drive C to its own separate partition on a separate physical drive.
·         Keep the Paging partition small (4 GB). By default the initial size of your paging file is 1.5 × RAM and its maximum size is 3 × RAM. So if your computer has 1 GB of RAM, which is pretty good for a desktop productivity computer, then setting your Paging partition to 4 GB gives you more than enough room for your paging file without wasting disk space that could be used for other purposes like storing data.
·         Format it using the FAT32 file system. Although the version of NTFS in Windows XP and above has features that make it perform better than earlier versions of NTFS, you can still eek out some performance gains for small volumes by formatting them as FAT32 instead of NTFS. Don't be overly concerned about the lack of security from not having pagefile.sys protected by NTFS permissions since it's an unreadable binary file. If someone hacked into your system, they wouldn't need to bother with the paging file anyway.
·         Replace old 5400 rpm drives with newer 7200 or 10000 rpm drives. If you have the budget, you can speed performance of disk activity by installing one of these faster drives.

If you have IDE drives, you can also boost file system performance by setting both physical disks as masters on separate channels. That way data can flow freely and simultaneously between both disks and the system bus. This setup allows Windows to access and load system files while simultaneously paging to disk. The end result—increased performance. Of course, Paging isn't the only partition I have on my second disk. But since I only access the Archive and Other partitions only a few times per day, the disk is pretty much dedicated to paging activity. But overall the biggest performance gain is usually achieved by moving your paging file to a partition on a separate drive as described above, especially on a system that has limited physical memory. Buying more RAM is of course another way to boost performance.

NTFS Performance Hacks

One way of improving the performance of your Windows machine is to tweak the NTFS file system. In certain scenarios, simple changes can make a big difference; that's because hard disks are often a primary bottleneck in today's machines, which have fast processors and lots of memory. Let's look quickly at ten ways you can boost performance using NTFS (or not using NTFS) on Windows.

1. Disable Short Filenames

By default, NTFS creates an 8.3 filename every time it creates a long filename, which adds a bit of time to the file creation process. To speed things up, you can disable short filenames using the fsutil command:

·         fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 1

Restart your machine for this to take effect. A couple of caveats:

·         You'll typically only notice a performance difference on drives that have a very large number of files (300,000+) but relatively few folders, and where most of your files have names that start similarly (for instance, NTFS Performance Hacks version 1.doc, NTFS Performance Hacks version 2.doc, and so on). That's because if you have a lot of files that start with the same characters in their filenames and occupy the same folder, NTFS has to work harder (and take more time) to generate unique 8.3 names for these files.
·         If you have an older version of Microsoft Office or some older third-party apps, they may not work properly if 8.3 names are disabled. So test first before you mass-implement this hack.

2. Name Your Files Appropriately

Let's say you can't disable 8.3 filenames because of older software on your machine. You can still improve performance by choosing a naming scheme for your files. So for example, instead of
NTFS Performance Hacks version 1.doc
NTFS Performance Hacks version 2.doc
and so on, you might name your files
1 NTFS Performance Hacks.doc
2 NTFS Performance Hacks.doc
and so on.
That way NTFS won't have to work so hard to generate a unique 8.3 name for each file in the folder.

3. Use More Folders

If you frequently need to open, close, create, or delete certain types of files, keep the number of such files in each folder small. In other words, if you have a lot of these files, create additional folders to spread them out between folders. If this isn't practical for some reason, then the first two hacks above can help compensate for having too many files in one folder.

4. Use More Partitions

In Windows 2000, when you partition a large disk (50GB or more, say) into several smaller NTFS volumes (10GB each), you can speed disk performance by up to 10 percent. NTFS on newer Windows has been improved to perform better overall, but you can still squeeze a percent or two of better performance out of a large disk by partitioning it into several smaller volumes.

5. Plan Your Cluster Size

The default cluster size on NTFS volumes is 4K, which is fine if your files are typically small and generally remain the same size. But if your files are generally much larger or tend to grow over time as applications modify them, try increasing the cluster size on your drives to 16K or even 32K to compensate. That will reduce the amount of space you are wasting on your drives and will allow files to open slightly faster.
Two caveats, though:
·         f you want to compress older files to save disk space using NTFS compression, you have to leave the cluster size at 4K.
·         he smaller your files (compared with the cluster size), the more fragmented your volume will tend to become over time.
The second caveat means that you should also ...

6. Defragment Regularly

Fragmented drives increase the time it takes for applications to open, close, create, or delete files. A good practice is to use Windows XP's Disk Defragmenter tool to defrag your drive at least once a week, especially if you run applications that frequently modify files and you have a lot of files on your drives. If you like, you can use the Scheduled Task Wizard to automate this process. See How to Automate Disk Defragmenter Using Task Scheduler Tool in Windows in the Microsoft Knowledge Base for instructions.

7. Reserve Space for the MFT

NTFS on Windows XP and above improves performance of the Master File Table (MFT) over Windows 2000 by not placing some of the MFT metadata files at the start of the disk. This enhancement alone can boost NTFS performance on Windows XP and above by up to 10% over Windows 2000. But you can squeeze out even better performance by ensuring that your drive has enough room for the MTF to grow if it has to. This will prevent the MTF from becoming fragmented, which is important because the Disk Defragmenter tool can't defragment the MFT.
By default, Windows XP reserves 12.5 percent of each NTFS volume (an area called the MFT zone) for exclusive use of the MFT. So if you plan to store tons of small files (under 8K, say) on your volume, your MFT may run out of space before your volume's free space does, and the result will be MFT fragmentation. To prevent this from happening, you can reserve additional space for the MFT using the fsutil command:
·         fsutil behavior set mftzone 2
This doubles the size of the reserved MFT zone to 25 percent of the volume. Of course, this means you lose 12.5 percent of the free space used to store files themselves, so there's a trade-off to consider when implementing this change. You can even make more aggressive changes using set mftzone 3, which reserves 37.5 percent of the volume for the MFT, or set mftzone 4, which reserves a whopping 50 percent. These extreme settings are only useful, however, if you have zillions of files, each smaller than about 1K.
To reset the MFT zone size according to your needs, do the following:
1.    Run the fsutil command as described previously.
2.    Reboot your system.
3.    Create the volumes you need.
To return to the default behavior of reserving 12.5 percent of each volume for MFT, use the fsutil behavior set mftzone 1.

8. Disable Last Access Time

By default, each file and folder on an NTFS volume has an attribute called Last Access Time, which records the last time the file or folder was opened, read, or changed. This means even when you read a file on an NTFS volume, a write action occurs on that volume too. Normally this isn't a problem, but if you have an application that tends to frequently access files for short periods of time, this feature of NTFS can really slow performance. Fortunately, you can use fsutil to disable writing to the Last Access Time attribute:
fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1
Once this is done, the Last Access Time attribute for newly created files will simply be their File Creation Time.
One caveat: disabling Last Access Time may affect the operation of backup programs that use the Remote Storage service.

9. Turn Off (or On) the Indexing Service

Whether you enable or disable the Indexing Service on Windows depends on your needs. If you search for files on your hard drive only rarely, it's probably best to leave Indexing turned off, since it adds a slight overhead to NTFS operation and also uses up disk space to store the catalog. But if you search for files on your hard drive frequently (and need to search the contents of files as well) then turn Indexing on, as it will speed the search process considerably.

10. Use FAT32 for the Paging File

Finally, if you have a second physical disk in your machine, you can boost performance by moving your paging file (pagefile.sys) onto your second drive. To make this work best, do the following:
1.    Create a volume on your second drive, making sure the volume is big enough to hold your paging file. (Three times your RAM amount will be more than enough.)
2.    Format the new volume using FAT32 instead of NTFS, since FAT32 gives slightly better read performance on smaller volumes.
3.    Don't create any additional volumes on your second drive--that is, leave this drive for exclusive use by the paging file.
So in other words, our final NTFS tweak is to not use NTFS for your paging volume.


1 comment:

  1. Is my new blog address for tech help and to contact me -Rothlyn